Living and practicing harmoniously with others is essential to Buddhist teachings
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    "Like Roaring Earth" Paid Member

    I was in Bhaktapur, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is one of the popular tourist attractions in Nepal. I had brought guests of mine from China to show them around. I have been traveling a lot recently, so I hear the roar of jet engines frequently. That’s exactly what it sounded like in the first few seconds of the earthquake: a roar, and all of the birds flew into the air at once. I thought, “Oh, there must be something flying next to us.” And then everything started to shake, and I knew it wasn’t that. More »
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    After the Future Paid Member

    A commonplace of Buddhist history holds that wherever the dharma goes—from Mongolia to Thailand, from Afghanistan to Vietnam—it adapts to the local scene in a spirit of accommodation. But there is another way to explain the dharma’s ability to take root in very different societies. At crucial turning points, Buddhism has arrived in the nick of time to save its hosts from cultural paralysis. A good example comes from the Tang dynasty, where for centuries Buddhism was confined to urban enclaves. Then a catastrophe, the An Lushan rebellion, forced many ordinary Chinese to rethink their fundamental values. Crisis alone, it’s important to see, wasn’t enough to generate the necessary change; the Chinese had to use new tools supplied from outside the cultural mainstream—that is, by the dharma. More »
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    Capitalism vs. the Climate Paid Member

    Everything changes. As Buddhists, we know this. But perhaps too often we’re content to let things be. In her latest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, the Canadian journalist and social activist Naomi Klein makes a compelling case for all of us—Buddhists and otherwise—to join arms and demand the changes we need to make before we reach the point of no return. For Klein, climate change is a symptom of an even bigger problem: global capitalism. Thus, healing the earth, she says, will also mean healing the wounds of slavery and colonialism to create a more racially and economically just world. More »
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    Flowers for the Dead Paid Member

    I gather flowers for the dead. I have been at this shady harvest for more than 30 years, training with the best: Martha deBarros from the Zen Hospice Project of San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC); Frank Ostaseski, cofounder of Zen Hospice and founder of the Metta Institute; and Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center’s Being With Dying program. We practice light and grave accord with the dead. Holding solemn ground at the threshold of the Great Matter, we are also intimate and joyful. More »
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    No Male, No Female Paid Member

    In the Agganna Sutta (Digha Nikaya 3.80–98), the Buddha explains the origins of the existing social order, describing it as a fall from a golden age in which bodiless beings are self-radiant and live on delight. This state, in which there is no duality whether in terms of matter, space, or time, is also nondual in terms of gender: “no male or female are known,” and beings (satta) are “called (or defined as) only beings.” As time passes, a substance appears and a greedy being tastes it (it is not explained why this particular being is greedy). As the being develops a liking for the substance, it develops craving (tanha), a clear reference to the second noble truth of the origin of suffering (dukkha) taught by the Buddha. Other beings follow suit and also develop craving. As they eat the substance, their self-radiance disappears, causing the appearance of the moon and sun and night and day, as well as the calendar and seasonal divisions. More »
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    Buddha Buzz Fall 2015 Paid Member

    Diplomacy Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to China bearing gifts—and Buddhist ones at that. In a visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Modi presented a Buddha statue and a replica casket full of relics. Optics trumped generosity, however, when the Indian government tweeted a picture of the items. The Buddha, clearly offended, shot back with 72 characters of his own: You should not praise yourself, calling attention to your good deeds. #IfOnlyHeWereOnTwitterPrayer to the People More »