Alex Wright


Dharma

Samsara December 20, 2007

Pan Nalin's film Samsara has spent the last five years in the cinematic equivalent of the bardo. Originally released in 2002 to wide acclaim on the festival circuit, the movie was snapped up by Miramax, only to languish while the...
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Milarepa September 13, 2007

For a country with a per capita income of $875 (Gross National Happiness notwithstanding), Bhutan is developing a promising little film industry. Propelled by the art-house success of Khyentse Norbu (aka "http://alexwright.org/blog/archives/000886.html">Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche), the tiny Buddhist kingdom has been...
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Zen and the art of cartoonery September 8, 2007

A collection of flash cartoons illustrating talks by the late great Zen Beatnik Alan Watts. The first three cartoons were made, improbably, by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. (thanks Davee)...
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Robert Thurman at TED August 8, 2007

Davee points us to this video of Robert Thurman speaking at the TED conference last year, giving one of his characteristically pithy talks on the Buddhist view. Here, he invokes technology metaphors (appropriately enough) to talk about interconnectedness, and invokes...
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Going to the forest July 6, 2007

In the past few weeks since my book came out, I have found myself falling prey to what must be a common malady for newly published authors: neurotic ego-surfing. Between reading blog posts, trying to resist the urge to look...
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Sutrayana Seminary February 23, 2007

I spent the last month up in frosty Barnet, Vermont, attending the 2007 Sutrayana Seminary at Karmê Chöling. One week later, the memories are already fading, so I thought I would jot down a few recollections while I can still...
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Seminary January 13, 2007

I'm on my way back up north to Karme Choling, where I'll be spending the next month attending Sutrayana Seminary, a residential program to study the Buddhist hinayana and mahayana teachings (coincidentally, my soon-to-be-teacher John Rockwell was interviewed for this...
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The Khyentse Foundation November 30, 2006

I've never been much of a joiner, but I recently decided to join the Khyentse Foundation, because they have such a compelling vision for making dharma teaching available in the West. There are plenty of Tibetan Buddhist teachers who maintain...
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Buddha on the brain November 27, 2006

Salon is running an interview with Alan Wallace, discussing the relationship between Buddhism and neuroscience. Wallace makes the case that while Buddhism may not be exactly a "science," modern science has itself taken on a kind of religiosity that ultimately...
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What makes you not a Buddhist November 22, 2006

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche has just published his first major book, What Makes You Not a Buddhist. Best known as the Bertolucci-trained director of The Cup and Travellers and Magicians, Khyentse Rinpoche is also a provocative and unusual dharma teacher, who...
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Eleanor Rosch, Recategorized November 18, 2006

For the last few years, I've been fascinated with Eleanor Rosch's work on prototype theory (which George Lakoff took as his starting point for Women, Fire and Dangerous Things). Rosch's theory of categorization always struck me as surprisingly compatible with...
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Dathun rerun November 10, 2006

Two years ago, I wrote about my dathun experience at Karme Choling in upstate Vermont. This week, I came back to do it again (or more accurately, finish what I started; dathun is a month-long practice, and I'm only now...
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Roshi's room October 15, 2006

I'm spending a few days staying at San Francisco Zen Center, an urban monastery founded by Suzuki-roshi in 1962 and housed in a gorgeous Julia Morgan-designed building at the corner of Page and Laguna. Today, it is the largest Buddhist...
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Terminal Island September 15, 2006

My friend and meditation teacher Jeanie Kerins writes about her experience teaching meditation to prisoners in Terminal Island, an essay for the Prison Dharma Network: I asked them to tell me a little bit about prison life so that I...
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Colorado-bound September 5, 2006

I'm off to Crestone, Colorado, for the next few days to attend a Dzogchen retreat with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. I may or may not have email access while I'm there, but I expect to be back online as of Sept...
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The B�n Canon July 20, 2006

While I was staying at Serenity Ridge last month, I became intrigued by one of its prized possessions, the B�n Canon. The Canon very neraly failed to survive the Chinese invasion of Tibet. As the Chinese razed monasteries across the...
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A Week With The Bnpos July 20, 2006

