This Buddhist Life

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    An interview with Vanessa Veselka Paid Member

    Profession: NovelistAge: 42Location: Portland, OregonHow did you get into Buddhism? I first heard of the Four Noble Truths in my early 20s from a boyfriend who used them to rationalize suffering. I thought it was a lousy philosophy aimed at keeping an economic caste system in place—Here, peon! Your misery is a natural state. Get used to it! Around that time, though, I got a copy of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind and tried to meditate. I hated the feeling of watching the drama slip away. After a few days, worried that I might be struck by enlightenment—obviously not a real danger for me—I stopped. I avoided Buddhism for years. More »
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    An Interview with Suresh Jindal Paid Member

    Profession: Film producer, former VP of the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ AssociationAge: 68Location: New Delhi, IndiaWhat was your childhood like? Did you identify as a Hindu? My father was a devout Jain practitioner, and my mother was Hindu, but she was basically agnostic; she didn’t practice anything at all. I was brought up in an independent India where there was a complete emphasis on secularism, especially at the elite schools I went to here in Delhi. Emphasis was more on science and technology and such. We were discouraged from being religious—like in the West, actually. So there were no rituals in the house, no chants, no brahmins coming in; we had no spiritual practices except for maybe some small puja on festival occasions like Diwali. More »
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    An Interview with Venerable Pannavati Karuna Paid Member

    Profession: Co-Abbot, Embracing Simplicity Hermitage; Founder of My PlaceAge: 60Location: Hendersonville, North CarolinaWhere did you grow up? I grew up in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding Maryland area.What was your religious upbringing? I was raised as a Baptist Christian. More »
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    An Interview with Dasho Pema Thinley Paid Member

    Profession: Vice Chancellor of the Royal University of BhutanAge: 60 Location: BhutanWhen did you become a Buddhist? That’s a difficult question. I was born into a Buddhist family in a Buddhist country. But as you get older you ask questions—What more is there? What’s there beyond? What is this life for? My interest in Buddhism increased after I turned 40, after listening to a recording of a talk that Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche gave in Paro College of Education in 1991. I didn’t quite believe in root gurus and all that at the time, but I found him engaging. I’ve received many teachings, including empowerment, from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in more recent years, and he has become one of my root gurus. More »
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    An Interview with Eric Ripert Paid Member

    Profession: French ChefAge: 45Location: New York City More »
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    An Interview with John Giorno Paid Member

    Profession: Poet Age : 73 Location: NYCWhat are you working on right now? At the moment I am just finishing a piece about Garcia Lorca.How do you view poetry? All art, and poetry being one, is wisdom. Pure wisdom arises in various forms.Vegetarian? No.All-time hero? My teacher, Dudjom Rinpoche.Do you practice within a particular lineage? Well, yes indeed, very much the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Dudjom Rinpoche and Longchen Nyingtik I feel very close to. More »