Was Bo Diddley a Buddha?

Buddhist Art News

Bo Diddley performing with Chuck Berry in 1972. Credit Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Stephen T. Asma
The New York Times, APRIL 10, 2017

Bo Diddley performing with Chuck Berry in 1972. Credit Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
CHICAGO — When I was in my 20s, I had the good fortune to play guitar as an opening act for the blues legend B. B. King. This lucky break opened many doors for me, and I soon found myself playing with other great blues musicians — Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy and Bo Diddley, to name a few. During one stretch time, Bo hired me whenever he played in Chicago.

Before my first gig with Bo, I spent a full week of intense preparation, learning and rehearsing his songs. On the opening night, he arrived to the venue five minutes before showtime. As he walked onstage in front of 500 shouting fans, I tried…

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A poem for the Vidhyadhara


Today marks the 30th anniversary of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s parinirvana.

Although I never formally met you or experienced you in your nirmanakaya form, I’ve been blessed to be under the guidance of one of your students. My teacher has shared many wonderful stories and it is quite clear to see that you are very much alive in her heart and every moment. I did had a wonderful, powerful dream with you many years ago, one that I still remember vividly. I was in a line, a procession, heading towards you. You were giving everyone a blessing. I remember you were dressed in white robes, and thought how odd? I was used to seeing Tibetan monks in their marooned robes, although you left your robes behind some time ago. Then as I arrived in front of you, you placed your hand on my head as I bowed. Then, like a rush of electricity, I felt an energy come from my feet, up through my body and out of the top of my head! At this precise moment, my eyes opened wide, I gasped, and woke up from the dream! It was an amazing experience. When I shared it with my teacher, she laughed and said,

“I see Rinpoche visited you.”


A poem for the Vidhyadhara,

In the dhatu of beginninglessness and endlessness

Thank goodness there is the death of concepts

And the deathlessness of basic goodness

Save the Dates – Heart of Practice Summer Retreat 2017


Seven Circles Retreat Center in Badger, CA
Near the entrance to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.

The Four Thoughts – Khaydroup & César visit Long Beach Meditation


Khaydroup and Cesar gave a Dharma talk focusing on “The Four Thoughts That Turn The Mind From Samsara.”

Buddha was a data scientist

Emaciated Buddha

Emaciated Buddha

Editor’s note: Tara Cottrell is a writer and digital strategist, and works as the web content manager at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Dan Zigmond is a writer, data scientist and Zen priest, and is director of analytics for Facebook. They are the authors of the book Buddha’s Diet.

More than two millennia ago, wandering the footpaths of ancient India, preaching in village huts and forest glens, Buddha was biohacking his health. He tried holding his breath so long his ears exploded, and even the gods assumed he was dead. (He wasn’t.) He then tried extreme fasting, reducing down his daily meals until he was living on just a few drops of soup each day. He got so thin his arms looked like withered branches and the skin of his belly rested on his spine.

Buddha was trying to do what we’re all trying to do on some level — improve ourselves and stop suffering so much, sometimes by employing pretty far-fetched techniques. But in the end, he rejected all these crazy extremes — not because they were too hard, but because they just didn’t work.

Buddha believed in data. Every time he tried something new, he paid attention. He collected evidence. He figured out what worked and what didn’t. And if something didn’t work, he rejected it and moved on. A good scientist knows when to quit.

When Buddha started teaching, he advised his students to do the same. He didn’t ask anyone to take his instructions on faith. He explained that the way most other teachers insisted you believe everything they said was like following a procession of blind men: “the first one does not see, the middle one does not see, and the last one does not see.” Buddha didn’t want us to trust — he wanted us to see. Our beliefs should be based on data.

He applied this same thinking to food. Most religions include some sort of dietary restriction: Islam prohibits pork. Orthodox Jews refrain from mixing milk and meat. Catholics avoid certain foods during Lent. Some devout Hindus won’t eat anything stale or overripe or with the wrong  flavors or texture. Usually these rules are presented as divine commandments. Asking why we should eat this way is beside the point. There isn’t necessarily a reason for the commandment — the commandment is the reason.

Buddha took a different approach: His rules were grounded in his own experience. Like a lot of us, he tried some crazy diets. But what worked for him was very simple. He gave little advice about what his monks should eat, but he was very particular about when they should eat it. His followers were basically free to eat anything they were given — even meat — but only between the hours of dawn and noon.

