Arts & Culture

The growing influence of Buddhist artistic expression in contemporary culture
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    A Flash of Insight Paid Member

    Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women Translated by Charles HalliseyHarvard University Press, 2015336 pp.;$29.95 (Cloth)  More »
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    A Quiet Subversion Paid Member

    Let me start by saying that I am not some sort of all-star recluse. I live in a cramped apartment with four other roommates, one of whom is my girlfriend, in a busy section of San Francisco, the most tech-crazed, screen-dazed, app-happy city in the world. I have a laptop that I use five or six days a week. I have several episodes of Seinfeld loosely memorized. I have a bank account and a library card. I even have a habit of feeding the neighbor’s cat little flakes of tuna from time to time. More »
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    Keely Garfield Paid Member

    Keely Garfield is a dancer and choreographer whose dances are a lot like life itself, with unexpected moments of strange, emotional beauty, abrupt transitions, awkward interactions, snippets of music, and lots of costume changes. They do not look like ballet (not at all, though she does use some ballet conventions, if only to puncture them); to her credit, her dances don’t look like anyone’s work but her own. Her work has never fit neatly into a category: it is postmodern dance, but it’s driven by music and emotions, not just concepts and ideas. She is not loyal to any predecessor, role model, or dance style, and each of her works explores new territory. The dances are not easily described because they contain and manipulate so many influences, from vaudeville comedy routines to popular music and hip-hop. More »
  • On the Voices in Your Head Paid Member

    The ads for Disney-Pixar’s new animated film, Inside Out, invite you to “meet the little voices inside your head.” You meet them, as it turns out, as color-coded little avatars of Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear, jostling one another to work the buttons and levers of the personality’s control panel in—ahem—Headquarters. The film is visually stunning, consistently hilarious, and often moving. But does it jibe with the experience of those of us who sit down on cushions and meet the little voices in our heads every day? How consistent is the film with the insights of Buddhadharma? More »
  • Incense Thrown on the Buddha Paid Member

    The influence of Zen Master Ikkyu (1394–1481) permeates the full field of medieval Japanese aesthetics. Though best known as a poet, he was central to the shaping and reshaping of practices in calligraphy, Noh theater, tea ceremony, and rock gardening, all of which now define Japan's sense of its cultural tradition.  More »
  • A Raucous Silence Paid Member

    There’s one on every meditation retreat: the roommate who crinkles potato chip wrappers all night, keeping you awake; the meditator on the next cushion who squirms nonstop; the know-it-all who flaunts his “enlightenment.” If this sounds familiar, be prepared to laugh uproariously in recognition. If it doesn’t—well, watch and learn. More »