When I heard that Aaron Alexis, the man who killed twelve people and wounded fourteen others in a mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, was a Buddhist, I did not worry that someone would blame my religion for his terrible crime. That was ensured by Buddhism’s popular image as a peaceful, non-dogmatic [...]
ALA’A SHEHABI is not a woman to be trifled with. Born in the U.K., she earned a Ph.D. from Imperial College London and has worked for prestigious institutions like Rand Europe and the Bahrain Institute for Banking and Finance.
At the same time, Shehabi has been active in Bahrain’s ongoing uprising. She was at Pearl [...]
WHEN I HEARD about the Boston Marathon bombings, I’d just finished reading Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel’s harrowing op-ed in the New York Times. Moqbel has been on hunger strike since February to protest his indefinite imprisonment, without trial, at the United States’ detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
According to the U.S. military, 99 [...]
ON MARCH 10, Tibetans around the world mark Tibetan Uprising Day, the anniversary of the 1959 revolt against Chinese rule in Lhasa, the Tibet Autonomous Region’s capital.
In March 2011, a new wave of protests began in the area ethnically/culturally identified as Tibet, which is one-quarter the size of China.
To protest against Chinese government policies, [...]
WHEN I SHOWED UP, the room at Harvard Divinity School was already overflowing. World-renowned professors and undergrads alike were packing the aisles, standing in the doorways, and squeezing in behind furniture. At the front of the room stood Bhikkhu Bodhi—a short, soft-spoken Buddhist monk with a marked Brooklyn accent—who held the audience rapt even as [...]
THE FRIGID AIR smelled strongly of gasoline when they discovered the lifeless body of seventeen-year-old Jigji Kyab near a busy intersection in Luchu, Tibet on January 19. He was soaked in it, a lighter in each hand. Kyab had gone to the intersection to burn himself alive, swallowing fox poison before leaving so he wouldn’t [...]
I SPENT THE YEAR AFTER COLLEGE in an AmeriCorps program that placed me in the Task Force for the Homeless in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. During my time there I served at several different transitional homes, emergency shelters, and soup kitchens. It was the end of a string of social-service work for me, which started several [...]
IT WAS AN UNUSUAL SCENE, to say the least. Scientists and academics stood in line next to young Tibetan monks. Aging spiritual seekers mingled with ambitious young Cambridge undergraduates. And they all filed, one by one, through checkpoints watched by hawk-eyed Secret Service agents with crew cuts and discreet earpieces.
This unlikely group was gathered [...]
Over the past several months I’ve also been thinking about my own blind spots around feminism, and on a couple of occasions female [...]
MY LATEST article has just been posted at State of Formation: “Behold the Lady: Lady Gaga and God-sacrifice.” In it, I explore the religious imagery in Lady Gaga’s sensational performance of “Paparazzi” at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, and what it says about America’s celebrity culture.
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