Joan Duncan Oliver wrote a piece for Tricycle about compassionate gift-giving that might help with some tricky decisions this holiday season. Singapore – City – Zen links to an amazing article on, Dress for Excess: The Cost of Our Clothing Addiction. (S-C-Z often has great environmental links.) Here’s some brief passages from the Alternet article:

The numbers are astonishing. Apparel is easily the second-biggest consumer sector after food. We’re spending $282 billion on new clothes annually, up from $162 billion in 1992, based on U.S. Census figures. . . . And to clear out closet space for the new purchases, the average American discards 68 pounds of clothing and other textiles each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

And apparently it takes a lot of pesticides to grow cotton. Obviously people need clothes, but it seems like it’s time for a discussion of what kind (and how much!) Trouble making friends? Try meditation. The Dalai Lama is everyone’s favorite thorn in China’s side. He’s recently irked Hu Jintao and company by saying he might be reincarnated outside Tibet (i.e. outside Chinese control) and now he’s said the next Dalai Lama might be a woman. Other than Jiang Qing, women play a very small part in Chinese politics (and American politics, of course.) The DL is visiting Italy, but his proposed meeting with Benedict XVI (what a photo op!) was cancelled. (If you’re interested in following the DL throughout cyberspace, as opposed to throughout Italy, you can follow him to The Canadian, where Horace R. Carby-Samuels outlines his small quarrel with HH. (It’s a little hard to read because of all the bold and italics used for emphasis. But that’s better than ALL CAPS!) Tsering Chungtak, Miss Tibet 2006, refused to participate in a beauty pageant in Malaysia because the Chinese government ordered her to wear a sash saying “Miss Tibet-China”:

“I did not go to Malaysia with a political agenda. I was there to spread friendship,” the 22-year-old New Delhi sociology student told a news conference. Chungtak was crowned Miss Tibet in 2006 in the northern Indian hilltop town of Dharamsala, home of the Tibetan government-in-exile and residence of 1989 Nobel peace laureate the Dalai Lama. In 2005, Miss Tibet Tashi Yangchen too was barred from the Malaysian pageant after Chinese officials complained that a woman who lives in India cannot represent a part of China.

Zen Housewife has a very cool post called “Being Good Friends” inspired by Ed Brown’s Tassajara Cooking. And Brad Warner takes another shot at Genpo’s Roshi’s Big Mind. What a dharma combat that would be. . . Brad would transform into King Ghidorah and knock down buildings. I think Genpo Roshi would just grow big and stately like Apache Chief. What’s the new Buddhist hot spot in the U.S.? Why, it’s Western Pennsylvania, of course (where the Pittsburgh Steelers might just need some dharmic mojo to defeat the unbeaten New England Patriots this weekend.) And from a while back, here’s a post on Maitreya (the coming Buddha) from the cool series Who’s Who in Buddhism from the Level 8th Buddhist. – Philip Ryan, Web Editor

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