excerpt

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    From: Aging as a Spiritual Practice Paid Member

    Once, when I was about 12, my father came into my room holding a book. He was in his forties at the time. “I want to show you something,” he said. The book was an autobiography of the poet Robert Graves. On the front cover was a photograph of Graves as a young man: black-haired, handsome, and full of vitality and hope. My father turned the book over to show a photograph of the present-day Graves: hair white, face wrinkled, eyes shrouded in sorrow. “Look at this,” my father said, turning the book over and over, showing me the startling transformation of youth to old age and back again. “You can’t understand this,” he said. He dropped the book on my bed, and, just as suddenly as he had come into my room, he turned and left. More »
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    Roshi Meets Rhino Paid Member

    IT'S A COLD NIGHT, you've gotten up at 2 :45 A.M., rushed to the outhouse in your flapping robe. You slid your way across a sheet of ice to the zendo, the meditation hall. You spent painful and sleepy hours in that drafty building, legs tucked in as best as they tuck. Strained muscles smoldered, irritated nerves flamed. Frogs croaked in the pond behind the zendo, sounding like little old men discussing the same complaint forever. You got whacked by a grim-looking stick bearer, twice on each shoulder. He does it again on his way back to the altar. Finally Teacher's little bell called you out to the cabin, but another student hasn't finished sanzen, the daily confrontation, in there. You stand between buildings catching arctic sleet. There was a mouse sitting on your bare foot, warming itself. Renewed tinkling makes you move, makes the mouse slide off. You stumble inside the sanzen cabin, make your bows to the teacher. More »
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    Hell is Inevitable Paid Member

    In Japan, people will often refer to “the paradise of the Pure Land,” leading to the belief that paradise and the Pure Land are one and the same, but I don’t think this is the case. The Pure Land is not paradise. Rather, paradise and hell - its opposite - refer to this world in which we pass our daily lives. In Tannisho (Lamenting heresies), Shinran uttered a famous phrase: “Hell is inevitable” (jigoku wa ichijo). Many read this as�In Japan, people will often refer to “the paradise of the Pure Land,” leading to the belief that paradise and the Pure Land are one and the same, but I don’t think this is the case. More »
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    Taking Flight Paid Member

    How teenagers in an impoverished Parisian neighborhood discovered Buddhism and the courage to sustain hope. More »