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    The Formless Field of Benefaction Paid Member

    There was a time when the Heart Sutra evoked associations with Asian monastic rituals, and not Florida hospitals; and when "the great matter of life and death," as the Zen tradition puts it, did not apply to the American abortion debate; and when running an AIDS hospice may have been considered too secular for Buddhist priests; and when Buddhist priests felt obliged to deny their sexuality, all the more so if it was homosexual. More »
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    Mountains' Walking Paid Member

    UNLIKE the media staples of sex, money, and power, the more we read about environmentalism, the less inclined we are to read more. And yet, there are the facts. Facts and more facts. One's genuine interest in the work of planetary healing could be killed off by facts alone. So pervasive is this dilemma that it questions the value of information itself. 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 (p. 65) and Becky Johnston (p. 75) 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 »
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    The Proof is in the Practice Paid Member

    View the print version of this article in PDF format In recent months, proponents of “intelligent design” have enjoyed remarkable success in pitching to American school boards what amounts to nothing less than stealth creationism. By arguing that this essentially religious notion rises to the level of scientific theory, its adherents have created the false impression that scientists themselves are taking part in the debate. They aren't. The only real debate taking place is whether intelligent design should be taught in public schools; scientists, by and large, have long since dismissed the theory's empirical merit. More »
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    Evidence Of Things Not Seen Paid Member

    In childhood encounters with houses of worship, I never got past the front doors. Many Saturdays I waited outside a shul in Coney Island with my father and sister for my grandmother. She emerged in a crowd of old people in dark clothes and no one spoke English. Then we all went to the boardwalk, where my sister and I played Skeeball and ate hot dogs at Nathan's. Sunday mornings, I often waited impatiently outside Epiphany Church for the kids on my block in downtown Manhattan to reenter our common world of the street. I never went into Epiphany Church, and I never entered my grandmother's temple. More »