Asia

neonprotein

Religion Island

Dawkins vs. Sri Lanka, and silence wins.

Mongolia_gobi03 by Alec East, via Flickr.

Only a God Can Save Us?

Peter Kingsley and the dangerous dream of a spiritual elite.

The monks and the fire.

Fire-walking at Mount Takao

Mount Takao is located in a western, wooded stretch of greater Tokyo. It is a prime destination to take in the seasons and escape the asphalt island that is the rest of the city. Plum and cherry blossoms in the spring and crimson maples in the autumn attract the most visitors. An old temple, Yakuōin,…

road

The Passions of Khalifa Hakeem

A cub reporter gets on the bus with the Pakistani big boys.

Hojo-san & Myo-e by Tenku via Flickr

Zen and the Art of Hostessing

After all, Buddhist monks are men too.

Killing the Buddha

“I Only Desire”: Poet Monks

Running into a monk at a hostess bar in Kyoto was as jarring to me as bumping into a rowdy rabbi or Baptist minister at a strip club.  Though all may marry, there is still something incongruous when holy men revel at establishments where women are the entertainment.  But maybe I shouldn’t have been so…

Photo by Andrew Boyd

Testing the Vows of Celibacy

Scenes from a spiritual bootcamp.

Photo by Andrew Boyd

Pilgrimage to Nowhere – In the Beginning

Would an activists’s life have been better spent in the in the lotus position, seeking no-self?

myanmar

Marching the Buddha

If monks in Myanmar weren’t marching against the military junta this week, they would likely be taking part in a march of another kind. Late September is traditionally the time for one of Myanmar’s largest religious festivals, held just 100 miles north of Yangon, epicenter of the protests and scene of increasingly violent government response.…

"'He says you must pray,' the young monk said.
'Pray for what?' I asked..." (photo by jduemer/flickr)

The Temple Door

The daughter of a damaged Vietnam veteran returns to the scene of the crime.

"I found no Sufis, just confusion."

Searching for Sufis

When you look for mystics in a war-torn land, you might find them hiding right in front of you.

"Pop religion sells."

Brand Name Buddhism

For Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, it’s alright to get a little dirty, so long as you know which detergent will get your karma clean.

"Burma is a dangerous place! I know, I saw Beyond Rangoon!"

Motherly Love

Thus spoke Buddha’s mother: Fine, fine, be enlightened. But would it kill you to call now and then?

Edith Wharton, b. 1862 - "'Edith? Is that you?' 'Yes,' the pen wrote, wobbling a little on its inky point."

Inflections

What do you call yourself when names like skin can be shed?

Temple at Ta Prohm (detail)

The Monks Who Forgot How

Can Buddhists in Cambodia relearn a murdered tradition?

Shoes

Sex, Shoes, and California Zen

Growing pains and hanky panky at the San Francisco Zen Center.