Relationships

All of our interpersonal relationships are a crucible for Buddhist practice
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    Jealousy & Envy Paid Member

    Jealousy & Envy: Table of Contents More »
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    My Father's True Nature Paid Member

    Dad’s on the left. My father was in the army of occupation in Japan from 1946 to 1947. The only reason I knew this was because he kept his green fatigue jacket hanging in the closet with its 8th Cavalry insignia and private’s stripe. I’d take it down from time to time and put it on, but it was like trying to wear a tent (still would be; he was a half-foot taller than me). He never said anything about those years. It felt to me like a forbidden topic, as if something shameful had happened there, as it had for so many veterans. But he was not a combat soldier, and he spent most of his time in Japan on one base or another (first in Tokyo, then near Mount Fuji) lying in his “sack.” So it wasn’t silence due to PTSD. More »
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    Shining a Light Paid Member

    The Buddha offers more than a dozen convincing arguments against racism in a conversation with the brahmins of his day who saw themselves as superior to others. These arguments focus on the lack of any real biological or psychological distinction between people of different castes, and point to social convention as the more obvious source of prejudice. You can read about this in the Assalayana Sutta (Middle Length Discourse 93), but most people these days hardly need convincing of something so evident. More »
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    What We're Made Of Paid Member

    Amid the beeping and prodding all around me, two things became clear: I was running on hospital basement mochas and Jon Kabat-Zinn. My husband was in the Shock Trauma ICU of the University of Maryland Medical Center, recovering from fibula flap jaw reconstruction surgery for a rare aggressive noncancerous tumor called an ameloblastoma. It took a team of four surgeons ten hours to remove most of the fibula bone from his leg, shave it, shape it, and then place it in his face with a bike-chain-like titanium rod to replace the six inches of excised jaw bone where the tumor had been. More »
  • The Whole of the Spiritual Life Paid Member

    Venerable Thubten Chodron (left) and Ayya Tathaaloka (right) speak at Sravasti Abbey in Newport, Washington. In the popular imagination the Buddhist monastic is solitary. Hours spent studying, chanting, and meditating leave scant time for that most trying yet rewarding of human pursuits: friendship. Or so the notion goes.  In our far-ranging conversation, the nuns Venerable Thubten Chodron and Ayya Tathaaloka roundly dispel this prevailing conception. Restoring spiritual friendship (in Pali, kalyanamittata) to its rightful place as a central feature of both lay and monastic practice, they encourage aspirants to seek out deep relationships as a crucial site of transformation.  More »
  • A Big Gay History of Same-sex Marriage in the Sangha Paid Member

    Buddhist same-sex marriage was born in the USA. That’s a little known but significant fact to reflect on now, just after the Supreme Court has declared legal marriage equality throughout the country. Appropriately enough, it all started in San Francisco, and was conceived as an act of love, not activism. The first known Buddhist same-sex marriages took place in the early 1970s, at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. Founded in 1899, it’s the oldest surviving temple in the mainland United States. It’s also part of the oldest Buddhist organization outside Hawaii: the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA), part of the Shin tradition of Pure Land Buddhism. More »