Dharma Dialogue

Jane Iwamura down at the University of the West has a class going on right now on Buddhism in the West, and her students are managing a blog called “Dharma Dialogue.” It’s an admirable project to give students the opportunity to share their experiences and what they’re learning, studying, and the issues with which they’re wrestling with the public at large. Especially given the vitriol one usually finds in the Buddhist blogs these days when the topics hit so close to home. I find the posts smart and the entire project bold. I’m a fan.

See you in Chicago

For those who go to the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, it’s coming up this weekend in Chicago. The program book is online, searchable, and here’s what’s happening in Buddhist Studies. I’ll be presenting on Friday during a related meeting, the Dharma Academy of North America. My topic is, once again, mediaContinue reading “See you in Chicago”

Space Buddha

As you may remember, the story of a Tibetan Buddhist statue carved out of a meteorite and found in Germany with connections to the Nazis made the rounds of Buddhist and mainstream media a month or so ago. And really, that’s not surprising. Nazis, Tibet, statues made from space rocks. It has all the makings of a great TV movie.

Via the Buddhist scholars network H-Buddhism, however, I found an article by a Tibetologist who makes a convincing argument that the statue is not, in fact, Tibetan but is likely an imitation. (Here’s a direct link to the PDF of the article.) The original scholarly article that brought this story to life was written by mineralogists and planetologist who explicitly asked for folks from other fields to weigh in on “cultural matters” related to the statue. Achim Bayer, in his article, has done so. In sum, he argues that the iconography of the statue is inconsistent with what one would expect of a statue made a thousand years ago in central Asia. Instead, he believes it was likely made in the twentieth century in Germany.

Buddhism and pop-culture across cultures

Via Tricycle, via RocketNews, comes the following video demonstration of a Japanese video game released earlier this year titled “Sutra Master.” The game is simple enough. Your character must beat a wooden fish drum and singing bowl to the high-speed, J-pop techno music while swatting away the occasional ghost fire balls and human-animal hybrid gods.Continue reading “Buddhism and pop-culture across cultures”

Map of the Buddhist Churches of America

The Buddhist Churches of America is the United States’ oldest and longest-lived Buddhist community, with over sixty temples and fellowship divided into eight different districts in a dozen different states. It’s always hard for me to keep track of where all these communities are, and since I’m a big fan of maps, I decided toContinue reading “Map of the Buddhist Churches of America”

Pure Land Buddhist Studies at AAR

On behalf of the North American District of the International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies, I am happy to announce that we have been accepted as a Related Scholarly Organization by the American Academy of Religion. The mission of the IASBS is to foster the development of international Shin and Pure Land Buddhist studies whileContinue reading “Pure Land Buddhist Studies at AAR”