The Tao of the RZA


The RZA—born Robert Diggs—needs no introduction to hardcore fans of hip-hop. After setting the rap world on its ear with 1993's groundbreaking Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the mastermind of the Wu-Tang Clan has since produced a slew of albums and has branched out to film scores (Kill Bill, Ghost Dog), filmmaking, and books. He first found inspiration in the teachings of The [...]

Interview: How Brooklyn Zen’s 12-Step Sangha works

Luke Holland Brooklyn Zen Center 12-step recovery addiction

A conversation with Luke Holland, director of Brooklyn Zen Center’s 12-Step Sangha program, which meets weekly, “bringing together people in recovery from addictions of all kinds to focus on recovery in the context of Buddhadharma and the twelve steps.” See our feature on Brooklyn Zen Center inside the January 2015 Shambhala Sun magazine, on newsstands in early [...]

Master Kok Kwong, head of the Buddhist Association of Hong Kong, dies

Sik Kok Kwong died Lion's Roar Hong Kong

Sik Kok Kwong, head of the Buddhist Association of Hong Kong, died on Monday at the age of 95. As the South China Morning Post writes, Sik Kok Kwong "was lauded for promoting his religion and organising charitable services, but also faced criticism over controversial comments," noting that "while president of the city's leading Buddhist group, a position he held until his [...]

Thich Nhat Hanh health update: Doctors cautiously optimistic


Thich Nhat Hanh's Plum Village community has issued an update on the 88-year-old Zen teacher's health after a brain hemorrhage last week. It begins: "Thầy is now in a hospital with a highly reputable neurologist monitoring his progress. He is in the right place with the best possible care and attention. New tests have been done. Doctors report that Thầy is showing good [...]

Nuts, Bolts & Zazen: an interview with Paul Budnitz of

Ello, Paul Budnitz, buddhist entrepreneur

He’s a self-described geek, a non-stop creative, and a serial entrepreneur. He’s made two award-winning films (93 Million Miles and Ultraviolet). His company, KidRobot, put the “designer toy” craze on the map, and some of his own such creations have found permanent homes in the MoMA. And in 2011, he launched Budnitz Bicycles, dedicated to building beautifully crafted, [...]

Remembering Jim Woolsey, rock fan/producer and preserver of Tibetan literature

Jim Woolsey

"He was one my dearest friends and father-figures and I don't know what I'm gonna do w/o him now." That's how Mickey Melchiondo -- aka Dean Ween, half of the team behind the beloved but no-longer-active band known as Ween -- characterized his feelings about the passing of Jim Woolsey. But who was Jim Woolsey? How that question's answered will, of course, depend on who's being [...]

Like Thangkas You Can Hear: Buddhism & the Metal Underground


"Buddhist Metal." That's... a thing? Yes, it is. And it runs the gamut. Some of it's artier, some's goofier, some's pure expression, some of it is capable of conveying real dharma -- if we're willing to listen. Of course, it can be heavy, hectic, screamy music, so it's understandable why many may not be so willing. But there are rewards. Like a Buddhist thangka, the [...]

Crowdfunding works: Updates on Against the Stream’s new SF Center and “The Dalai Lama Film”

Good news: Against the Stream's online fundraising campaign for a new meditation center in San Francisco has been fully funded. But your donation is still very much welcome. Why? As ATS tells us: The $30,000 raised [thus far] brings us what we need for the original renovation contract, but every dollar more buys us some breathing room for any overruns. It will also helps us [...]

Cast your eyes upon the sage, there on his *silver* donut throne

Two years after the appearance of the Homer-Simpson-as-Buddha statuette, the toy is now getting a new release in a silver "Silver Anniversary" edition, marking 25 years of The Simpsons on the airwaves. From the marketing copy: "Meditating with a pretzel in one hand, and a giant donut beneath him, Homer, at long last, has found his inner peace. [...] Inspired by The Simpsons [...]

Novelist Rajeev Balasubramanyam takes you on a real-life “American Pilgrimage”

"Vegas encapsulates all the reasons why I should be going to America — fame, money, sex, glamour, the American Dream," writes novelist Rajeev Balasubramanyam (In Beautiful Disguises; The Dreamer) on his blog about his "American Pilgrimage." "If I want spirituality I should surely go to to India, not America, reversing the journey my parents originally made in the Sixties." So [...]