History

As a 2,500-year old religion, Buddhism has a rich and diverse past
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    Who was Buddha? Paid Member

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    Buddhism Without Beliefs Paid Member

    IF YOU GO TO ASIA and visit a wat (Thailand) or gompa (Tibet), you will enter something that looks very much like an abbey, a church, or cathedral, being run by people who look like monks or priests, displaying objects that look like icons, enshrined in alcoves that look like chapels, revered by people who look like worshipers. If you talk to one of the people who look like monks, you will learn that he has a view of the world that seems very much like a belief system, revealed a long time ago by someone else who is revered like a god, after whose death saintly individuals have interpreted the revelations in ways like theology. There have been schisms and reforms, and these have given rise to institutions that are just like churches. Buddhism, it would seem, is a religion. More »
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    Truth or Consequences Paid Member

    IF THE ANCIENT CHINESE proverb has much relevance today, I would say that I am cursed by living in interesting times. Beginning zazen while wearing the uniform of a U.S. Marine thirty years ago, I began to question "authority"—not only the authority of the Marine Corps and ultimately of the U.S. government, but the authority of Zen teachers, and even my own authority, my own sponsorship of and participation in the growing war in Vietnam. A stateside friend sent me an essay by Albert Camus, "Neither Victims nor Executioners," from which I copied most of one paragraph in my notebook: More »
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    The Green Buddha Paid Member

    The Green BuddhaChristopher TitmussInsight Books: Totnes, UK, 1995.299 pp., $18.00 (paper). One might be surprised that the restless and fervent voice of Christopher Titmuss in The Green Buddha belongs to a former Buddhist monk and a world­renowned meditation teacher, as well as a Green activist. Titmuss' fundamental tenet, that "the root problem is a spiritual one," will get no argument from anyone who is looking deeply at the vast array of interconnected problems facing us and future generations, but the moral haughtiness of his tone can be exasperating. More »
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    The Merit of Becoming a Monk Paid Member

    THE BODHISATIVA NAGARJUNA [2nd-century Indian adept] asked himself, "If we follow even the [Buddhist] precepts for laymen we can be born in the celestial world, attain the way of Bodhisattvas, and realize enlightenment. Why, then, is there any need to follow the precepts for monks?" In answer to his own question he replied, "Although it is true that both laymen and monks can realize enlightenment, there is a difference in the relative difficulty each encounters. Because laymen have to make a living, it's difficult for them to devote themselves completely to Buddhist training. If they attempt to do so, their livelihood will be endangered, while if they do the opposite, they must necessarily neglect their practice of the Way. To attempt to do both at the same time is not an easy matter. More »
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    The Man-made Obstacle Paid Member