The "Teaching of the Elders," rooted in the earliest complete teachings of the Buddha
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    It's Not Our Karma Paid Member

    THE SRI LANKAN VILLAGE where the Theravadin Buddhist nun P. G. Ranwala built her temple is in the upcountry, miles from any city. One-story mud-and-thatch houses painted pastel pink, blue, and green, and deeply ridged paddy fields carved into the mountainside below give the village a prosperous feeling, although the people here live on the edge of poverty. Before Ranwala came, the villagers waited weeks for monks to come from the city of Kandy to perform chanting ceremonies and other Buddhist rituals on their behalf. Most parents relied on weekly radio programs to provide religious education to their children. More »
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    Like a Mirage Paid Member

    Distorted perceptions are like a mirage. Deceived by a mirage, a deer runs quickly toward what it perceives as water. As he runs, he sees that the water-like mirage is still far ahead of him. So he keeps running toward it to drink. When he is even more tired and thirsty, he stops and looks back. Then he sees that he has gone past the water. When he runs back, he perceives that the water is ahead of him. So he runs back and forth until he is exhausted and falls to the ground. More »
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    The Power of Receiving Paid Member

    When I am given something, I sometimes feel indebtedness, which makes me uncomfortable. What is this discomfort in receiving? Is there a way to receive with grace and generosity?The practice of true generosity is rare; it is an exchange in which both giver and receiver are enriched. In the Tibetan tradition, the custom of exchanging ceremonial scarves, or khatas, perfectly evokes this spirit of giving and receiving freely. When you offer a scarf to someone, it is received with grace and immediately offered back to you, completing the circle. Today, however, the culture of giving and receiving is often burdened by a complex mix of social obligations and expectations. More »
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    Giving Full Circle Paid Member

    The Sanskrit word dana is often translated as “alms.” One of the paramitas, or “perfections,” on the Bodhisattva path, dana is traditionally understood as the full circle of giving, from lay supporters to the ordained sangha, in the form of material support, and back again to the laity, in the form of dharma teachings. More »
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    Dana Worksheet Paid Member

    Here are some questions to help you develop your practice of dana. Your answers will suggest what you might like to change—and what you might like to keep the same—about how you give and receive. Answer these questions now, and again in a month or two, and see how your responses differ. Then pick a few key areas on which to focus your practice. • In what ways have you given over the past few months, and to whom? • What do you find easiest or most enjoyable to give? • What is most difficult for you to give? • To whom is it easiest or most enjoyable for you to give? More »
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    Three Grapefruits Paid Member

    A few days before my family and I were leaving Japan in 1968 after a six-year sojourn, my friend from California came to visit and gave us three grapefruits from a carton that he had brought with him. Because of import restrictions, fruits from abroad, such as grapefruits, melons, and grapes, were a rarity and hence ridiculously expensive. A single grapefruit, for example, would cost several thousand yen, equivalent to twenty dollars at the exchange rate at that time. People bought these exotic, imported fruits primarily to give away as gifts on special occasions. More »