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    ON GARDENING: The Birds of the Muses Paid Member

    THE BEES were living in the walls long before I heard them. It was Indian summer a few years ago when I discovered a small cleft along the seamline where our brick chimney pressed against the outer wall of the house. High overhead, scores of pollen-laden honeybees whizzed with industrious delight through this narrow fissure into the inner core of our home. As a meditator and gardener I have an immense respect for bees, grounded� More »
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    THUS HAVE I HEARD: A Universal Formula Paid Member

    ONE OF THE SIMPLEST yet most profound things attributed to the Buddha in the Pali canon is the general statement of interdependent origination: When there is this, there is that, When there is not this, there is not that. When this arises, that arises. When this ceases, that ceases. More »
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    ON LANGUAGE: The Dharma of Deconstruction Paid Member

    View the print version of this article in PDF format THE FUNDAMENTAL INSIGHT of what is known as the “linguistic turn” in twentieth-century Western thought is that language shapes our experience. Some of the most influential modern thinkers challenge our usual assumption that using language is merely a matter of attaching names to things that already exist in the world. In a very important sense, language creates the world as we know it. More »
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    MY VIEW: Not Our Bodies, Not Ourselves Paid Member

    SINCE MY SISTER began medical school last fall, she has spoken constantly about an obese female corpse she refers to as “my cadaver”: “She’s so fat, it’s hard to find the nerves and muscles. You have to do a lot of poking around.” Or, “When we first opened her up, there was still shit in her intestines. Can you believe that? She died two years ago!” Although I was amused (and occasionally disgusted) by my� More »
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    ON PARENTING: As If I Were Your Mother Paid Member

    MY SON WAS less than twenty-four hours old, and I knew he was going to die. The yellow cotton hat snuggled on his precious head, the brown handknit blanket securing his winging arms, he lay silently in the neonatal-ICU clear plastic crib. Veins no longer pricked, oxygen hood gone, lungs finally clear, he was healthy. Skye was coming home, yet I knew he would die. Some day. I had studied the face of mortality before,� More »
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    Digesting The Dharma Paid Member

    In my last column, I provided a brief history of the attempt to anthologize Buddhist texts, to reduce the teachings of Buddhism to a single volume. The organization of these anthologies was often telling, revealing the presuppositions and prejudices of the editors. Some were chronological, beginning with Pali texts (believed to be the earliest sources) and moved on to Indian Mahayana, then to China, and sometimes Tibet, and ended with some works of Japanese Zen.… More »