Monday 24 February 2014

On Youtube, Reading Mythology but Seeing History

Reading Mythology but Seeing History: the Historical Buddha and the Historical Hercules.

Sunday 23 February 2014

Sangharakshita and the Scandal that Never Ends.

In a world where all is impermanent, it takes quite a lot for a scandal to leave a permanent mark on the world.  However, Sangharakshita's surreal career is an example of one such scandal.

For a very short and efficient introduction to one aspect of the scandal (sex, drugs, lies, and Buddhism), take a look at this letter-of-resignation from some of his former followers that I've now archived on

A much longer essay on the intellectual history of the cult (formerly called F.W.B.O., now rebranded as "Triratna") is here:

And, finally, a first-person account of the sexual abuse that was endemic to this organization is recorded here:

Thursday 20 February 2014

Buddhist Philosophy, Known or Unknown?

On Youtube: do we know what the Buddha taught, thought or said?

Is Buddhist philosophy something we can know (the same way that we know the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, etc.) or is there some kind of special exception to the rules involved?  (Organized religions always seem to make themselves an exception to the rules, hm?)


Sunday 16 February 2014

Wednesday 12 February 2014

On Youtube, Ancient vs Rational

My first appearance on Youtube: an unscripted discussion of Buddhist scholars' ideals of rationality and authenticity.

Click through:

Sunday 2 February 2014

1893, When the French and the British Fought to Rule Southeast Asia

An amusing article about the bad old days of French and British Colonialism in Southeast Asia:

I wrote this in about two-and-a-half days; the deadlines were very tight, and, as a result, the style is a bit bombastic.  However, the primary sources and subject-matter were bombastic to begin with, so… the results are an amusing mix.

My Two Articles on the 12 Links

My two articles on the 12 links (a.k.a., “Twelve Nidānas”, 十二因缘, etc.) have now been posted to, so, I suppose, they're easier to find, and they won't disappear if the "New Mandala" website does:

• Returning to the Primary Source of the 12-Links (十二因缘) in Theravada Buddhism, or, “Discarding Dependent Origination”.

• Causality and Canonicity: a Sequel on the Misinterpretation of Buddhist “Dependent Arising” and/or/as/vs. “Interdependence”.

I have tried for years to get these translated into Chinese (and, no, I wasn't asking anyone to work for free) but the translators were terrified of the challenge.  So, these still remain in English only.

Saturday 1 February 2014

The Buddha Was Bald

I re-formatted and re-posted my old article, "The Buddha was Bald", because it keeps coming up in conversation:
"The Buddha was Bald… but is Everywhere Depicted with a Full Head of Hair."

Laos: Endangered Languages, Education, International Aid, 21st Century Communism and Buddhism

Yeah, this post has a long title, and everything mentioned in it is covered in this relatively brief article that I've posted via, for those of you who aren't regular subscribers to Ogmois (the slightly obscure journal of the Foundation for Endangered Languages).

I'll try to relay news of any other articles (formal or informal) that I've got coming out, both here (on this blog) and via my rarely-used twitter account: