Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Roundup on June 27, 2007

Well, well, well. Here-ya-go, buddhoblog-reading world. It's not stuff I planned [per Wed's post], quite -- but its good stuff, hot to the touch, from the heart of the Buddhist blogging world.

Buddhists Travel the World

Buddhist bloggers, if not Buddhism, is on the move these days.

A new website is coming soon
Will Buckingham, author of Cargo Fever and a coming novel, set in Bulgaria.

Sometime soon, Will Buckingham of the blogs thinkBuddha and will be off to Bulgaria to research his next novel. He has funding from Arts Council England, but he'll not be living in the lap of elegance at some swanky hotel, no. He'll be Couchsurfing, which means he'll be bumming nights' stays on strangers' fleabitten sofas when he's in Sofia, and out in the Bulgarian countryside. This is something he's done before -- in Indonesia, India and Pakistan. [OK. I've told a fib. Actually, Will tells us that Couchsurfing is an "extremely well run" "global network, run on the basis of generosity and hospitality" that facilitates staying in private homes and is "not much more dangerous than eating crackers."

Justin Whitaker
Justin Whitaker, a vicious clay-bird killer and member of the Dalai Lama wing of the NRA. [From post "Life: Family activities"]

Justin Whitaker, aka Buddhist Philosopher, of American Buddhist Perspective [But who will soon move his blogging activities to Justin in England, or to American Buddhist in England -- not sure which.] is cloyingly, insufferably happy these days. He's been accepted by Goldsmiths College of the University of London where he will be in hot pursuit of his PhD in Buddhism [or, Philosophy specializing in Buddhism, or something]. In his effort to rub our noses in his happiness, he facilitated a reading group based on Mattieu Ricard's latest book, "Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill." In his post re the reading group, Justin links to an article that tells us Ricard is the world's happiest man [now supplanted in Guinness by Guinness-drinking Justin]. Justin is also happy because student reviews of the Buddhism classes he taught at University of Montana, Missouli, were all glowing in their love of him. Also, while in England, Justin can be with his beloved who lives just a canal swim and a long walk away in Spain. Justin has now determined that he will direct his life toward teaching Buddhism to others. But How might that work? Our religion is about suffering! Ay, Carumba!

C4 and his dakini in London.
C4 with his beloved (in a London Starbucks?)

Our man ~C4Chaos, blogger of ~C4Chaos, is currently in Jolly Old. We know this because a recent post shows his legs standing on the grave of Charles Darwin. In a prior day's post, he says, "I just love everything about the city of London – the people, the fashion, the attraction, the history, the art, the architecture, the shorter working hours and the public transportation."

Sea Moose
Seamus "Moose" Anthony

Seamus "Moose" Anthony who blogs Seamus Anthony, which recently supplanted The Contemporary Taoist, is in Paris in the summertime, when last he blogged. We know he had a stop in Lumpy Koala, Malaysia, [Ha, ha. We think he means "Kuala Lumpur."] and will be several places in Europe, including France and Ireland. Bad news is that on the way to the airport in Melbourne, Moose was in a huge car smash-up – but that has not dampered his enthusiasm for his travels. He writes, from Paree, that he is "sipping ultra expensive coffee in cafes and feeling very chick however you spell that and generally enjoying some no brainer time."

The World-Aiding Benefits of Vegetarianism, Part II

It was just Saturday last that I mentioned that Danny Fisher, in his eponymous blog, wrote about the “world-aiding benefits of vegetarianism.” Because of intense interest in the subject [and not because of the B’du’s blurb], the post has garnered a long comments stream: 12 posts as of this moment, many of them long, all of them thoughtful.

In his post, Danny develops three important arguments:

  1. Vegetarianism can help in dealing with water and sanitation problems in the developing world.
  2. Humans can significantly help to deter global warming by adopting a vegetarian diet.
  3. The first precept of Buddhism is to refrain from killing. Plus, it is not a viable excuse to say the meat you buy at a store has already been killed. In our modern age, when purchasing meat, you stimulate the chain of supply in response to your demand.

By all means, read the post – and the comment thread that touches on these areas:

  • Tibetans and the nature of their plateau necessitates the consumption of meat. The Tibetan diaspora should now become vegetarian.
  • The idea that we can encourage vegetarianism by example, since confronting carnivorous humans doesn’t work very well.
  • Rather than nibbling at our environmental problems, we should control human population growth.
  • Meat eating is healthy and natural for humans and no more ecologically harmful than a vegetarian diet.
  • There are humane ways to utilize animals for food.
  • Meat is a natural part of the human diet and is a link in the modern-age food chain. For some animals, were we not raising them for consumption, they could not thrive as species.
  • Meat eating violates the 1st precept.
  • While there is not such a thing as a harm-free diet, a diet that excludes or significantly excludes animals is definitely less of a moral nightmare.

Brad Warner, Part III

In my last roundup, I wrote that I thought the first two [#1, #2] of a planned three Brad Warner audio interview episodes at Buddhist Geeks were terrific. Well, now the final episode has been posted. Let us just say it is disappointing – sort of like The Godfather, Part III was when, long ago, it was released. What was Francis Ford Coppola [or in the BG case, Gwen Bell] thinking!?

