Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Morbid Anatomy

Surveying the Interstices of Art and Medicine, Death and Culture.


Gay monks told to stop wearing makeup

By Jessica Geen • April 28, 2009 - 10:28

Gay and trans Buddhist monks in Thailand have been given a new set of guidelines aimed to curb "flamboyant" behaviour such as wearing makeup.

The "good manners" curriculum is being introduced in the northern province of Chiang Rai.

Senior monk Phra Maha Wudhijaya Vajiramedhi told the BBC the guidelines were designed to address issues like smoking, drinking alcohol, walking and going to the toilet correctly.

However, he added he was especially concerned about gay and trans monks, who he said could often be seen carrying pink handbags and wearing tight robes.

If the new rules are successful, there are plans to expand them to other areas.

Guidelines on issues such as smoking and drinking are detailed in the traditional 75 Dharma principles of Buddhism, and the 227 precepts for monks.

More than 90 per cent of the Thai population are Buddhist.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Popular Culture

From Booklist

This small volume contains less than 100 articles on topics in gay and lesbian popular culture. Although there is no precise definition used to establish the term popular culture in the introduction, following John Storey’s definitions in his book Cultural Theory and Popular Culture (Univ. of Georgia, 1998), the articles fall into the area of mass-consumption culture. The entries consist predominately of biographies, with a few articles discussing television shows, movies, and some other forms of entertainment. There are a few British biographical entries, but Americans comprise the largest part of the book. Although author Prono explains his selection criteria in the preface, it is not clear what makes David Leavitt, William Condon, or Agnes Moorehead, who are all the subjects of entries, inherently more important in gay and lesbian popular culture than Jim Grimsley, Ang Lee, or Bette Davis, who are not. Articles are followed by a list of secondary sources. Cross-references will take a browser to another related article. A brief index is also helpful in directing the reader. Most academic libraries will not find the need to purchase the title, as biographical articles can be found in standard titles like Completely Queer: The Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia (Holt, 1998), Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Histories and Culture (Routledge, 1999), or even The Queer Encyclopedia of Film and Television (Cleis Press, 2006). However, it is a useful and easy-to-use resource for public and high-school libraries. --Steve Stratton

“Whereas most reference works on gay and lesbian figures concentrate on their contributions to politics and literature, independent scholar Prono's work instead examines gay and lesbian contributions to popular culture. His approximately 100 scholarly yet readable cross-referenced A-to-Z entries, each typically ranging from two to four pages in length, cover mostly biography (e.g., Rock Hudson, Tennessee Williams, Melissa Ethridge), though some thematic subjects (e.g., AIDS, the Harlem Renaissance, independent cinema) are also included....Having in one place all these entries emphasizing the subject's relevance to the gay and lesbian community could benefit the student wanting to browse possible research topics. This is also enjoyable to read from cover to cover....Recommended for all school and college libraries.”–Library Journal

“Prono's slim, but thoughtful, collection of essays focuses on well-known American and British individuals whos works, words, and deeds have helped "redefine and shape" contemporary views of gays and lesbians....The writing is engaging and interesting; it is readable and accessible to wide audience....[A] recommended purchase for public or college libraries.”–Reference & User Services Quarterly

“These 97 well-researched, alphabetically arranged entries include profiles of prominent individuals who have concealed or denied their sexual orientation as well as those who have forced open the closet and are fighting for equal rights.”–School Library Journal

“[A] useful and easy-to-use resource for public and high-school libraries.”–Booklist

PDF version at:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Zen Life : D.T. Suzuki (2007)

A Zen Life : D.T. Suzuki (2007)
XviD | 512×384 | Runtime: 77 min | 700MB

Daisetsu Suzuki was a pivotal figure in bringing Zen to the West.

As well as being a charismatic speaker, he was a prolific translator of Chinese, Japanese, and Sanskrit literature. He also wrote many original works, notably the three volume, Essays in Zen Buddhism; Studies in Zen Buddhism and Manual of Zen Buddhism. His, An Introduction to Zen Buddhism, includes a commentary by Carl Jung.

