Buddhist practice begins with mindfulness of the body
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    Authority and Exploitation Paid Member

    Robert Aitken Roshi: Someone once suggested that we have a kind of radical retreat at Koko An (our Zen center in Honolulu), with people taking turns being the roshi—the teacher. I think this was a misguided suggestion. Learning in a context of deepest inquiry, where self-deception is most likely to enter in, demands transference and trust. A student might not see the point of a particular idea or act, but if a trusted teacher presents it, the student is able to accept it provisionally and be encouraged to let it sink in. More »
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    Accidents & Calculations Paid Member

    Issan Dorsey, who died of AIDS two years ago in San Francisco at the Zen temple/hospice he had founded, was an unlikely bodhisattva. His journey had not taken him through a series of serene Asian monasteries but through American bars, clubs, back rooms, and communes. By the time he became the abbot of One Mountain Temple (also called the Hartford Street Zen Center), Dorsey had practiced Zen meditation only slightly longer than he had worked in show business—mostly on stage as a female impersonator. More »
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    Anti-abortion/Pro-choice Paid Member

    Everything important about life is is important about abortion. "The Great Matter of Life and Death"—as the Zen texts put it—haunts every nuance of the battles between men and women, rich and poor, fetal rights versus mothers' rights, or states' rights versus federal rights. Yet the abortion debate has become so politicized and polarized that both sides view inquiry as betrayal. Politics may promise yes-or no-answers, but abortion is a no-win situation which confronts humanity with its own greatest mysteries. More »
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    Winter Paid Member

    Night Skiing The girls and I wander out onto the marsh to go for a ski while the moon is still full. The clouds are gone and the night is cold. Due to some random sequence of the frost-thaw cycle—warm snow followed by repeated nights of intense cold and, who knows, perhaps even influenced by the solstice, the eclipse, and other rare phenomena—the snow out on the marsh has rearranged itself into a flat skiff of broad plates, each snowflake now recrystallized into a perfectly planar structure. The entire snowscape before us appears to have been converted into a land of fish scales, three feet deep, each one silver-blue in the light of the moon. More »
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    Body as Body Paid Member

     This vipassana practice is based on the Mahasatipatthana Sutta, the scripture that deals with the four foundations of mindfulness. We started with the first domain of mindfulness: paying attention to body sensations. As a way of beginning, we have people bring their attention to the breath and to walking. But really, if you think about it, is there such a thing as "the breath?" There are vibrations and pulsings and pullings; there are all kinds of sensations that make up this thing called "the breath," but there isn't any one thing that makes up "the breath." Neither is there any such thing in walking as "lifting" or "moving" or "placing" our feet. Those are names that we give to a very complex variety of body sensations. More »
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    Mind on the Run Paid Member

    The Buddha never joined a health club. He never pedaled furiously on a Lifecycle trying to shed body fat, worrying that his blood pressure was too high. No cardiologist ever advised him to lose those “extra” pounds and lower his cholesterol. These days, though, people are constantly bombarded by media messages about the body beautiful and the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle; so they join health clubs. Some of the 22 million Americans exercising in gyms every day grit their teeth and suffer through their workouts, and more than 50 percent of all new members drop out after just a few months. More »