Zen

  • Sex, Sin, and Zen Paid Member

    Buddhist blogs are abuzz with reviews of Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between, a new book by Brad Warner---author, Soto Zen priest, blogger, and punk rock bass guitarist. You'll have to stay tuned to the Winter 2010 issue of Tricycle for our thoughts on the book, but for now here's what's being said in the blogosphere about Warner's latest effort, which touches on everything from porn to prostitution to the Bodhisattva vow: Though she says that the tone of the book can be all over the place and takes issue with his critiques of Wikipedia and guided meditation, blogger NellaLou found value in Warner's personal stories. She writes: His personal anecdotes are somewhat engaging and he does have a certain warmth and way of expressing acceptance of even those things he is uncomfortable with or even tacitly disapproves of. So there’s not a lot of real pretentiousness or distancing from the reader. I like that he’s honest and seems to just write like himself and not try to be somebody else or particularly care who is impressed with him (except maybe the babes sometimes). So that’s kind of comfortable to read. It feels like a conversation one would have with their little brother sometimes. When he gets into the Dharma and it’s relationship to social aspects these are quite good. That would be my favorite parts of the book. His psychological and sociological explanations are not abstract and come across as pretty well grounded. I would like to see him explore those kinds of themes a little more in the future. And I’m glad he made the effort to try to address some very complex issues. The Dharma parts are quite engaging and for the most part fairly accurate. And a little more mature than the sex parts. Verdict Read it for the Dharma but not so much for specific sex advice. More »
  • Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Arahants Paid Member

    Who better than the Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi to discuss the competing Buddhist ideals of the arahant and the bodhisattva? Bhikkhu Bodhi has been trained in both the Mahayana and Theravada traditions and is one of the most respected and, um, thorough Buddhist scholars around. His paper "Arahants, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas" appears on Access to Insight. The introduction is reproduced below, but it's worth reading in full on ATI. Among other interesting points, he discusses what distinguishes the Buddha from other arahants, and describes the emergence of the Mahayana from a proto bodhisattva-yana. The arahant ideal and the bodhisattva ideal are often considered the respective guiding ideals of Theravāda Buddhism and Mahāyāna Buddhism. This assumption is not entirely correct, for the Theravāda tradition has absorbed the bodhisattva ideal into its framework and thus recognizes the validity of both arahantship and Buddhahood as objects of aspiration. It would therefore be more accurate to say that the arahant ideal and the bodhisattva ideal are the respective guiding ideals of Early Buddhism and Mahāyāna Buddhism. By "Early Buddhism" I do not mean the same thing as Theravāda Buddhism that exists in the countries of southern Asia. I mean the type of Buddhism embodied in the archaic Nikāyas of Theravāda Buddhism and in the corresponding texts of other schools of Indian Buddhism that did not survive the general destruction of Buddhism in India. It is important to recognize that these ideals, in the forms that they have come down to us, originate from different bodies of literature stemming from different periods in the historical development of Buddhism. If we don't take this fact into account and simply compare these two ideals as described in Buddhist canonical texts, we might assume that the two were originally expounded by the historical Buddha himself, and we might then suppose that the Buddha — living and teaching in the Ganges plain in the 5th century B.C. — offered his followers a choice between them, as if to say: "This is the arahant ideal, which has such and such features; and that is the bodhisattva ideal, which has such and such features. Choose whichever one you like." The Mahāyāna sūtras, such as the Mahāprajñā-pāramitā Sūtra and the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra (the Lotus Sūtra), give the impression that the Buddha did teach both ideals. Such sūtras, however, certainly are not archaic. To the contrary, they are relatively late attempts to schematize the different types of Buddhist practice that had evolved over a period of roughly four hundred years after the Buddha's parinirvāṇa. More »
  • Move over, Park 51, now the Buddhists want a temple! Paid Member

    I can't guess at how many Americans would support or oppose the building of a Buddhist temple in Walnut, California, but I do know that someone there in high places is against it. And the US government isn't too happy about it. The AP reports: LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Justice Department has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against the Southern California city of Walnut, claiming it unfairly denied a permit to a group seeking to build and run a Buddhist center. More »
  • Green China? It's complicated... Paid Member

    "China provides a free environment for architects. We're not impeded by the complicated regional planning and bureaucratic red tape. Most importantly, China has great craftsmen who can help me visualize my architectural concepts." That's how American architect David Greenberg sees it, whose work for the past 12 years in China has been heavily influenced by his Zen practice. Greenberg was introduced to Zen in Hawaii by a Chinese master, who also suggested he learn the Tao. A recent work of Greenberg's is a treehouse "eco resort," overlooking the South China Sea, at the Nanshan Buddhist Culture Zone, Sanya, Hainan province. Greenberg is no fan of the Western-style buildings springing up across Chinese cities like mushrooms. As he tells xinhuanet.com: More »
  • Gary Snyder Interview (Earth Day 2009) Paid Member

    Here is a short interview with Gary Snyder, conducted by Adam Phillips for Earth Day 2009. Snyder—Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Zen practitioner, and Beat legend—primarily discusses the environment. A small dose of the wisdom found in the interview: “A trail is only useful to get you to where you’re going to leave the trail.” Listen to Adam Phillips interview Gary Snyder here. For more Snyder, read his most recent Tricycle article, written with Nelson Foster, “The Fog of World War II.” More »
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    A message from Eido Shimano Paid Member

    We were sent a copy of the following message from Eido Shimano Roshi. It originally came from the office of the Zen Studies Society and was sent to Sangha members. We confirmed with ZSS that we would post it only with their approval. They gave it, and expressed the hope that it might reach readers who could not be contacted directly. September 7, 2010 Dear Friends, I would like to acknowledge the pain and unnecessary suffering you went through in your hearts due to my faults. I have a profound feeling of remorse for my actions. This August marked my 50th anniversary in the United States. During this half-century I have received so much from people the world over. Over time, I took your kindness for granted and arrogance grew in my heart. As a result, my sensitivity to feel the pain of others decreased. Now, as I reflect on the past, I realize how many people's feelings and trust in me were hurt by my words and deeds. More »