December News

I’m promoting my friends’ work – Tony Nguyen (documentary filmmaker) and Goh Nakamura and Vienna Teng (both musicians).  So please read up on my latest work if you didn’t read the previous message, and scroll down to the bottom for more goodies!

Happy Holidays!  Thanks for staying with me and keeping abreast of the latest news and publications!  It’s been almost 6 months since the last newsletter.  I do my best not to flood your inbox.  We all get too many emails.  Hopefully this one brings you some joy and new understandings.
Published in Clinical Psychiatric News
An expose about Amazon’s workplace environment in the New York Times compelled me to write about workplace abuse for Clinical Psychiatric News. Emotional intelligence makes for good workplaces, but the “churn and burn” practices of some companies have a lot of fallout.  Some people thrive some of the time under pressure – but most of us don’t, in the long term.  Watching the Steve Jobs movies reminded me there’s a tough dynamic at work with the most ambitious and hard driving types, but these become ‘cautionary tales’ for society-at-large.  We are all called to leadership in some form.  What kind of leader are you?
AJ+ Video about Mental Health in minority communities
I was featured on Al Jazeera’s online station geared towards millennials.  The video has been viewed over 180,000 times so far!

If you’re not white, it’s harder to get mental health care
Psychology Today
I’ve had three “Essential Reads” in PT in the last few months!  These are picked out by the Editors and featured on the homepage and in topic areas.
Headquarters, What Headquarters?  Behind Pixar’s “Inside Out”  A look at the psychology and neurobiology behind Inside Out.
Slow is from the Heart Inspired by an encounter with a dance teacher in Cambodia.  Slowing down brings us peace, wisdom and love.
The Assault on the American Mind  A response to The Atlantic’s “The Coddling of the American Mind” which generally criticized student “sensitivity” to unconscious and conscious slights.   The Atlantic article highlighted “trigger warnings” that paralyze classroom discussion.  A recent NYT editorial by an African American law professor, Randall Kennedy, expressed concerns that “reformers harm themselves by nurturing an inflated sense of victimization.”   Clearly, we all should be sympathetic to student concerns, and there are serious issues of student safety.  But I think social media especially is entraining reflexive rather than reflective responses to situations.

Since my trip to Vietnam and Cambodia this spring, I’ve been thinking about and internalizing the concepts of nonduality, or as I like to think of it, empathic inclusion.  There are so many “splits” in the world, some with violent consequences.  I think it’s important to resolve these splits within our own minds – through kindness, compassion and understanding.  It is the task of our age to undermine division with inclusion.  There are certainly oppressive forces in the world, but instead of just ‘calling out’ those forces with anger, I think it’s important to “call in” with compassion.  “Harmonizing” can be oppressive, but a recognition and celebration of both diversity and unity is possible.
Earlier in the summer, there was a raging debate on PT.  Was “Anti-intellectualism killing America” or was “Self-Centeredness Killing America”?  As many of you know, I came down in the latter camp.  Of course, reason is critical, and it is important to understand the history of ideas – but I don’t think you can reason properly without getting outside the limits of your own perspectives.  Empathic inclusion helps us do that.  “The world is divided into those who are right”.  “You can be related or you can be right, you can be right or you can be happy.”  This is true for any relationship, from couples to countries.  If we begin with the conviction that we have to be related, then we realize our relatedness must inform all our values.  This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have boundaries; relationship and a sense of self requires boundaries.
Another phrase I’ve become fond of is “The opposite of suffering is belonging.”  That’s the message I hope to bring with my book, FACEBUDDHA, TRANSCENDENCE IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL NETWORKS.  More news on that soon!
May the Holiday season bring you relatedness, belonging, and happiness!


Ravi Chandra


THE FOURTH MESSENGER – a Buddhist musical!

