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    Heroes and Communities Paid Member

    IT IS TEMPTING, almost habitual, to view Gandhi through the prism of Western individualism, as a solitary leader who somehow lifted the entire Indian subcontinent on his shoulders and, David-like, took a stand against the Goliath of empires. But while there is no gainsaying Gandhi’s dedication and genius, if the approach to nonviolence he practiced had depended on heroism and charisma, his movement would have petered out into a cult of leadership instead of coming to define an approach to life that can speak to our concerns today. More »
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    The Baseball Diamond Sutra Paid Member

    THIS YEAR MARKS the centennial of the Parliament of World Religions; for the first time in America, clergy from non-theistic religions were invited to represent their traditions. Zen abbot Soyen Shaku (see "Ancestors") addressed the assembly in Chicago, having had his letter of acceptance written by his disciple, D. T. Suzuki. Also present was Dharmapala, the fiery leader of the Buddhist revival movement in what is now called Sri Lanka. The Archbishop of Canterbury was so offended by the placement of other religions on equal footing with Christianity that he denounced the Parliament and refused to come. Yet the task of extending religious pluralism in the United States beyond the confines of the prevailing Judeo-Christian traditions had begun in earnest. In terms of Buddhism, the Parliament was a major turning of the dharma wheel, setting in motion work which Tricycle continues today. More »
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    At the Crossroad Paid Member

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    Many is More Paid Member

    Following the failed coup in Russia a cartoon in a New York newspaper featured two people standing in front of the Kremlin. One was saying to the other, "If you miss the one-party system, go to America." As the cartoon implies, new political alliances threaten to recast the United States as, at best, a beleaguered advocate of ideological plurality. Let's hope that American Buddhism doesn't follow the national political trend, especially since diversity is as central to Buddhist history as it has been to the history of the United States. More »
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    What Color is Your Mind? Paid Member

    This issue's special section, Dharma, Diversity, and Race, suggests that little dialogue exists among Asian-American Buddhist communities, and between those communities and Americans new to Buddhism. Not coincidentally, in the very absence of dialogue lies the heart of the question: is the unfolding of Buddhism in this country evolving into something called "American Buddhism"; and if so, does the "American" part of that accurately represent the multicultural diversity of Buddhists in America, or is it simply another projection of the white majority? Multiculturalism in the United States exists in a context defined by two factors: actual white racism, and the idealized, constitutional promise of racial equality. This contradiction provides an axis around which America continually reinvents itself: witness, for example, a nation eager to know how "the race card" will be played in the O. J. Simpson trial. More »
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    Willy-Nilly Dharma Paid Member

    In Oliver Stone's new movie Heaven and Earth, Buddhism plays a major role in a Hollywood movie for the first time. (See interview with Oliver Stone in this issue.) Earlier, What's Love Got to Do with It offered a glimpse of Tina Turner's conversion to the Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist sect, and Bernardo Bertolucci's film Little Buddha is now scheduled for release in April. Rumors of related film projects include plans for Martin Scorsese to direct the dramatic story of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. With all this high-finance film interest, both television and the printed news media have stepped up their coverage of things Buddhist—and with more sympathy than what long-time Buddha-watchers in this country have come to expect. More »