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    Coming to Practice Paid Member

    After my freshman year, inspired by Thoreau, I retreated to the woods of Vermont where I went on long walks, came alive to colors, dreamt out all my bad dreams, and wrote poetry. I had found a part of the way toward filling the pit of loneliness and anger that had dominated my life. When the cold weather hit, motivated by Herman Melville’s Typee and Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence, I set out from… More »
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    On Practice: Equality Paid Member

    JEFFREY HOPKINS talks about how “Equality” is the first step in cultivating compassion in this piece from the Summer 1999 issue. More »
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    Under The Lens: An American Zen Community In Crisis Paid Member

    Twenty years ago this winter, a few weeks short of my twenty-first birthday, my college boyfriend and I sat in a guest apartment at the Zen Center of Los Angeles and listened to a weeping American Zen Buddhist nun warn us that we were on the verge of single-handedly destroying Buddhism in the West. “The dharma is very young here. It’s fragile, like a new green shoot,” she said, tears splashing into her black-robed lap. “If… More »
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    Breathing with Yasutani Roshi Paid Member

    There are many good methods of concentration bequeathed to us by our predecessors in Zen. The easiest for beginners is counting incoming and outgoing breaths. The value of this particular exercise lies in the fact that all reasoning is excluded and the discriminative mind put at rest. Thus the waves of thought are stilled and a gradual one-pointedness of mind achieved. To start with, count both inhalations and exhalations. When you inhale concentrate on “one”;� More »
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    The Freelance Monotheist Paid Member

    An Interview With Karen ArmstrongKaren Armstrong is one of the most renowned religion scholars in the world today. Recognized for the lucidity of her prose and her extraordinary breadth of knowledge, she is the author of more than a dozen books, among them the acclaimed bestsellers A History of God, Islam, and Buddha. Born near Birmingham, England, in 1945, Armstrong was raised Roman Catholic, and entered a convent in her teens. After seven years, she left in personal crisis, feeling that she had failed her faith and that her faith had failed her. She embarked on an academic career, but her hopes were dashed when her dissertation was rejected. She took a position at a girl’s school, from which, after six years, she was “politely” asked to leave. Around this time she found out she had epilepsy. “My early life,” she has written, “was a complete catastrophe.”   More »
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    On The Cushion: Q & A with Michael Wenger Paid Member

    When comparing yourself with others, do you usually find that you compare favorably or unfavorably? If you compare favorably, do you feel proud? If you compare unfavorably, do you feel devastated? Either of these reactions will keep you from seeing things as they are. If you are feeling competitive, the real question is, Who is it who compares? Don’t repress this feeling or tell yourself how bad it is, but study it as a foolish trait for which you have some affection. � More »