Author: Alex Chong Do Thompson

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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Nothing is Permanent—Not Even a Tattoo

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson Everything changes. These two words seem simple on the surface. But Buddhist teachers have spent the last 2,500 years explaining them to students. It’s almost so obvious as to be laughable. Day turns to night, winter changes to spring, and people grow older with every passing year. One is tempted to respond with a sarcastic, “Thanks, Captain Obvious” when they’re told by 100 different teachers in 100 different ways that everything changes. And yet, it’s a lesson that needs to be taught over and over again. Why is that? Personally, I think it’s...

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All Coming Together as One: Join us on August 5

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson A few months ago, I was meditating at my local Zen center, and I did something that I almost never do during practice. I opened my eyes, and I looked around at my fellow practitioners. What I saw shocked me. The guy sitting directly across from me was wearing black from head to toe. The sides of his head were shaved, which helped to accentuate his eyeliner. To my right, there was a young woman sitting in the lotus-position. Her brown hair fell to just below her shoulders, and her tattoo-covered hands rested...

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