Buddha didn’t give a mystical or supernatural explanation for this odd time restriction. But he was pretty sure it would improve their health. He had tested it on himself. “Because I avoid eating in the evening, I am in good health, light, energetic, and live comfortably,” he explained. “You, too, monks, avoid eating in the evening, and you will have good health.”

If Buddha were alive today, he’d be surprised to see so many Silicon Valley techies and Brooklyn hipsters embracing intermittent fasting as a new craze. But he’d be gratified to see the evidence mounting for the health benefits he claimed for time-restricted eating. We now have numerous scientific studies confirming the original data Buddha collected.

In 2014, for example, Dr. Satchidananda Panda and his team of researchers at the prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Sciences outside San Diego published a study on obesity in mice. They took one group of mice and instead of their normal food, offered them a diet of high-fat, high-calorie foods — and let them eat as much as they wanted. The results would surprise no one: The mice got fat.

Then they took another group of mice and offered them exactly the same seemingly unhealthy diet, but this time they only let the mice eat for nine to 12 hours each day. During the rest of the day and at night, the mice got only water. In other words, these mice had the same all-you-can-eat buffet of tasty, fattening treats. The one rule was that they could only stuff themselves during some of their waking hours.

This time, the results were a surprise: None of these mice got fat. Something about matching their eating to their natural circadian rhythms seemed to protect the mice against all that otherwise fattening food. It didn’t matter if they loaded up with sugars and fats and other junk. It didn’t seem to matter what the mice ate, or even how much of it, only when they ate it.

In other words, the data backed up Buddha.

Other scientists have produced similar results. Dr. Panda’s team even tried fattening up the mice by starting them on that first any-time diet, and then switched them to the time-restricted version. These mice didn’t just stop gaining — they started to lose that excess weight.

And it doesn’t stop with mice. Researchers have asked men and women to restrict their eating to certain hours each day, and those people lose weight, too.

Some of the best researchers studying food and health have been confirming Buddha’s original rules. Whether you call it intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating, Buddha’s ancient biohacking wasn’t an anomaly. The data he collected on himself has now been replicated by countless others.

Like any good data scientist, Buddha learned to ignore the outliers. He realized early on that the truth is rarely found in the extremes. He practiced instead the “middle way,” a philosophy of perpetual compromise and moderation. Modern time-restricted diets follow this same sane path — not quite dieting, but not quite eating anything any time either . Every day becomes a balance, with a time for eating and a time for fasting.

These days, we can all do what Buddha did: Become your body’s own data scientist; observe yourself as you eat to see what works for you and what doesn’t. We weren’t designed to eat at all hours, an unfortunate luxury we have with all the cheap and readily available food in first-world countries. Buddha discovered this long ago. Now we know it too.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/06/buddha-was-a-data-scientist/

‘Kubo and the Two Strings’

Buddhist Art News

Filmmaker Travis Knight talks about the Buddhist elements in the just released animated movie, ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’:

“Q: There’s a strain of Buddhism throughout the film — this idea that lives don’t end with death and live on in memories. Apart from it being set in Ancient Japan, where did that come from?
Knight: My mother-in-law and her family are Buddhists. That kind of spirituality is not something you typically see in film. I think it spoke to the basic idea about losing something that matters to you, which is a fundamental part of life. You don’t get through life unscathed. Being able to explore those ideas through the prism of fantasy and animation really allows parents and children to experience those things together, in a way they can understand. Sometimes these ideas are difficult to articulate, but in a film, if done in a poetic way, those things…

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Lecture: The Diamond Sutra: A Story of Printing, Piety, and Preservation on the Silk Road

Buddhist Art News

Diamond Sutra, 868 CE, ink on paper. London, British Library, Or.8210/P.2. © The British Library Board Diamond Sutra, 868 CE, ink on paper. London, British Library, Or.8210/P.2. © The British Library Board

June 5, 2016
4:00 pm
Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center
Free | Advance ticket required
Get tickets

Susan Whitfield, the director of the International Dunhuang Project, will take us on a journey of exploration of the many facets of the Diamond Sutra (a sacred Mahayana Buddhist text), which dates from 868 and is the world’s oldest dated complete printed book. Found in Cave 17, also known as the Library Cave, it was one of a cache of some 40,000 objects that were sealed up for a millennium before their rediscovery in the 1900s.

About the Presenter
Susan Whitfield is curator of Central Asian Manuscripts at the British Library and director of the International Dunhuang Project, an initiative to conserve, catalogue, digitize, and research archaeological material from the eastern Silk Road. Her main research…

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