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Archive for August, 2010

Trying to get into the college class of your choice nowadays can be brutal.

If you’re currently a college student, you probably know from experience that because of budget cuts, fewer classes/sections are being offered, more students are attending, and everyone is rushing to get their degree finished. The result: if you want to get into a popular professor’s class, you have to fight for it. While there’s nothing wrong with being proactive and assertive, what ends up happening sometimes is a “every man himself” mentality, which may not create the friendliest peer atmosphere.

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Calling Dr. G

Yesterday I found out that a man we will call Dr. G suffered a stroke. He lived, though he has lost a great deal of mobility and his doctors are unsure how much he will recover.

Dr. G had been my mother’s employer for over twenty years and occupied a space in our family that I think few families have, and that is filled by a scant number of people. I have never shared a meal with Dr. G, though he has mussed my hair and gave me a sincere congratulations when I was admitted to university. Though I know the man, I know little of the content of his past. I know that he grew up in the midwest to parents of modest means and played football in his youth. I know that he did not play golf. (more…)

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“Vietnamese immigrants in California have hired a white American man to teach Buddhism to their kids because they think they will relate to the teacher and to his English. Lisa Napoli reports from Long Beach.”

Audio with transcript: http://www.theworld.org/2010/08/09/buddhist-teacher-for-vietnamese-immigrants/

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My friends recently made a trip to Las Vegas and came back telling me that I should go to “TAO”. For those that aren’t familiar (like me), TAO is popular Asian-themed restaurant and nightclub in Las Vegas. Though I’ve never been, browsing through their website will give you a good sense of what it’s like.

From my friends’ clubbing experience, they described seeing many statues of the Buddha as part of the themed-decoration and scantily-clad woman dancing (probably in the way that young people do nowadays) against the statues. After hearing this, I really wish I could go, take a photo, and post it here. But I can’t so I’m just working off my friends’ description and my imagination.

I think this could possibly be the worse case of using Buddhism out of it’s religious context. And usually, if the Buddha or different aspects of Buddhism are used out of context, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt that it may be harmless. But this is different. TAO is using representations of the Buddha to make money from encouraging sex appeal and alcohol without taking into consideration what the Buddha actually symbolizes for the Buddhist community. To me, that is highly offensive.th

What’s even more interesting (and telling) is that this is the first time I’ve heard anyone I know who’s gone to TAO mention the strange paradox of using the Buddha to decorate a nightclub.  I don’t expect people to be hypersensitive and constantly on the lookout for “out of context Buddhism” like me, but doesn’t anyone feel awkward dancing next to the Buddha with Usher’s new song playing in the background? Apparently not.

But if that mouthful doesn’t make any sense, don’t take my word for it. Head on over to Vegas with your makeup and clubbing outfit, bring your ID, buy a few drinks to get tipsy, and party the night away with the Buddha at TAO.

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