A music-appreciation lesson from the Dalai Lama


  Via Friends of the Dalai Lama comes a very sweet video-clip from the Dalai Lama's birthday celebrations earlier this month. In it His Holiness shares the stage with Michael Franti, the mastermind behind the musical group, Spearhead. Give these two a chat show -- they have a playful, fun, rapport, with even some respectful ribbing. The Dalai Lama opens things up by [...]

Are you offended by The Lancet’s Buddha image?


Take a good, good look at that magazine cover. Are you offended? No? Well, some people think you should be. What you're looking at is the original June 2015 cover of the medical journal, The Lancet Infectious Diseases. I say "original" because, as Retraction Watch reports, the folks at The Lancet have retracted and replaced the cover after a minor outcry. In an [...]

The strange case of Doctor Strange’s Tibet

doctor strange, comic, tibet, benedict cumberbatch, tilda swinton, orientalism, marvel, lion's roar, buddhism

Recently we told you about the coming release of Marvel's Doctor Strange film starring Benedict Cumberbatch -- who's had his own experiences with meditation, as well as living with Tibetan Buddhist monks. It seems he's got one up on his character there. As fans of the Doctor Strange comic book know, much of it takes place in a sort of highly mythical version of Tibet mashed up [...]

Heaviness and dharma work together in new Senses Fail LP


I've covered lots of Buddhist-influenced heavy music here, but Senses Fail really does seem to be a band apart. There's no doubt that many of these songs are sonically aggressive, but what's being so passionately addressed in the lyrics are unabashed appreciations of and exhortation toward ideas like openness, love, connecting with others, and breaking free from unhealthy [...]

15 classic Buddhism-and-advertising collisions

lucky buddha beer advertising mad men don draper buddhism lion's roar news culture

"I'd like to buy the world a Dharma-Burger"? Don Draper's meditation-based epiphany, as seen on Mad Men's finale, is all but immortal now. Though we'll never truly know what came next, one thing's for sure: the relationship between meditation and commerce wouldn't, for better or worse, be just fiction. Advertisers and marketers have been trading on it for decades, and [...]

In Mad Men finale, a meditative breakthrough

mad men don draper meditating finale breakthrough

No, he didn't become a Buddhist, but in "Person to Person," Mad Men's finale, Don Draper definitely came closer than many might have expected he could. Buddhism or no, it made for a memorable meditation-and-pop-culture moment. (Spoiler alert: this post does in fact address the very end of the final episode and some of the details leading up to it.) His unannounced flight [...]

Buddy Nielsen of Senses Fail on trauma, sexuality, and Buddhism

buddy nielsen senses fail buddhist vipassana lgbt sexuality gender dharma punx meditation against the stream

Since its formation in 2002, Senses Fail has gone through changes—from startup melodic punk band to capital-H heavy post-hardcore juggernaut (boasting, for example, some 523,000 fans on Facebook). Founding singer Buddy Nielsen, too, has had his share of boundary-busting transformation. It hasn’t come easy. As he’s written, “For over nine years I suffered in a cycle of shame [...]

How to Meditate With Noise


Each workday, members of our staff sit together in meditation for twenty minutes. Meanwhile, the lot right outside our window is being torn apart in preparation for the construction of a new building. The pounding, the pummeling -- it's every bit as loud as you might imagine. So: what to do about it? That's one of the "Dharma FAQs" covered in the Beginner's Mind section of [...]

You know that photo of “100,000 monks praying for world peace”?


You may have seen this photo (or others like it) going around, posted on Facebook, etc, with a note that it depicts 100,000 Burmese monks praying for world peace, or something along those lines. After the earthquake in Nepal, it's now circulating again, described as "100,000 monks in Napal [sic] in prayer after the Nepal earthquake as a necessary gesture of power." So: who's in [...]

The Tibetan Comic-Book of the Dead

The Tibetan Book of the Dead Comic

It's fun! It's visionary! It features Donald Trump as Yama Raja, the Lord of Death. It's "The Comic Bardo Thodol" (aka The Tibetan Book of the Dead), as created and executed by writer/artist Thomas Scoville. How nice to see it making the rounds online again, since it's now been posted on UltraCulture.org. It first surfaced in 2008, and I reached out to Scoville, who [...]