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Archive for February, 2009

It took me a while to get my hands on the latest issue of Tricycle because they hadn’t restocked it at the Borders across the street. I ended up grabbing a copy at Barnes & Noble downtown. I have plenty of things to say about the issue, such as the Big Sit (I have much good to say) or “Why Buddhism Needs the West” (or: David Loy summons the Angry Asian Buddhist). But I thought of something that would be a little bit more fun. I bring you the Asian Meter.

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Tongue In CheekOn one of my posts from last week, I swung the spotlight over to another post without realizing it was written tongue-in-cheek. The author complained: “I would have thought that my ‘tongue-in-cheek’ joking was fairly clear.” And this brought me back to something that I’ve been struggling with for months now: sarcasm/verbal irony.

I’ve been trying to avoid sarcastic comments and verbal irony, mostly because I’ve come to believe that these are essentially breaches of the fourth precept.

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More “Zen” in the News

Yesterday the New York Times Carpetbagger blog put up a post with Zen the adjective: L.A. Dispatch: A Moment of Zen. Rev. Danny Fischer has previously kvetched about the implacable writers who use the word Zen in pop-culture because it doesn’t cling to its etymological roots. As I mentioned before, this pop-use of Zen is a little different from the use of Zen as a noun. Anyone who reads this is probably well-aware of this by now, but as for me, I have only just started to realize that this adjectival sense of Zen runs along the lines of “cool”, “dispassionate” or “untroubled”. Somehow, I’m perfectly fine with this. But then again, I don’t identify myself as a Zen practitioner. I haven’t yet scanned anything that the Buddhist language police’s written about this headline, as I’d seen over a similar gripe regarding a New York Times article was that mentioned the Zen Obama. I guess they’ve gotten it out of their system!

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Vegetarian Meat

I really just wanted to post an offensive title like that. Over at dhamma musings, Ven. Shravasti Dhammika, author of the well-known Good Questions, Good Answers has slipped on the food critic hat for a post. The monk does not like Chinese vegetarian fare, and he does not mince words. I’m vegetarian and sometimes cook Chinese food, and so his critique left me feeling a bit defensive…

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One of the perks of my new place is that I live across the street from Border’s. Shambhala SunMy cold still has not gone away, so after zipping through Trader Joe’s (also across the street), I made a quick swing by Borders, where I noticed that the new issue of Shambhala Sun is out. The Tenth Annual All Buddhist Teachings Issue. (Wow!)

With my newly-bought Shambhala Sun in hand, I zoomed straight to my kitchen, turned on the stove, cooked up some rice porridge (I was inspired by a friend who assured me that shoveling in onions and pepper would smack that cold over to the next life), and then sat down and started counting the Asians.

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The day approaches. If you haven’t heard about the threat to Wat Mongkolratanaram, go read my earlier post and visit savethethaitemple.com! There’s still time to go ahead and make your calls to the Berkeley city government! The Berkeley ZAB hearing is this Thursday, February 12, 2009. If you can make the ZAB hearing, please do! Represent!

Save the Thai Temple!

I just saw this YouTube video from the September meeting where one of the neighbors compares Thai food to McDonald’s food, citing Super Size Me. Sigh. Let’s fight for the community! You can make a huge difference with just 10 minutes of your time!

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Mind Reading

On one trip to a certain monastery, my friends and I were about to leave when one of my friends asked me if it were possible to get one of the abbot’s books on Buddhist meditation. She was interested in a specific book that he’d talked about the day before. I asked a member of the temple board, who was standing around. He told me to go over and ask the abbot himself, who was up on one of the monastery’s hills.

As we came up to the top of the hill, we saw the abbot walking down beneath a parasol. We stopped and without saying anything, put our hands together and bowed. He saw us, smiled and said, “Go look in the shed over there. If it’s not there, there might be a copy in the main shrine room.”

How did he know that we were looking for the book? We hadn’t told him what we were looking for! So naturally, we spent the rest of the day talking about his telepathic ability.

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