Earlier this month, I spent a week at Serenity Ridge with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. I met Rinpoche last year in Colorado, and found him such an engaging teacher that I decided to come out for his annual summer retreat in...
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Crooked Cucumber April 27, 2006

I just finished reading David Chadwick's Crooked Cucumber, a biography of the late Zen teacher and San Francisco Zen Center founder Shunryu Suzuki. As one of the countless people who first connected with Buddhism through Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, I...
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Return of the Subjective April 6, 2006

I was disappointed to miss Kevin Kelly's talk at the Long Now Foundation last month, but edge.org has posted a recap. Kelly talks about his book-in-progress on the future of technology, discussing a series of projections about macro trends in...
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Dixie Dharma February 24, 2006

In San Francisco, meeting a Buddhist ranks up there on the scale of cultural exoticism about on par with finding a Catholic in Rome. Here in Virginia, they are pretty thin on the ground. This is Falwell Country, after all...
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The Sakyong by a mile April 21, 2005

Congrats to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche for finishing the Boston Marathon in 3:20:09 - not at all shabby for a 42 year-old lama who started running all of 3 years ago. The Boston Globe profiled the Sakyong last weekend. Side note:...
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Dharma art March 22, 2005

These pieces emerged from a dharma art workshop with David Schneider, held in San Francisco from March 18-20, 2005....
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David Schneider March 16, 2005

This weekend, David Schneider returns to the Bay Area to lead a weekend program entitled Perception, Inspiration and Art, an introduction to the practice of dharma art. Schneider is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage and a former...
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David Rome February 23, 2005

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to spend a little time with David Rome of the Greyston Foundation in New York. A former aide to Chgyam Trungpa and close friend of Allen Ginsberg, Rome had a front seat view to a...
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Year of the Wood Rooster February 9, 2005

The year of the Yin(-) Rooster teaches the lessons of order, scrutiny and strategic planning. The sage advice of Sun-Zi which is still taught in modern military circles, advises one to "achieve psychological advantage over the adversary and use...
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Dn season January 31, 2005

According to the Tibetan calendar, the last two weeks of the year (ending Feb 8) are the season of the dns. Dns are harmful forces that bring sickness, conflict, and various flavors of unpleasantness. You don't have to be Tibetan...
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Nathaniel Dorsky January 25, 2005

This Friday, I'm looking forward to seeing Nathaniel Dorsky's public talk at the SF Shambhala Center: Devotional Cinema, reprised from filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky's lecture on religion and cinema at Princeton University, is a rare treasure of penetrating insight into the...
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Travellers and Magicians January 10, 2005

Khyentse Norbu is a Bhutanese filmmaker and prot�g� of Bernardo Bertolucci, whose first film, The Cup, earned good notices at Cannes and other international film festivals. When he's not directing, Khyentse also holds down a day job: as Dzongsar...
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Dathun diary November 25, 2004

Writing about meditation feels like writing about the weather. Even if I could describe the experience accurately, it would almost certainly sound hopelessly boring. But people keep asking me, What was it like? And so I feel compelled to say...
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Dathun November 4, 2004

I'll be offline for the next two weeks, taking part in a meditation retreat up in Vermont. Apologies in advance for belated phone or email responses; I expect to be back online on or about Nov. 19....
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Political dharma October 30, 2004

Chogyam Trungpa, from "A Buddhist Approach to Politics," 1976: I think the Buddhist idea of a politician is not so much one of a con man or of a businessman who wins favor with everybody, but someone who simply does...
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Harvest of Peace September 27, 2004

Yesterday I wandered over to the San Francisco Shambhala Center to attend the Harvest of Peace, an annual celebration that amounts, more or less, to a kind of Buddhist Yom Kippur. Never having gone to one of these things before,...
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Words Of My Perfect Teacher June 16, 2004

Last night I went to a screening of Words Of My Perfect Teacher, a new documentary about Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, the Tibetan lama-cum-filmmaker who wrote and directed The Cup and the forthcoming Travellers and Magicians. Filmmaker Lesley Ann Patten presents...
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Pema at the pulpit June 1, 2004

Ane Pema Chdrn will be giving a public talk at Grace Cathedral tomorrow (Wed) night. Pema is a best-selling author, American Buddhist nun, and senior meditation teacher in the Shambhala community. Her teaching will give perspective on our own tendencies...
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Siam Diary: Part VII May 26, 2004

