All of our interpersonal relationships are a crucible for Buddhist practice
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    Life's Hidden Support Paid Member

    The author and his father, Nathan Cooper, at the latter’s 75th birthday celebration in 1996. In the eyes of many, the entirety of Buddhist virtue is found through meditation. This is a much contested viewpoint, but whether or not one is of the opinion that the whole of the dharma is made available through meditation, it certainly does not follow that meditation is the only way the dharma is made available. More »
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    The Joy of No Sex Paid Member

    I won’t mince words. I’m celibate. And it’s because of the dharma. I’m not sure why writing that feels so exhibitionistic, so confessional. That the statement is extremely personal goes without saying. I’ve never sought to discuss all the sex I’m not having (as a friend likes to joke) publicly. But in the time I’ve been a student of Buddhism, well over half my life, it’s the one detail of my practice that ever made anyone balk, or that got treated as a problematic behavior. If the subject of my nonexistent love life comes up, I often hear from friends or colleagues, including some Buddhist ones, that I’m probably still shaken by the demise of my marriage (seven years ago), that I’ll change my mind, that I don’t know what irresistible liaison the future could bring, that I’m squelching my real feelings. More »
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    The Tie That Need Not Bind Paid Member

    I am so filled with thirst to be involved with people that there is no room in me for judging whether a person is good or evil, beautiful or ugly, right or wrong. This is not the result of some concept such as “one lives to love and be loved.” Any concept, faith, or “ism” cannot separate me from other people. My spirit shines with the heart/mind of embracing all beings. Without logic or argument, I only want to embrace everyone. My work of spreading the dharma is nothing but the expression of this heart/mind. —Haya Akegarasu (1877–1954) More »
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    Four Simple Tips for Living a Buddhist Life Paid Member

    1. Gather MeritWhatever the circumstance may be, there is a difference between people who gather merit (or positivity) and those who do not. What do I mean by gathering merit? First, it is to be able to cultivate compassion; to have an altruistic motivation and to do things to benefit others. It is to help people in an appropriate way, such as giving advice, and likewise to be generous and disciplined and to develop patience—to develop these kinds of qualities and do things with a pure, sincere wish to help. More »
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    Simple Paid Member

    God's joy, wrote Rumi,
moves from unmarked box to unmarked box. I remember my sister’s husband,
 after her stroke, complaining
 "Liz is a box. It says
 on the outside Liz, but she’s not there, not the Liz I married." "Is she simple," our daughter wondered, noting how the sheer
weight of loss
 had rendered my sister speechless. But I have to confess, as I watch your memory fade—
grief and the rest of it aside—
I’m also curious: What is the self? What of the self, or the no-self, outstays loss after loss? 
I watch the wind 
fill with leaves, red and gold,
 as the tree that was once
 a summery billow
thins to an outline. A friend
 told of a woman he knew 
with dementia. "And who are you," someone asked her pointedly,
 and she replied, I watch.
 How is it for you?" our son 
got up his courage and asked you, More »
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    Manchu Palaces Paid Member

    Machu PalacesJeanne LarsenHenry Holt and Company,Inc.:New York,1996342 pp., $25.00 (hardcover) In China during the Qing dynasty, when hard-riding warriors from Manchuria ruled the vast lands "between the passes," Beijing's new gentry altered the rules of architecture. The Manchu lords built rambling compounds with highly ornamented ritual halls and bed­chambers facing onto courtyards perfumed by fruit trees, all hidden from the squalid streets by high walls. Over generations, new structures rose to meet their needs—a summer house set aside for an infant male heir, or a walled garden, evocative of the hilly south­land, built to cheer a homesick concubine—until brick and mortar came to embody complex genealogy. More »