But despite his prolific literary output, he always stressed the importance of actually experiencing satori.

The film follows the progress of his life and thought and many fascinating insights into his character are offered by those who knew him well.


What Would Jesus NOT Do?

Found at Atheist Movies

Men, Heroes and Gay Nazis

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen Review
You might want to digest this book slowly, a few pages at a time. Although Zen teacher Steve Hagen has a knack for putting the philosophy of Buddhism in a "plain and simple" package, it may take a while to sink in. There is so much there. Seeing reality, realizing the wisdom of the self, breaking free of dualistic thinking--this is pretty heady stuff. Thankfully, Hagen passes it along in the form of examples from life, psychological tidbits, and stories from Buddhist teachers past and present. And when it clicks in, it can be life-transforming. Hagen explains this shift in outlook and how the fundamental way we look at the world affects everything we do. As an outline, Hagen follows the basic teachings of the Buddha, and we see that, rather than dogmatic truths, they are reminders for us as we reconsider the life we have taken for granted for so long. As it turns out, Buddhism is life, plain and simple. --Brian Bruya

From Library Journal
Hagen's concise work, a brief introduction to Zen Buddhism, is arranged in a straightforward manner with lucid explanations. He describes techniques for meditation, making this a rather practical recording. Reading this abridgment of his own work, the Zen priest's soft, serene voice is pleasing to the ear; the pace is unhurried, allowing the listener to grasp the material. Libraries with a demand for New Age/Eastern religions should have this tape.AMichael T. Fein, Catawba Valley Community Coll., Hickory, NC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

PDF link:


A documentary series exploring art, sex and the body

Three unusual and compelling stories exploring how sexuality and the body work as driving forces in the creative process.

Episode 1, Muscle (directed by Natasha Gadd) is about the relationship between Simon Yates, his partner Jo-Ann Lancaster, and their collaborator Mozes, who perform together (often in the nude) as performance/dance troupe, Acrobat. Episode 2, Skin (directed by Rhys Graham) examines the fifteen year collaboration between tattooist/artist Ex De Medici and her subject Geoff O, as they negotiate the possibility of bequeathing Geoff's tattooed skin as an artwork when he dies. Episode 3, Heart (directed by Amy Gebhardt) looks at the artist/muse relationship between Jacqui Stockdale and Rose Mastroianni.

Each episode authored by a different director, Anatomy shows the work of three of Australia's talented new generation of documentary filmmakers.

Big and Little Films

Download "Skin" here:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Christ Conspiracy

Product Description
Controversial and explosive, The Christ Conspiracy marshals an enormous amount of startling evidence that the religion of Christianity and Jesus Christ were created by members of various secret societies, mystery schools and religions in order to unify the Roman Empire under one state religion! This powerful book maintains that these groups drew upon a multitude of myths and rituals that already existed long before the Christian era and reworked them into the story the Christian religion presents today-known to most Westerners as the Bible. Author Acharya makes the case that there was no actual person named Jesus, but that several characters were rolled into one mythic being inspired by the deities Mithras, Heracles/Hercules, Dionysus and many others of the Roman Empire. She demonstrates that the story of Jesus, as portrayed in the Gospels, is nearly identical in detail to those of the earlier savior-gods Krishna and Horus, and concludes that Jesus was certainly neither original nor unique, nor was he the divine revelation. Rather, he represents the very ancient body of knowledge derived from celestial observation and natural forces. A book that will initiate heated debate and inner struggle, it is intelligently written and referenced. The only book of its kind, it is destined for controversy.

PDF version

Friday, April 17, 2009


What is WOWIO?
WOWIO is a new kind of online bookstore and your one stop shop for ebooks. With WOWIO, you can read complete books online for FREE or pay to download PDF versions of the same ebooks. On occasion, some downloads will be offered FREE to members of WOWIO through commercial sponsorship. With the support of commercial sponsorships, online ads, and your paid downloads, WOWIO is able to compensate authors and publishers with the mission to FREE BOOKS + FREE MINDS.


God's Problem by Bart D. Ehrman

God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer

From Publishers Weekly
In this sometimes provocative, often pedantic memoir of his own attempts to answer the great theological question about the persistence of evil in the world, Ehrman, a UNC–Chapel Hill religion professor, refuses to accept the standard theological answers. Through close readings of every section of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, he discovers that the Bible offers numerous answers that are often contradictory. The prophets think God sends pain and suffering as a punishment for sin and also that human beings who oppress others create such misery; the writers who tell the Jesus story and the Joseph stories think God works through suffering to achieve redemptive purposes; the writers of Job view pain as God's test; and the writers of Job and Ecclesiastes conclude that we simply cannot know why we suffer. In the end, frustrated that the Bible offers such a range of opposing answers, Ehrman gives up on his Christian faith and fashions a peculiarly utilitarian solution to suffering and evil in the world: first, make this life as pleasing to ourselves as we can and then make it pleasing to others. Although Ehrman's readings of the biblical texts are instructive, he fails to convince readers that these are indeed God's problems, and he fails to advance the conversation any further than it's already come. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist
The subtitle seems off the mark. Isn’t Why are we here? our most important question? But quibble, quibble. Why is there evil?—a question about the problem of pain so closely related to Why do we suffer? that evangelical Christian–turned agnostic Ehrman operatively seems to prefer it—is indeed one of the Bible’s principal preoccupations. Ehrman rejects three biblical answers to it and approves a fourth before settling on ethical pragmatism (“alleviate suffering wherever possible”), with or without Christianity. The three inadequate answers are that suffering is punishment for sin, that individual suffering is necessary for the greater good, and that suffering presages the imminent triumph of good over evil (as in the perhaps most prevalent understanding of Christ’s Second Coming). Ehrman rejects those positions essentially because they don’t fit the concept of God as loving and omnipotent. He countenances the answer of Ecclesiastes, that suffering is inexplicable, but maintains that it negates God’s omniscience and is perhaps more cogent for nonbelievers. Ehrman’s clarity, simplicity, and congeniality help make this a superb introduction to its subject. --Ray Olson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

PDF at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tennessee Schools Filtering Pro-Gay Sites; ACLU Threatens Suit

Authored by Mark Hefflinger on April 16, 2009 - 10:16am.
San Francisco - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has threatened to sue public schools in Tennessee for using Internet filtering software to block websites that discuss lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, while allowing visits to sites that actively advocate against homosexuality, reported.

Education Networks of America, which provides the software, told Wired that the schools determine which sites they wish to block, and the software simply enforces those wishes.

"The filtering scheme engages in impermissible viewpoint discrimination by blocking sites that express acceptance and tolerance towards LGBT individuals but permitting sites that condemn homosexuality and sites that urge LGBT persons to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through so-called 'reparation therapy,'" reads the ACLU's letter to Knox County Schools and Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Are Buddhists Violent?

Lawrence Osborne, 04.14.09, 03:35 PM EDT

Western stereotypes vs. reality as Thailand descends into turmoil.

Like many former residents of Bangkok, I have been watching the country's slide into virtual civil war with a mixture of incredulity and tetchy disillusion. It is hard for us to think of one of the world's only truly Buddhist states descending into a chaotic thuggery that would, alas, be less remarkable elsewhere. But why? Is it because of misperceptions we have about Buddhism?

Buddhist violence--or violence committed by Buddhists, more properly speaking--is a strained concept for us, to put it mildly. I can easily imagine being assaulted by an infuriated Christian or by a hysterically outraged jihadist, by a Zionist even, at a pinch--but by a Buddhist? What would you have to say to get him mad? Deny transmigration?

I confess that I rather like the idea of an ax-wielding Buddhist thug. It would prove, at least, that stereotypes are stereotypes. Ever since America switched on to Zen, that exceedingly odd variant of Buddhism propagated by the tireless and slightly loopy Japanese writer D. T. Suzuki, among others, we have thought of Buddhism as being inseparable from an exemplary nonviolence.

In some senses, the question is self-answering. If I had entitled this column "Are Baptists Violent?" I would receive 20,000 incoherently enraged rebuttals threatening to enslave my children and rearrange my anatomy within 10 minutes. But Buddhists, if they disagree with you, are more likely to write in with respect, manners and a sense of humor. Rage is not their thing.

Yet our ideas about Buddhism are vague and wobbly for the most part, and our converted boomers who preach its virtues bear little resemblance, say, to the tattooed denizens of a Bangkok slum, many of whom have images of the Buddha burned into their flesh with a hot needle to protect them from evil spirits.

Our popular idea of Buddhism is little better than Madonna's unhinged vision of the Torah, a "spirituality" gutted of context and complexity. Moreover, Buddhists in America and Europe are mostly middle class and economically comfortable. Theirs is a religion of consumerist choice, individual and private, not one of national inheritance and governance, and their form of Buddhism doesn't have to get its hands dirty by running an actual state.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Gnostic Bible

Product Description
This expanded edition of The Gnostic Bible includes the Gospel of Judas—the recently discovered and translated gnostic text that was an instant best seller on its original appearance in 2006—in its most accessible translation yet. Also included are such important and topical texts as the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and the Gospel of Thomas. Religious thinkers engaged in the quest for wisdom and knowledge, the gnostics proclaimed that salvation could be found through mystical knowledge and intuition. Dating from the first to the thirteenth centuries, the texts in The Gnostic Bible represent Jewish, Christian, Hermetic, Mandaean, Manichaean, Islamic, and Cathar forms of gnostic spirituality, and they derive from Egypt, the Greco-Roman world, the Middle East, Syria, Iraq, China, France, and elsewhere.

The expanded edition comes out in June. Here is a copy of the first edition:

Ben Heine - Art - The Blog


Monday, April 13, 2009

Travels in the Netherworld: Buddhist Popular Narratives of Death and the Afterlife in Tibet

  • Author: Bryan J. Cuevas
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (2008)
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 215
  • ISBN-10: 0195341163
  • ISBN-13: 9780195341164
  • Format: PDF

In Travels in the Netherworld, Bryan J. Cuevas examines a fascinating but little-known genre of Tibetan narrative literature about the delok, ordinary men and women who claim to have died, traveled through hell, and then returned from the afterlife. These narratives enjoy audiences ranging from the most sophisticated monastic scholars to pious townsfolk, villagers, and nomads. Their accounts emphasize the universal Buddhist principles of impermanence and worldly suffering, the fluctuations of karma, and the feasibility of obtaining a favorable rebirth through virtue and merit. Providing a clear, detailed analysis of four vivid return-from-death tales, including the stories of a Tibetan housewife, a lama, a young noble woman, and a Buddhist monk, Cuevas argues that these narratives express ideas about death and the afterlife that held wide currency among all classes of faithful Buddhists in Tibet.

More, including the download, at Revelation

Gay Warriors by B Burg

From Publishers Weekly
Most readers know about same-sex romance in ancient Greece and Rome. Fewer may be aware of its prevalence among soldiers in those societies, and even fewer will know of such relationships in modern-day militaries. In Gay Warriors: A Documentary History from the Ancient World to the Present, B.R. Burg (Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition), Professor of History at Arizona State University, presents records of gays and lesbians on the battlefield from the Amazons through U.S. soldiers in the Gulf War. John Boswell discusses "the association of homosexuals with democracy and the military" circa 300 B.C.; Anne Gilmour-Bryson explores "Sodomy and the Knights Templar," a medieval religious and military order; and in 1952 the U.S. Army delivered a "Lecture for the `Indoctrination of WAVE Recruits on Subject of Homosexuality.' "

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Questions about whether or not gays should serve in the military are slightly off. The reality is that they do and always have. If proof is necessary, this insightful compilation of essays on gay and lesbian warriors throughout history is a good place to start. Accomplished historian Burg (Arizona State Univ.), who has proven himself to be a master documentarian in his previous works (e.g., Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition), has gathered important materials in the Western tradition from Homer to Clinton, making for a truly fascinating reading on this controversial subject. Court-martial proceedings and transcripts from Napoleon's army and the Royal Navy, for example, are quite evocative of their age. More frightening are those relating to the prosecution of the Knights Templars. Each of the nine chapters, written by prominent academics (e.g., John Boswell, Anne Gilmour-Bryson) and by Berg himself, covers a specific historical period (e.g., American Civil War, World Wars I and II) and includes enough contextual information to make it pertinent to academics and accessible to the lay reader. David Azzolina,. Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib., Philadelphia

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Rapidshare copy at

Historic Stonewall Bar to Dump Jamaican Rum Down Sewer on Wednesday

Truth Wins Out

Contact: Wayne Besen

National Alert
: If you are in New York City please join us at our Jamaican "rum dump" at the historic Stonewall Inn on Wednesday, April 15. (6:30 PM). Help us spread the word.

What: Gay advocates are launching a national boycott of Jamaica in New York City at the famed Stonewall Bar - birthplace of the gay rights movement. The bar's owners and boycott supporters will dump Jamaican liquor - Red Stripe beer and Myers' Rum - down the sewer. (

Human rights activists have given Jamaica the infamous title: "The Most Homophobic Place on Earth." Gay people have regularly been beaten and murdered on the island, while authorities do little to stop the violence.

Where: Stonewall Inn
Wednesday, April 15
53 Christopher Street
6:30 PM

Bill Morgan, Stonewall Inn, Kurt Kelly, Stonewall Inn, Tony DeCicco,Rum Dump Stonewall Inn, Wayne Besen, Boycott co-organizer

GLBT activists Michael Petrelis, Wayne Besen and Jim Burroway launched this boycott after a State Department report highlighted the violence faced by GLBT people. According to the report:

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG) continued to report human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention, mob attacks, stabbings, harassment of homosexual patients by hospital and prison staff, and targeted shootings of homosexuals. Police often did not investigate such incidents.

The West Coast portion of the boycott took place earlier this month with a rum dump in San Francisco that featured Petrelis and city Supervisor Bevan Dufty.

Learn more about the boycott at Please support our efforts:


© 2009 Truth Wins OUT. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew by Bart Ehrman

From Publishers Weekly
What if Marcion's canon-which consisted only of Luke's Gospel and Paul's letters, entirely omitting the Old Testament-had become Christianity's canon? What if the Ebionites-who believed Jesus was completely human and not divine-had ruled the day as the Orthodox Christian party? What if various early Christian writings, such as the Gospel of Thomas or the Secret Gospel of Mark, had been allowed into the canonical New Testament? Ehrman (The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture), a professor of religion at UNC Chapel Hill, offers answers to these and other questions in this book, which rehearses the now-familiar story of the tremendous diversity of early Christianity and its eventual suppression by a powerful "proto-orthodox" faction. The proto-orthodox Christians won out over many other groups, and bequeathed to us the four Gospels, a church hierarchy, a set of practices and beliefs, and doctrines such as the Trinity. Ehrman eloquently characterizes some of the movements and Scriptures that were lost, such as the Ebionites and the Secret Gospel of Mark, as he outlines the many strands of Christianity that competed for attention in the second and third centuries. He issues an important reminder that there was no such thing as a monolithic Christian orthodoxy before the fourth century. While Ehrman sometimes raises interesting questions (e.g., are Paul's writings sympathetic to women?), his book covers territory already well-explored by others (Gregory Riley, The River of God; Elaine Pagels, Beyond Belief), generating few fresh or provocative insights.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Rapidshare copy at

