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    Alduous Huxley's Truth Beyond Tradition Paid Member

    Aldous Huxley is remembered today as an important novelist of the twentieth century, author of the now-classic Brave New World. But of his nearly fifty books, most were in fact works of nonfiction, and in these he addressed many of the ills of modern society: rampant population growth, environmental degradation, and socioeconomic inequalities, among other concerns. In his search for answers, Huxley drew deeply from Buddhist sources—and, like his close friend Alan Watts, became an early advocate of Buddhism in the West. But what about Buddhism appealed to Huxley? And how does his assessment of the tradition compare with that of Western Buddhists today? More »
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    Allan Bennett Paid Member

    In 1908, Allan Bennett, a British subject sailing from Burma, docked in London intending to found the first Theravada Buddhist monastic community in the West. His community never flourished, but Bennett, the second-ever British subject to be ordained a Theravada bhikkhu, made his mark on the religious landscape of England: he started a Buddhist mission, a journal—The Buddhist Review—and planted the seeds for sanghas that blossomed decades after his death in 1923. More »
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    Zen Master Sokei-an Paid Member

    At the turn of the century, the United States became home to its first Zen master, Sokei-an Shigetsu Sasaki. Born in 1882 to a successful Shinto scholar and his concubine, Sokei-an first came to America as a student of the Zen master Sokatsu Shaku in 1906. Except for two return visits to Japan, he remained in the United States for the rest of his life, maturing into an artist and teacher with a distinctively American creative spirit. More »
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    Return to Your Original State! Paid Member

    Teachers of Zen have a favorite saying, “Return to your original state!” To return to the original state means, in a word, “Go back home!” “Original state” signifies “original state of mind.” What is this original state of mind? Buddha spoke of the original state of mind, calling it avidya—original darkness. Of course Buddha did not say, “Return to your original darkness!” He said, “Emancipate yourself from original darkness! Come forth from original darkness to the enlightened state!” And he taught that this emancipation was to be attained by attaining Nirvana. More »
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    Anonymous Was a Woman—Again Paid Member

    IN THE WINTER 1992 issue of Tricycle, I reaffirmed one of the most cherished claims of American Buddhism. The first known translation from a Buddhist sutra into English, I wrote, was "The Preaching of Buddha," an excerpt from the Lotus Sutra which appeared in an 1844 edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transcendentalist quarterly The Dial—translator, Henry David Thoreau. I was following a long tradition of scholarship, but even as the piece went to press, I had one or two unanswered questions. Then a few weeks ago, I was telecommunicating on the Internet and came across a query by an editor of Thoreau's journals. More »
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    Keep Sweeping: A Ch'an Life in Rural Tennessee Paid Member

    If anyone in Monteagle, Tennessee, took notice of a “Chinaman” walking down the street in 1965, dressed like a coolie, they would have dismissed the implausibility with one of two explanations: He worked as a cook at the Holiday Inn, or maybe he owned the shirt laundry in Tullahoma. Ta Tsung was in fact a Ch’an Buddhist monk who, in his endeavor to live apart, bought a cottage in Monteagle with the intention of meditating, painting, and growing vegetables. More »