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    The Bodhi Tree Paid Member

    THE BODHI TREE The spot under the fig, or Bodhi, tree where the Buddha attained nirvana is a kind of geographical omphalos or axis mundi for Buddhists. Buddhism was conceived under the Bodhi tree, the only spot on earth, the texts tell us, that was perfectly stable.PETER MATTHIESSEN, 1978 More »
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    On the Road to Bodh Gaya Paid Member

    I-TSING, 671-695 C.E. More »
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    Visible & Invisible Paid Member

    MUCH INK HAS BEEN SPILLED in recent years over the question of what con­stitutes genuine "American Bud­dhism." ls it the Buddhism of recent European­ American converts, or the generations-old tradi­tion into which many Americans of Asian ances­try were born? ls it a matter primarily of ideas or of practice? ls it meditative, devotional, or both? Must one be a member of a specific organization to be counted as a Buddhist, or should "free­lancers" be included as well? In short, are there any criteria at all for defining ''American Bud­dhism," and precisely who should be included in the picture? More »
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    The Buddha's Robe Paid Member

    I AM SEWING MY FIRST RAKUSU—the rectangular bib-like garment that is worn by Zen Buddhists. It is formally conferred during jukai, the ceremo­ny of taking refuge in the Buddha and receiving the precepts. Unlike many people I know, I have never wanted a rakusu. I do have a narrow black doth band (a wagesa) that I received during my first jukai many years ago, but I keep it folded in a comer of my drawer—my sock drawer. Some­times I feel a pang of remorse that for so long l have allowed it to lie among my socks, socks that slide along the floor and gather dust balls and the smell of sweat and leather. But the truth is that hidden among my socks there are also a few family jewels: an amber bracelet from Poland, a black onyx crucifix that belonged to Great-Aunt Maria, my mother's moonstone bracelet. More »
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    Under One Umbrella Paid Member

    It is likely that few English-speaking admirers of the Dalai Lama recognize Thupten Jinpa Langri’s face, even though they may well attribute to him an almost revered status. We who attend the Dalai Lama’s public appearances know Jinpa, His Holiness’s translator and interpreter, mainly by his voice. His job is to be an invisible conduit, and he keeps a low profile. So it was an unusual event—and the first time I had heard him address his own thoughts to an audience—when he took center stage at the Kalachakra Initiation in Washington, DC, in 2011 to deliver a talk entitled “Under the Umbrella of Buddhism: Do Religion, