Author: Alex Chong Do Thompson

Unexpected Zen on a Road Trip

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson My eyelids are getting heavy as I drive down the interstate. It’s been a long weekend of college graduations, and late-night parties with family. It was fun. But the lack of sleep is starting to catch up with me. I try all of the usual tricks to stay awake. I roll down the windows, play loud music, and consume energy drinks until my chest burns. But none of it helps. I do some quick math, and calculate that I have about 3 more hours on the road before I get home. There’s no...

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Kindness, No Matter What

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson Before I started practicing Zen, I treated people the way I thought they deserved to be treated. If someone was kind to me, then I would be kind to them. If someone screamed at me, then I would scream at them. And if someone really pissed me off…well, you get the point. Looking back, this mindset had a huge affect on the way I treated the waitstaff in restaurants. To be clear, I was never rude to my servers, but I did tip more or less based on what I thought they deserved....

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Kindness is an Act of Resistance: A Buddhist Response to Mass Shootings

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson I’m standing in the break room at work, preparing to make a cup of tea and a news alert appears on my phone. I learn there’s been a mass shooting in Las Vegas. My heart drops, and I reflexively focus on my breathing. The impromptu meditation keeps me standing as I stare at the screen; more than 50 people are dead, and hundreds wounded because of one man. Lives have been shattered and families torn apart because of one man. Unimaginable suffering caused by one man, in a hotel room, with a small...

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No Radioactive Spider, No Secret Ceremony: Becoming Enlightened Takes Work

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson I recently started watching an anime on Netflix called, One Punch Man. The main character is an unemployed yuppie named Saitama, who decides one day that he’s going to become a super hero. He takes on the name One Punch Man because he defeats all of his opponents with just one punch! I should stop here and note that the series is supposed to be a parody. It makes fun of manga that take themselves too seriously with convoluted backstories, stylized heroes and over the top fight scenes. In contrast, Saitama’s story is...

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How Do We (as Buddhists) Respond to Violence?

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson I entered my first full-contact karate tournament when I was 13 years old. I’d been training for several years at that point, and after watching Enter The Dragon one to many times, I decided that I wanted to test myself against a real opponent. It took some convincing, but eventually my dad packed up the family car, and drove me to a tournament in Chicago, Illinois That’s how I found myself standing across from the child version of Ivan Drago, from Rocky IV. My opponent was 6 inches taller than me with biceps...

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