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    Practicing Politics Paid Member

    Whenever we've gone political, a good number of our readers have gone ballistic. Letters pour in exhorting us to stay above the fray. Politics, some would have us think, is off-limits to Buddhists. Just the same, when West Coast Editor Anne Cushman proposed a special section on politics this election year, I braced myself for blowback and gave her the green light. And why not? Electoral politics, fraught with partisanship and dissent, are as much an opportunity to cultivate wisdom and compassion as any other aspect of life in the West - maybe even more so. After all, how many of us keep our heads in discussions about the upcoming elections? How many of us can bring our practice into our political lives, deepening our values rather than abandoning them at the slightest provocation from the opposition? More »
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    Lightening Up Paid Member

    Many years ago I sat in a café reading a college textbook on Buddhism. An elderly woman at the next table had been eyeing me curiously and seemed to have something to say. I looked over at her several times, tacitly inviting her to speak, but she remained silent. Had she noticed the title of my book? The café was known for its eccentrics, and in time I began to imagine that she was a convert Buddhist who’d traveled the far corners of Asia and was primed to share with me at the slightest prod the great treasures of the East. But no sooner had I returned to my book than she leaned toward my table to remark rather irritably, “Otherworldly chants and begging bowls—and all that talk of suffering! I find it terribly depressing.” More »
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    Platform Sutra 1992 Paid Member

    As we go to press with our first anniversary issue, our late-night efforts have been interspersed with televised reports from the Democratic Convention at Madison Square Garden, just ten blocks from our office. The last four-day event at the same location that vied for our attention in the midst of a deadline was the Kalachakra, the Tibetan initiation, presided over by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. That two such different dramas—one epitomizing the spiritual kingdom on earth, the other the ascent of secular power—could inhabit the same space may seem coincidental. Yet, according to Buddhist teachings there are no coincidences. More »
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    A Little Summer Fun Paid Member

    Between the fundamentalists and the strict secularists, there's a sane middle.At the end of March, a striking tableau appeared on the front page of the New York Times. Religious leaders representing the Abrahamic faiths had gathered in Jerusalem in common purpose. The six men stood before a long table littered with what looked to be the remains of a hastily planned news conference: water bottles, a few microphones, scattered papers, meager floral arrangements. Imposing in their hats and robes, carrying with them all of the gravitas of their respective traditions, these pillars of orthodoxy seemed nevertheless relaxed and friendly, turning toward one another while chatting informally, almost conspiratorially. More »