I was amazed and inspired by Vienna Teng and Tanya Shaffer’s musical, an enlightenment story based on the Buddha’s life legend.  The music is wonderful – these tracks will add some catchy earworms to your morning workout and meditation sessions!  You can now hear all 31 tracks from “The Fourth Messenger” album on their bandcamp page here: Please go there, enjoy, and if you feel moved, purchase the album and book for yourself, your family and/or your friends! They’ve already gotten some great pre-release reviews, which have called the album “deeply fulfilling” with “a sense of timelessness” (Skope Magazine), and “boldly intelligent…layered with intimacy and excitement” (The Miews).   The album is available for download at

The Fourth Messenger on iTunes 


FRONTLINE and ProPublica team up to investigate a wave of terror that targeted Vietnamese-American journalists. Uncovering a trail that leads from American cities to jungles in Southeast Asia, FRONTLINE and ProPublica shine new light on a series of unsolved murders and attacks.

My friend, award-winning filmmaker Tony Nguyen, was involved in the production of this FRONTLINE documentary.  His first doc “Enforcing the Silence” explored the unsolved murder of Vietnamese American journalist Lam Duong in 1981.


PBS:  Inside the making of TERROR IN LITTLE SAIGON


My friend and favorite musician, Goh Nakamura, has a new collection!  If you haven’t heard his music before, I can’t recommend him more strongly.

Check out WORKS

Catch up on all of Goh’s music at


eBook released – to support domestic violence nonprofits – #dvchallenge

Front cover screenshot

1.  eBook and bound book now available, with proceeds to benefit domestic violence nonprofits – please read and share!

2.  Hyphen LitCrawl performance now on YouTube!


1.  eBook and bound book now available, with proceeds to benefit domestic violence nonprofits – please read and share!

“Asian American Anger – It’s a Thing!” explores anger in the context of domestic violence and misogyny in the Asian American community.  Readers have called the lead essay in the mini-volume (“Asian American Male Anger:  The Fast and the Furious”) “jarring”, “breathtaking”, and “important”.  It’s only 99 cents for the eBook – I hope you’ll find this affordable and useful to you as thinkers and community members.

I am not making any money on this – all proceeds will go to Narika and Maitri, two domestic violence nonprofits in the Bay Area, and other cultural organizations if enough money is earned.

I’ve only sold about a dozen copies so far in the first 5 days of availability – so I am depending on word of mouth and your kindness in purchasing and sharing the links to purchase the books.  I think you’ll find this a very powerful and stirring read.

Also included in the book is my essay on internet rage, “The Social Network is an IndigNation” – which is an excerpt from my book-in-progress about the psychology of social networks.  And – a dozen bonus poems about anger!

Here are the links:

Psychology Today Pacific Heart blogpost:  #dvchallenge: Let’s Get at the Roots of Domestic Violence!

Amazon, Kindle and Kindle app link  (You don’t need a Kindle to read this – you can download a free app to your desktop or smartphone.)

Createspace (preferred for physical bound book)

iBooks link (for iPad, iPhone and Mac)

Please share widely in your networks – and I would absolutely invite feedback on these essays.



2.  Hyphen LitCrawl performance now on YouTube!

I hope you enjoy this roughly 9 minute performance from Hyphen’s LitCrawl on October 18, 2014.  The individual poems are also on my YouTube channel, if you are so moved as to share any of them.

Litcrawl 2014

YouTube Channel

Happy October to you all!

Facebuddha manuscript complete!

I recently finished my book manuscript!  I’m now shopping it around to agents and publishers – wish me luck!

It’s called “Facebuddha:  Transcendence in the Age of Social Networks“, and covers the psychology of social networks and their effects on the self.  It’s unique and hopefully compelling in that it also has elements of memoir and travel, exploring relationships in Hanoi, Japan, and India before coming home to San Francisco’s Silicon Valley wonders.  Sign up for my newsletter at for the latest news – and please encourage your friends to do the same.  Already, readers have found it “quite impressive” and “pitch perfect”!

Indivisible at LitCrawl 2012

I’ll be performing in Phase 2 of LitCrawl, part of LitQuake 2012.  I’ll be joining other poets from the Indivisible Anthology of South Asian American Poetry, winner of a Special Recognition Award from the 2011 Northern California Book Critics.

Also performing will be poets Tanu Wakefield and Prapra Sharma, joining Editors Pireeni Sundaralingam, Summi Kaipa and Neela Banerjee.

Saturday, October 13, 2012
Phase 2 7:15-8:15 pm
Bissap Baobab
3372 19th Street, SF
For more details about LitQuake and other events, go to .
Hope to see you there!