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    ON GARDENING: Arranging Garbage Paid Member

    IT WAS ALMOST DARK when I came upon the bobcat, walking alone on a steep overgrown trail far above the Green Gulch valley. She had been dead for weeks, her black-rimmed lips pulled back in a snarl of protest, tiny soot flies scouring her empty eye sockets. Her belly was slit open and she lay, disemboweled, in her own dry blood. The acrid stench of death rose off her matted fur. I considered carrying the� More »
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    ON LOCATION: Tribute in Light Paid Member

    LIKE EVERY NEW YORKER who was living in the city on that cloudless day five years ago, I had been to other local memorials; in the fall of 2001, the visceral debris of aftermath made potent shrines. Standing in sick awe before the white-dust-coated hole at Ground Zero, or reading names on the heartbreaking “MISSING” posters, I remember feeling the relief of real contact, of collective concentration in the face of shock. In the intervening� More »
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    SANGHA SPOTLIGHT: Being Time Paid Member

    EVERY SUNDAY AFTERNOON, in a basement corner in one of America’s most infamous prisons, a transformation begins with the simple sweep of a broom. Here, on the rocky banks of the Hudson River, beneath Sing Sing Correctional Facility’s chapel auditorium, a small group of prisoners enter an angular, pale-yellow classroom and swiftly clear away the desks and chairs. In their place, the men set zabutons and zafus - meditation mats and cushions - in facing rows. Soon, incense smokes� More »
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    ON THE CUSHION: Strong and Silent Paid Member

    I just signed up for my first weeklong meditation retreat. I have a history of back pain and am a little scared of all that sitting. Is there anything I can do to prepare? WHEN I ATTENDED my first meditation retreat, I had the exact same issue. Within two days of sitting, my lower back began to hurt. I tried to sit ramrod straight and stretch on every break, but no amount of adjustment seemed to� More »
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    What Does Being a Buddhist Mean to You? Paid Member

    It’s okay to lie if it’s to save my life or someone I care for. Carol Ann Stockton Vocalist and environmental activist Poulsbo, Washington I’m human, I have mind and ego. And of course I have lied and do. And because I do, I practice. So we practice “no mind” to minimize harm and we follow the precepts as a reminder of our direction, of how to keep our way. Nancy Brown Guiding Teacher at New Haven Zen Center New Haven, Connecticut When do I lie? As soon as I start answering this question. More »
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    On Gardening: Gone To Seed Paid Member

    Upright, well-mannered gardens, with tidy beds of manicured lettuce corseted by tightly clipped boxwood hedges, make me itch. I have a naughty mind that wants to scratch rank pigwood seed between all neat and trim rows. Give me a wild garden any day. One of the most inspiring autumn gardens I ever saw was just such a wild patch growing in a deserted city lot in the heart of industrial West Berkeley. There, in the midst of upscale, gentrified businesses and a thumping lumberyard and sand factory, this forgotten garden dominated the landscape. More »