Mahayana

The bodhisattva path of seeking complete enlightenment for the sake of all beings
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    What’s in a Mantra? Paid Member

    SO YOU’RE SITTING there, reciting the Heart Sutra, either the long version or the short version. Perhaps you do so every day. It has been recited millions of times over the centuries, without the person reciting it necessarily paying much attention to the meaning (whatever that might mean). But today, let’s imagine that you do. After dutifully negating each of the major categories of Buddhist philosophy (“no eye constituent up to and including no mental consciousness constituent, no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance, no aging and death up to and including no extinction of aging and death. More »
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    The Dharma of Deconstruction Paid Member

    THE FUNDAMENTAL INSIGHT of what is known as the "linguistic turn" in twentieth-century Western thought is that language shapes our experience. Some of the most influential modern thinkers challenge our usual assumption that using language is merely a matter of attaching names to things that already exist in the world. In a very important sense, language creates the world as we know it. More »
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    Mothers of Liberation Paid Member

    THE RADIANT WISDOM-MOTHER Prajnaparamita, golden and serene, represents the transcendent understanding of reality that crowns the spiritual quest. The savioress Tara, sparkling emerald green, nurtures beings to the full flowering of joy and perfection. Vajrayogini, a red female Buddha, dances in a ring of yogic fire that consumes all negativity and illusion. In the Buddhist pantheon of India and the Himalayas, goddesses preside over childbirth, agriculture, prosperity, longevity, art, music, and learning. There are goddesses who specialize in protection from natural and supernatural dangers; others directly support practitioners in their quest for spiritual awakening. More »
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    Cave With a View Paid Member

    I sit in a pink plastic lawn chair in front of my borrowed meditation cave. The afternoon is perfect, a warm cedar-scented breeze sighing through the branches of the deodar cedars on the hill. Tiny birds chirp in the underbrush. My rosary drops onto my lap, my mantra recitation slurs to a halt. Past my bare toes is a gulf of bluish, haze-softened air. Far below, the sacred lake glints like dull-green jade. The high Himalayas are visible today, low and pale across the horizon. I’ve wanted to meditate in a cave ever since reading those first hyperbolic yoga books as a teenager. But I thought I’d be eating weeds, fighting off leopards and even a demon or two. Privation and loneliness would be the whole enlightening deal. I’d end up luminous and scrawny, wearing nothing but a diaper. More »
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    A Very Practical Joke Paid Member

    We are going to examine the different conclusions of Zen and Tantra. If we begin to discuss the two approaches, we will be lost. If we take a glimpse at the conclusions, we might have something more concrete. The reason is that all of us are more or less thoroughly involved in, or at least interested in, the practice of meditation. More »
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    Entering the Lotus Paid Member

    ALTHOUGH I WOULD NOT have described it as such at the time, looking back, I'd say that my first decade or so of Zen practice was focused on self-improvement, especially on discipline. I think I learned a lot, but most of what I learned centered on me—my strengths, my weaknesses, that sort of thing. During this time, I spent three years in monastic training at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, and when I returned, I felt strangely adrift. I'd spent a lot of time examining and working on personal matters, but I was not particularly happy and in fact felt quite disengaged from my life. Something seemed to be missing from my practice. I began to wonder, Well, what now? More »