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    Arthur Ashe, Bodhisattva? Paid Member

    Lately, [tennis great Arthur] Ashe’s widow has come to think of him as a Bodhisattva — 'a beautiful Buddhist term for a person who is dedicated to the ultimate welfare of other beings,' as Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe put it the other day. She considers the possibility that Arthur achieved Buddhahood, either during his 49 years or after his life was cut short in 1993 by AIDS from a blood transfusion. Hey, you never know. Read George Vecsey's piece here. More »
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    Images of the Buddha through 2 millennia Paid Member

    It wasn't until several centuries after he'd come and gone that  representations of the Buddha appeared. Until then, the the Awakened One was represented by his absence—footprints, an umbrella shading an empty throne. Once his image appeared, however, an art form flourished for nearly two millennia and continues to this day. At the new Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Gallery of Buddhist Sculpture at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, "47 masterworks, culled from the museum's renowned Asian collections, trace the Buddha's portrayal from the 2nd to 19th centuries, in places as diverse as India, Java and Japan," we read at Time.com. More »
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    Oh My God, the movie Paid Member

    This November director Peter Rodger will debut "Oh My God," a documentary film of his global quest for God. Filmed in 23 countries, from Guatemalan jungles to the mountains of Ladakh, Rodger's film includes interviews with Catholic Priests, Rabbis, Christian Fundamentalists, Hindu Swamis, Zen Masters, Muslim radicals, and Buddhist Lamas, to name a few, not to mention a host of high profile celebrities. More »
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    Monks R Us Paid Member

    Buddhist temples outside Japan's cities are struggling. Dwindling membership and an aging population have forced resident monks to head to the cities for weekend work to support their temples, officiating at funerals and weddings. A few hundred such monks, for instance, are registered with the Grand Religion Co. and work as "dispatch monks," taking on what amounts to temp work for clerics. In the case of Grand Religion, the agency takes a near 25% cut. Prices vary enough to confuse the public, who aren't clear on exactly what they should expect to pay for the monks' services, which can cost as little as 30,000 yen (about $320) and as much as 1.8 million yen (just over $19,000). According to Akihiko Yoshino, the head of one dispatch service, funerals can serve as an introduction to Buddhism. He charges a flat 84,000-yen fee (roughly $900) for his monks, though more if a monk from a specific Buddhist sect is requested. More »
  • Realization through one's own effort Paid Member

    Laypeople live in the realm of sensuality. They have families, money, and possessions, and are deeply involved in all sorts of activities. Yet sometimes they will gain insight and see dharma before monks and nuns do. Why is this? Well, why? Read Ajahn Chah's "Meeting the Dharma Alone" here. More »
  • Why Pema Chodron became a Buddhist Paid Member

    "I became a Buddhist because I hated my husband," Pema Chodron tells us with a laugh. I always like to hear how people came to the dharma and this YouTube video doesn't disappoint. It wasn't until she read about the "power of negativity"—now a chapter in Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's classic The Myth of Freedom—that Ani Pema began to see a way out—or through—the wreckage of her life. Take a watch, she tells us why she eventually became a nun, too. The clip has been up for quite a while (30,000 views) but if you haven't yet seen it (I hadn't), it's worth it. [Image: gampoabbey.org] More »