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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. The state of original darkness and the state of enlightened Nirvana are one and the same. It is like looking at a bronze gong. From the bottom it appears to be a bell; from the top it seems to be a gong. In reality, however, it is only one gong. More »
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    Top Ten List Paid Member

    The recent spate of interest in Buddhism in magazines (like Time) and on television (like “The Oprah Winfrey Show”) inspired the students in my BS (for Buddhist Studies) 230: Introduction to Buddhism to compile a list of the ten most common misconceptions that Americans have about Buddhism. The students were the first to admit that they themselves held many of these very misconceptions just a few months ago. Now they know better. The list is provided below, with commentary: More »
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    On Gardening—A Prayer for the Forest Paid Member

    “Draw your chair close to the precipice and I’ll tell you a story.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald I recently returned from a pilgrimage into Headwaters Forest in Humboldt County in northern California, where eight of us buried an earth treasure vase in the heart of old growth redwoods. We went into this remote forest 275 miles north of Green Gulch Farm by foot, crossing the line onto barricaded private land and tracking a maze of muddy logging roads for hours to reach the Headwaters grove, high in the saddle of the Elk River drainage system. More »
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    The Science of Enlightenment Paid Member

    Meditative Medicine: The World Renaissance Has Arrived More »
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    DEAR ABBY DHARMA Paid Member

    All questions for Abby Dharma are subject to editing and will be published and answered anonymously. Questions may be addressed to Abby Dharma, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, 163 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011. I am searching for a place to practice in Wisconsin and have been asked for a donation or dues at every Buddhist center I have visited. This makes me wary, but is this just common protocol? More »
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    UnCommon Sense: The War on Words and Images Paid Member

    It’s that time when responsible citizens pinch their nostrils tightly, hold their collective breaths, and vote for the lesser of many unsavory evils. Most of us have listened to enough empty rhetoric in this presidential year to gag a maggot. But the real political battlegrounds are not so much at the national level as in underground skirmishes over - speaking of empty rhetoric - something called “family values” and various forms of censorship. The following are a few examples drawn from a recent issue of the quarterly national Campaign for Freedom of Expression. More »