Buddhist teachings on family life
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    Tommy's Corner Paid Member

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    The Dismay of Motherhood Paid Member

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    A Life Too Long Paid Member

    On an autumn day in 2007, while I was visiting from northern California, my mother made a request I dreaded and longed to fulfill. She’d just poured me a cup of tea from her Japanese teapot; beyond the kitchen window, two cardinals splashed in her birdbath in the weak Connecticut sunlight. Her white hair was gathered at the nape of her neck, and her voice was low. She put a hand on my arm. “Please help me get your father’s pacemaker turned off,” she said. I met her eyes, and my heart knocked.  More »
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    The Hidden Lamp Paid Member

    For most of the last 2,500 years, women have had to struggle mightily in order to practice Buddhism. In ancient China, Japan, and other Asian cultures, women were generally not allowed to ordain without the permission of male family members. They were kept home to be householders, slaves, laundresses, cooks, wives, and rearers of children. A few, determined to practice, even scarred their faces so they could enter a monastery without disturbing the monks with their beauty.  As a result, contemporary Buddhists all over the world practice in traditions where historical women’s voices are rare, and many of the teachings and practices have come down to us from a male point of view. This is certainly true in most of the familiar Zen stories and koans, like those in the famous Chinese koan collections: the Blue Cliff Record, The Gateless Barrier, and the Book of Serenity.  More »
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    First Cut Paid Member

    I In October of 1994 my brother John and I drove from New England to Iowa to revisit the farm town where we had grown up. I was thirty-eight years old, John was thirty-one, and our mother, who lived in the town and with whom we would be staying, was sixty-four. I did not like being thirty-eight. Thirty-seven had been much better and thirty-nine when it came would be much better. Here I am only talking about the look and sound of numbers and not about the events that came in these particular years. Forty-one suited me, forty-three did not, and forty-four, my age now, is if nothing else better than forty-three. More »
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    Mothering as Meditation Practice Paid Member

    For the first few weeks of my son Skye's life, he would only sleep if he could hear my heartbeat. From midnight to dawn he lay on my chest, his head tucked into the hollow of my throat, awakening every two hours to nurse. In the day, he'd nap in my arms as I rocked, a slides how of emotions—joy, exasperation, amusement, angst, astonishment—flickering across his dreaming face, as if he were rehearsing every expression he would need for the rest of his life. If I dared to set him in his bassinet, he'd wake up with a roar of outrage, red-faced and flailing. He cried if I tried to put him in a baby sling, frontpack, stroller, or car seat. He cried whenever I changed his diaper. And every evening from seven to nine, he cried for no apparent reason at all. More »