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Even more facts about the Silk Road

By Valerie Hansen
The “Silk Road” was a stretch of shifting, unmarked paths across massive expanses of deserts and mountains — not a real road at any point or time. I previously examined the historical documents and evidence of the silk road, but here are a few more facts from camels to Marco Polo on this mysterious route. The peak years of the Silk Road trade were between 500 and 800 C.E., after the fall of the Han dynasty and Constantinople replaced Rome as the center of the Roman empire.

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Mindfulness is more than stress management

By Holly Rogers, M.D.
At the university counseling center where I work, the students are limp with relief when the semester finally grinds to an end and summer arrives. For college students and graduate students around the country, summer brings a much-needed break from the pressures of the academic year. However, academic pressures are not the only challenges facing emerging adults, young people between the ages of 19-29. They are typically dealing with a wide range of challenges and stressors that are related to their stage of life; they are in the midst of a developmental process that can take quite a bit of fortitude to resolve.

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Chinese Empress Cixi declares war on foreigners

On 21st June 1900, the Dowager Empress of China declared war on all foreigners. The conflict had been decades in building. Throughout the 19th century, foreign powers had carved up China, creating their own zones where they effectively ruled and where their nationals enjoyed privileged status.

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Self-immolation by Tibetans

By Michael Biggs
Since March 2011, over thirty Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest against repression in China. This is the latest manifestation of a resurgence in suicide protest — where someone kills him or herself for a political cause, without harming anyone else. The most famous recent case is Mohammad Bouazizi in Tunisia, whose self-immolation sparked the Arab spring in 2011, and whose example was followed by many others in North Africa. Less familiar in the West, the campaign for a separate state of Telangana within India (to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh) was accompanied by a wave of self-immolation in 2010-2011.

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Heart of Buddha

A century ago, Tanxu used his temples to establish physical links between Buddhism and Chinese nationalism. At the same time, though, he was guided by the belief that the physical world was illusory. The title of his memoir, “Recollections of Shadows and Dust,” uses a common Buddhist phrase meant to convey the impermanence and illusion of the material world, hardly the theological emphasis one might expect from a man who transformed cityscapes with his work in brick and mortar. I tried to understand this apparent paradox as I researched Tanxu’s career, but my connection to him remained impersonal, even distant, and strictly academic.

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Five lessons from Japan

By Anthony Scioli

Recently Japan’s 77 year old Emperor Akihito implored his people “not to abandon hope”. This may have struck some Westerners as odd since Japan is an Eastern country largely dominated by Buddhism and Shinto, faith traditions that many associate with mindfulness, acceptance and renunciation rather than hope for the future, transformation, or worldly pursuits. In fact, it is not uncommon to find Westerners who believe that “hope” does not even exist in the East. For many American intellectuals, particularly

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“Tomorrow Never Knows”: The Beatles sample the future, April 1966

By Gordon Thompson

Forty-five years ago, at the beginning of April 1966, on the almost anniversary of a London dentist surreptitiously spiking his and George Harrison’s coffees with Lysergic acid diethylamide, John Lennon visited Barry Miles’ Indica Books and picked up a copy of Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, and Richard Alpert’s The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. In its pseudo-mystical prose, Lennon found partial inspiration for one of the most audacious recordings the Beatles would ever attempt.

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National Poetry Month: Poetical Understanding of Reality

To provide some poetical meditation into the nature of reality. Buddhist philosophy is inwardly directed scientific method. Experimentation of the spirit, and as a result there are parallels between long held Buddhist descriptions of reality and some currently accepted physical ones. Metaphor as the essential tool of learning. All knowledge reflecting and scattering off the surface of reality and received and interpreted by the curled consciousness factory of the mind.

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