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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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    Greener Grass Paid Member

    The movies Kundun and Seven Years in Tibet will introduce millions of Westerners to the cultural and religious heritage of Tibet, as well as to the Chinese takeover. Indeed, the hope of both screenwriters Melissa Mathison and Becky Johnston is that their movies will catalyze a grass-roots movement capable of influencing the Clinton administration's policy toward China—specifically, that country's systematic annihilation of its neighbor. In the flurry of commentary left in the wake of Chinese President Jiang Zemin's state visit, there is nothing to suggest progress on that front—yet. To my ears, the least compromised—and most courageous—voice heard in the nation's capital during Jiang's visit was Richard Gere's. More »
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    After Apathy Paid Member

    YOGEN SENZAKl (see "Ancestors"), the first Zen teacher to take up residence in America, taught Zen at a time when there was almost no interest in it. And the challenge of forging a compatible marriage between Asian Buddhism and the Western ideal of social responsibility—the subject of this issue's special section—was not even on the horizon. In his residential hotel rooms in Los Angeles, Senzaki had his American students sit zazen on chairs, for he considered cross-legged meditation a most un-American activity. He died in 1958, just as the currents of Beat Zen were riding the crest into the explosive sixties. More »