ancestors

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    Tea on the Dead Sea Paid Member

    From the early 1960s through the early 80s, Soen Nakagawa, who had been influential in the training of such early American Zen students as Philip Kapleau and Robert Aitken, began to come regularly to the States to lead sesshins, or sitting retreats, when his responsibilities as abbot of Ryutakuji Monastery in Japan would allow it. Soen Roshi, as his American students called him, was famed for his unconventional teaching methods, which were eccentric even by Zen standards. One often-reported trick was the time he placed a pumpkin on his sitting cushion in the interview room during sesshin. He then called participants in for private interviews and hid behind a screen, watching while the baffled students did their customary prostrations before the impassive gourd. More »
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    Lost Stories Paid Member

    My sangha chants a lineage of female ancestors, alternating day by day with our traditional lineage. When we began doing this a few years ago, it was like harvesting fruit from a very old tree. The seeds were planted when Mahapajapati became the first female Buddhist monk and leader of a thriving women’s monastic community in ancient India. From the beginning of my Soto Zen practice, I’ve known both male and female monks, priests and lay students, and have seen men and women holding equal ranks. In my own sangha, men and women serve in varying roles without gender distinction. More »
  • The Religion of Science Paid Member

    The Gospel of Buddha is a relatively small volume of passages culled from the Buddhist canon and arranged, like the biblical gospels, into “chapter and verse.” First published in 1894, by the turn of the century this collection was probably the single most popular Buddhist catechism in the world. By 1915 it was in its thirteenth English edition, with versions having appeared in Japanese, Chinese, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, and Urdu. Its broad acceptance among Asian Buddhist leaders of the time was unprecedented: the Zen Master Shaku Soyen wrote that the Gospel which was then being used as a reader at Tokyo Imperial University, served the needs of Japanese students of Buddhism better than did the Buddhist scriptures themselves. More »
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    Alexandra David-Néel Paid Member

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    The Bodhisattva of Rock Creek Cemetery Paid Member

    But we, who cannot fly the world, must seekTo live two separate lives: one, in the worldWhich we must ever seem to treat as real;The other in ourselves, behind a veilNot to be raised without disturbing both. —Henry Adams, 1891 In the northeastern quadrant of Washington, DC, there is an old cemetery named Rock Creek. The area surrounding it was once an affluent leafy suburb overlooking the often sweltering city, but the neighborhood that now presses at the cemetery’s iron fence is working-class. Behind that fence, for whatever it may be worth to the tenants, a genteel atmosphere endures. Rock Creek’s hundred rolling acres are covered with traditional burial works from the last three centuries - an impressive landscape of obelisks and angels, twining laurel, and weeping willow. More »