ancestors

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    Freedom in the Midst of Action Paid Member

    The other day I was forced by a journalist to try to formulate my views on the main requirements of somebody who wishes to contribute to the development of peace and reason. I found no better formulation than this: “He must push his awareness to the utmost limit without losing his inner quiet, he must be able to see with the eyes of the others from within their personality without losing his own.”  Beyond obedience, its attention fixed    on the goal—freedom from fear. Beyond fear—openness. And beyond that—love.                 —Dag Hammarskjöld      More »
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    Zen Every Day Paid Member

    I met Joko Beck in early 1972 at a small sitting group in the home of Ray Jordan, a student of Nyogen Sensaki and Soen Nakagawa. Joko was 55 years old and I was 30. Since we both worked at the University of California, San Diego, we quickly fell into a pattern of meeting regularly with our sack lunches. We took long walks discussing the vagaries of Zen. As I often saw her do, Joko would stare intensely and put out her finger while exclaiming “This is not real.” She had recently had a “big” experience in a sesshin with Yasutani Roshi, and she kept telling me that “it was horrible.” Yet she was more determined than ever to deepen her understanding. More »
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    The Man who Saved Tibetan Buddhism Paid Member

    It is a daunting task, trying to capture a sublime being on the page. In fact, in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, if someone is to compose a namtar—a sacred biography—the writer must have certain enlightened qualities equal to that of his subject. This is not a namtar, and I have none of his qualities, but nonetheless I will make an attempt to describe E. Gene Smith of Ogden, Utah, a very great man. More »
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    No Mean Preacher Paid Member

    I step from my taxi onto the driveway of the Koko-an Zendo in Honolulu, three hours early for my interview with the eminent Zen master Robert Aitken. I had planned to use the time for extra research; instead, I’m hijacked by another visitor. Kobutsu Malone is a Zen priest, visiting from Maine. Portly, bald as a pink bowling ball, with wild white eyebrows that jut from his face like jagged tumbleweeds or lightning bolts, he wears green-brown Zen robes and steps slowly down the center’s lawn to meet me. Hands in a thoughtful posture behind his back, he resembles a medieval European monk, a character out of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. Taking him first as the sangha’s manager, through whom I’ve arranged the interview, I thank him for coming out to meet me and ask for a place to keep reading. Malone’s first words are a threat—namely, to chain me to the radiator so I won’t get into trouble. He pauses for the joke to sink in, erupting in a hoarse roar of laughter. More »
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    Remembering Aitken Roshi Paid Member

    In late summer of 1972, Robert Aitken was 55 and lived in Hawaii with his wife, Ann, at the Maui Zendo. He had taken a hotel room in Honolulu for the duration of the conferences of the Association for Humanistic Psychology and the Association for Transpersonal Psychology, where he was speaking as a leading Western Zen Buddhist.It was near the end of the Vietnam War. Robert—or Bob, as he liked to be called—and the other conference attendees, myself included, had been forced out of our original hotel because General Ky and Henry Kissinger were meeting there, and our group was considered a security risk. Some of us from the conference staged a die-in at the hotel, adorning ourselves with red paint and collapsing in the grand foyer. More »
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    Profiles: Great Simplicity Paid Member

    On Friday afternoons, in a lecture room in the northwest corner of Philosophy Hall, at Columbia University, a small, wiry, and very aged Japanese named Dr. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki regularly unwraps a shawlful of books in various ancient Oriental languages and, as he lovingly fingers and rubs them, delivers a lecture in an all but inaudible voice to a rapt and rather unusual-looking group of graduate students. On one wall of the room is a framed photograph of the American philosopher John Dewey, who, peering over his spectacles, appears to be viewing the scene with some misgivings, as well he might. For Dr. More »