The Buddhist Kingdom The first European visitors to Siam recoiled at the local people's devotion to images of the Buddha. Seeing the heathen coolies bowing to their false god, Christian missionaries and traders recognized a sure sign of pagan idolatry....
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Prayer wheels over Manhattan? January 9, 2004

The shining tower planned for the gawked-upon gap of the World Trade Center may be the first skyscraper to pray for its city. The designer of the wind turbines that will occupy the top of the "Freedom Tower" wants...
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Gross National Happiness? December 10, 2003

The King of Bhutan, a tiny Buddhist kingdom just south of Tibet, is promoting an alternative metric for assessing national development: The concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) was proposed by the King of Bhutan because he understood that development...
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for Kwong-roshi October 27, 2003

To shine one corner, Basic goodness arises. Lineage feels like wind. Sonoma Mountain Zen Center October 25, 2003...
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The Six Paramitas: Parts 4, 5, 6 October 14, 2003

After wrapping up Jay's class on the Six Paramitas last weekend, I've posted my final notes over here. I expect this will be my last post about Buddhism for a while. I'm still such a beginner with this material, that...
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The Six Paramitas: Part 3 October 1, 2003

Continuing notes from Jay Lippman's class on the Six Paramitas: The third paramita is zopa, or patience. Like so many Tibetan terms, this one translates imprecisely into English. For us, "patience" usually means something like a willingness to wait a...
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Dalai Lama Lite September 23, 2003

Patrick French on the merchandising of His Holiness: During his current tour of the United States, the Dalai Lama has confirmed his status as the world's No. 1 feel-good guru, reaching across boundaries of culture and religion... But the risk...
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The Six Paramitas: Part 2 September 23, 2003

Continuing notes from Jay Lippman's class on the Six Paramitas: The second paramita is shila, or discipline. For most of us, the word "discipline" quickly gets bound up with notions of right and wrong, good and bad. Sin. It's important...
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The Six Paramitas: Part 1 September 14, 2003

I've just started taking a new class with Jay Lippman over at the Berkeley Shambhala Center on the Six Paramitas. I thought I would try to capture some of what I'm learning here each week, if only for the sake...
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Good medicine September 12, 2003

New York Times: Is Buddhism Good For Your Health?...
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Karma Sengay Rinpoche July 22, 2003

Sunday afternoon in Berkeley:...
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Surmang visitors July 17, 2003

This weekend, Damcho Tenphel Rinpoche and Karma Sengay Rinpoche - brother and nephew, respectively, of the late Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche - will be giving a series of public teachings in Berkeley....
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Taking Refuge March 13, 2003

He who knoweth the precepts by heart, but faileth to practice them, Is like unto one who lighteth a lamp and then shutteth his eyes. - Nagarjuna This Sunday morning, I will travel to Davis, California, to participate in...
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Happy Losar! March 3, 2003

Happy Losar!...
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the Sakyong speaks January 14, 2003

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche will give a public talk at San Francisco's Herbst Theater on Wed. (1/15) at 7:30pm. this is a rare public appearance by the Sakyong, who is widely regarded as one of the great contemporary Buddhist teachers. the...
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skandhas, the sequel October 23, 2002

having spent another two weeks traipsing through the profound taxonomy of the skandhas (the Buddhist teachings on the structure of mind - cf. my last post), I had hoped to come back here and explain the whole business once and...
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the classified Mind October 7, 2002

for the past few weeks, I've been taking a class with Jay Lippman over at the Berkeley Shambhala Center on the five skandhas. skandha is a Sanskrit word meaning, roughly, "mental formation." according to Buddhist teachings, the five skandhas are...
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weekend with pema September 13, 2002

looking forward to spending the next couple of days in retreat with pema chodron...
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Sakyong sighting March 19, 2001

so, jennifer and i were spending the morning over at the Berkeley Shambhala Center (where we help out one sunday a month). standing outside the meditation room in the front reception area, we unexpectedly found ourselves face to face with...
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Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages

GLUT:
Mastering Information Through the Ages

New Paperback Edition

“A penetrating and highly entertaining meditation on the information age and its historical roots.”
—Los Angeles Times     

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