Martin Luther + Facebook = Facebuddha

Text of event on October 31, 2017:
(Video on YouTube and Facebook)

500 years ago today, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church, protesting the corruption of papal indulgences, and thus birthing the Protestant reformation. Today, I’m posting my book, Facebuddha: Transcendence in the Age of Social Networks, to the door of our social media church to protest what social media is doing to our minds and hearts, and calling for a return to the values of compassion, relationship and community. Social media, and technology, have become a new religion, with evangelists and disciples. We beg for our friends’ indulgences with our posts, but our relationships have become monetized for the profit of the few. We may hope for transcendence through our online communion, but in fact we are taken farther from our hearts. Social media surfaces the question of belonging, but does not solve it. Depression, anxiety, loneliness and suicidality are increased by our time on social media. Social media are a platform for cyberbullying and trolling, even by our president, who sets a bad example but also epitomizes the worst possibilities of online interactions, rampaging across our boundaries of mind and spirit, agonizing and polarizing the nation, causing us to lose sight of our common humanity.

Social media are our auxiliary amygdalae, priming us for fight-or-flight responses to the cataclysmic barrage of traumatic events, fake news, and threats to our identities. The social network is a race to the bottom of our brainstems. We think we’ll heal ourselves online, but all our communal wounds (of racism, sexism and homophobia, for example) are empathic failures, failures of love and compassion. Healing comes through real world presence and relationship. By making relationship superficial, we deepen our divide. Society has become more polarized and mistrustful. Social media is ultimately a boon not to transcendence of the self-centered ego, but boosts self-centeredness itself. Our attentions and priorities are narrowed. Our curiosity, openness, ability to consider differing opinions, and ability to reason calmly suffer. The most triggering and inflammatory posts are most likely to get our attention and go viral. Facebuddha is my spiritual memoir, cultural analysis and odyssey across this alluring technological sea, and home to the heart, where I find a measure of transcendence through the cultivation of relationship and love, mindfulness and compassion.

Social media and technology are not just media. They are a new religion. Facebook is bigger than the Catholic Church. Our Tweets and Posts are our Call to Prayers. We thumb our Phones like Rosaries. Food Porn is our Communion and our Offering to the Cloud. The Status Update is our Sermon on the Mount. The Selfie is our personal Anointment and Beatification. Facebook Messenger is our Messiah. The Apple Store is our modern Cathedral, our Silicon Sanctuary. New Emoji are released to the fanfare of a new Pope. Where is this religion taking us?

Read Facebuddha, and find out. Cultivate a path to transcendence, peace and healing, and beyond suffering.

More details, purchase links and an animated book trailer at

10/10/17 – Facebuddha meets the world!

Facebuddha launched officially on October 10th, 2017. I purposely chose Thelonious Monk’s birthday – for reasons that will become apparent when you get to the end of my book!

Life is jazz – help me improvise and create buzz!

“The only instruction is kindness.” Ravi Chandra celebrates the publication of Facebuddha: Transcendence in the Age of Social Networks! The animated book trailer is up on Facebook and YouTube – please watch and share! Facebuddha is available on KindleiBooksNook and Kobo with hardcover now available at Amazon and B&N. CAAM members are invited to use discount code SUPERFAN for $5 off a hardcover copy of the book at Ravi’s Facebuddha launch events on October 23rd and 28th, the first with a conversation with F.B. Steele, M.D., former Executive Director of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. On Wednesday, November 8th at 7:30 pm, Ravi will be in conversation with journalist Bernice Yeung at Booksmith’s Bindery. Five years in the making, Facebuddha is a rich Asian American memoir, a state-of-the-art exploration of psychological research about social media, and an engaging introduction to Buddhism. Tamlyn Tomita says Facebuddha is “a very personal, often funny, warmly intelligent, thoughtful and heartfelt journey to transcendence!” Other reviewers call it “inspiring,” “magnificent,” “breathtakingly personal,” and “an invitation to depth and personal growth.” Ravi is depending on word-of-mouth, so please share, and read this great book!

Facebuddha Book Launch

FACEBUDDHA book launch
with reading and a conversation with F.B. Steele, M.D.
Monday, October 23rd
7 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm)
Manilatown Heritage Foundation
868 Kearny Street, San Francisco

Dear Friends,

Most of you signed onto this list in anticipation of Facebuddha: Transcendence in the Age of Social NetworksWell, it’s almost here! The book is in the final stages of interior design, and will be ready to purchase by mid-October. (Check out my cool new website by clicking on the link!)

In celebration of the publication of my book, which involved at least 2500 hours of writing, editing, thinking and research, I’m hosting a book launch event. Please come, and tell your friends! I’m depending on word of mouth to spread news about my book. I’ll be launching my book trailer in late September as soon as the book is available for pre-order as well. You get a copy of the HARDCOVER BOOK and also appetizers and refreshments with your ticket purchase! I know $35 is a lot, but think of it as a Kickstarter to help defray the direct costs of the book.  If you can’t make it on the 23rd, I’m hosting an Open House on Saturday, October 21 at my office (1734 Fillmore) where you can pick up a copy of the book and hang out. (See Eventbrite page for details.)

I will be reading from my book, followed by a conversation with F.B. Steele, M.D., psychiatrist and teacher and former Executive Director of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. Rick (as he’s known to many of us) wrote this about Facebuddha:

Facebuddha is magnificent, a breathtakingly personal work that combines memoir, media commentary, Buddhist practicum and depth psychology. Like Martin Luther’s theses, these chapters are nailed on the door of the Cathedral of Technology asking us to look beyond our screens by way of reforming contemporary indulgences. As we do so our world moves beneath the surface sheen and towards the interior. Ravi Chandra’s effervescent prose locates compassion, in his own soul and in the soul of humanity, in real world relationships endangered by modernity.”