Actually, the third pod cast isn’t uber-terribly bad, but The Brad gets off on the wrong foot with me, complaining about the hoi polloi, proving himself to be fact-challenged with respect to the history of printing and then prattles on, more than a bit, about the obvious difference between encyclopedic knowledge and wisdom. [Thus, Brad bloviates just as he accuses the hoi polloi of doing.] But when Brad and Gwen venture into some fun and giggliness discussing sex and Brad’s work and future job opportunities the depth- and interest-throttle gets nicely squeezed. Brad does have interesting things to say about the cultural differences between Japan and the US.

UPDATE: Warner posts a bit about the “third part” in his blog, Hardcore Zen. He writes, “They put up the last part of my interview on Buddhist Geeks. So go give it a listen if you're into that sort of thing. I listened and did not puke, as is my usual reaction to my own interviews.” Brad’s stomach must be getting stronger if he thinks the third part, which Buddhist Geeks titled "It's Like Phil Donahue!," is better-than-average Brad fare.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Roundup on June 23, 2007

Howdy, y'all. Blogmandu has been resting, but it is back! Today, some notes on a few hot topics/ideas/things-acoming that are roiling the buddhoblogosphere, with more stuff coming shortly. My hope is to get the regimen of blogging regularly here going, again, with a plan of posts on weekends and Wednesdays -- twice a week -- that will stay abreast of all that is interesting or hot to the touch.
the Buddhoblogosphere is a new webspace, now in develop­ment.

You thought the Bud­dho­blog­o­sphere was already here, didn't you? Well, at a page at buddho­blogo­, we are told a website called the Buddho­blogo­sphere will be "a directory of Buddhist blogs, podcasts, community sites and resources from across the Internet and the world," and that it hopes to be "a comprehensive online resource of Buddhism." And it intends to "go live" in August.

The project is the brainchild of Scott A. Mitchell who blogs the buddha is my dj <q.v.> [formerly, buddhaworld] that has been around since 2003, and has a web-design business going, Buddhaworld Design, that looks pretty damn spiffy. I will be eager to see how the Buddhoblogosphere develops. It is already on the Tricycle Editors' Blog's "Who are we reading?" listing [see sidebar on this webpage], so it appears Scott has a big friend or two in the American Buddhist establishment.

7/2/07 UPDATE: Scott is now very specific. He is announcing that his website will 'go live' on August 10. And he has posted a technologically impressive slideshow to give us an idea of what the Buddhoblogosphere will be like.

Go, Danny, Go

A button that appears in Danny's veget­arianism post reads "Eat Beans, not Beings."

The great Danny Fisher of the eponymous blog fame has been in activist save-the-world mode of late, with posts on the world-aiding benefits of vegetarianism; means to help Darfur -- a fundraiser by the Save Darfur Coalition; a petition to Condoleezza; seeking senate action on a Sudan Divestment bill -- and in cheering on, and providing info re, the Washington Post's effort to further explore returning injured servicemen's experiences at Walter Reed and other VA hospitals.

We Love You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
The BG's podcasts comprise a growing album of work in my laptop audio library.

I am dazzled by the quality of the podcasts that Buddhist Geeks have been producing this year. The three-member Geek chorus of Ryan Oelke, Vincent Horn and Gwen Bell had a modestly promising beginning in their initial effort, "Meet the Geeks!" [A takeoff on the Beatles' first album title.] Their subsequent audio podcast work, interviews with prominent Buddhists, has been impressively kind-hearted and professional. Ryan's introductions and closings to each pod are NPR perfect as is the pods' score, written and performed by guest artist Rommel of C5Chaos. Literally, all the podcasts I've heard have been great. I've loved the interviews of Genpo Merzel [#1, #2, #3] [by Gwen], Phil Stanley [#1, #2, #3][by Ryan] and of Vince [#1, #2, #3][by Ryan] Recent pod posts include a terrific first two of three interviews of Brad Warner [#1, #2] by Gwen. And, I must say this: What great voices everybody seems to have. Buddhists not only think great, they sound great, too. The interviews, all, have been taut and fascinating.

Frog Blog Returns!
Same frog; different pond. Plop.
As if the blogosphere wasn't already more wonderful than we could stand, Chris Baskind has refilled the pod, engineering the return of the venerable Paper Frog at . PF had been cited as one of the three best Buddhism blogs about four years ago in Beliefnet, and was one of the two blogs to represent Buddhism in Blog Heaven before mean old Chris pulled the plug just over a year ago. Paper Frog, mach one, also was an inaugural winner of a Blogisattva for design in 2006.

Baskind moved on to other blogging activities, after etherizing his Frog, starting with the now-sleeping Onion-like Big Red Buddha <q.v.> and the eco-advocating more minimal. more minimal morphed into the lithe Lighter Footstep <q.v.>, a very successful green emagazine.

In its new incarnation, Frog will not be about Buddhism generally, Baskind tells us, but will focus on Chris's writing projects, including topics on "content creation, community building, and the technologies which underlie online publishing." Recent articles have been about the Redditt Effect, Apple's new Tiger operating system update and Joomla -- concepts that have not come down to us from Sanskrit scrolls.

... and on Wednesday

Blogmandu hopes to feature mostly that which is new or being hotly debated, but some general topics of interest, likely to spark feature-sections this coming Wednesday, or soon thereafter, include "Buddhoblogging Women", "Why are prominent-Buddhists' blogs so wretched?"; "The Benefits of Gratitude Blogging"; "The Dalai Lama in the Buddhoblogosphere."