This Buddhist Life

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    An interview with Mike Giant Paid Member

    Profession: ArtistAge: 40Location: San Francisco, CAHow would you explain your artwork—what you do for a living and your street art background—to a bunch of Buddhists? Well, I’m a product of my generation. I grew up through the 80s and was drawn to the punk rock and hip-hop cultures simultaneously. And I threw myself in headfirst. A lot of those things were about personal expression, and also an anti-establishment attitude like, “We don’t need you, we have our own thing.” That’s the backbone of who I am to this day. More »
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    An interview with June Tanoue Paid Member

    Profession: Zen priest and hula instructor Age: 61 Location: Chicago More »
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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 »