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Queer God

There are those who go to gay bars and salsa clubs with rosaries in their pockets, and who make camp chapels of their living rooms. Others enter churches with love letters hidden in their bags, because their need for God and their need for love refuse to fit into different compartments. But what goodness and righteousness can prevail if you are in love with someone whom you are ecclesiastically not supposed to love? Where is God in a salsa bar? The Queer God introduces a new theology from the margins of sexual deviance and economic exclusion. Its chapters on bisexual theology, Sadean holiness, gay worship in Brazil and queer sainthood mark the search for a different face of God--the Queer God who challenges the oppressive powers of heterosexual orthodoxy, whiteness, and global capitalism. Inspired by the transgressive spaces of Latin American spirituality, where the experiences of slum children merge with queer interpretations of grace and holiness, The Queer God seeks to liberate God from the closet of traditional Christian thought, and to embrace God's part in the lives of gays, lesbians, and the poor. Only a theology that dares to be radical can show us the presence of God in our times. The Queer God creates a concept of holiness that overcomes sexual and colonial prejudices and shows how queer theology is ultimately the search for God's own deliverance. Using liberation theology and queer theory, it exposes the sexual roots that underlie all theology, and takes the search for God to new depths of social and sexual exclusion.

Rapidshare copy at

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Joshua Project- Conversion to Christianity

This is just the page for Japan. They are very precise and detailed. More than a little scary.

What are their needs?
Many Japanese are indifferent and skeptical of established religion. On the outside, they seem to have few needs. However, many of them have become obsessed with materialistic pleasures, careers, and possessions. Their greatest need is to be introduced to the Father through His Son, Jesus.

Prayer Points
Ask the Lord to call laborers to go to Japan and share Christ with the Japanese.
Pray that Christian businessmen will have open doors to share the Gospel with the Japanese.
Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Japanese toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
Pray that Japanese Christians will have opportunities to share the love of Jesus with their families and friends.
Pray that Christian radio and television broadcasts will be effective in reaching the Japanese.
Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Japanese bound.
Pray that God will raise up teams of intercessors to stand in the gap for these precious people.
Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Japanese.

Friday, April 3, 2009

the DharmaRealm A Shin Buddhist podcast by Rev. Harry and Dr. Scott.


Friday, 3 April 2009

One of the issues that came up for us in our post-modern conversations was the idea that here in the post-modern world, we’re all free to choose whatever religion we want, to choose whatever we want to believe or practice — which raises the specter of heresy! In this episode, we talk about Buddhist heresy which may be understood simply as “wrong views,” or more appropriately a reflection of the myriad of different ways to approach and interpret the Buddha Dharma. (So heresy really all depends on who you ask!) Our conversation comes back around to Jodo Shinshu and Pure Land Buddhism, a topic rife with different views and interpretations and charges of “divergent views” and heresy. We end by focusing on an important text in the Shin tradition, the Tannisho, a short, pithy but deep and complex work.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Shambhala SunSpace

Gay, Buddhist, and married: Steve Silberman talks in new Shambhala Sun Audio — and takes YOUR questions in a special online Q&A

levine-wpaudiologo-wp1Steve Silberman has made a wonderful life for himself. Not only is he a great writer — frequently contributing to WIRED and the Shambhala Sun — but he’s dedicated himself to working for legal same-sex marriage and civil rights for all. Best of all, he and his husband Keith have managed to find a real sense of peace in life — even in the face of the same-sex marriage controversy that threatened their union when California’s Prop 8 recently passed.

Steve’s feelings about Prop 8 and his marriage are movingly recounted in his new article, “Happily Ever After,” found in our May 2009 issue. But when it comes to gay marriage, being gay, or being gay and Buddhist, there’s always more to say. So we’ve asked Steve to take your questions and comments about it all — and he’ll respond in kind over the next few days. Simply leave your message(s) to Steve here, in a comment.


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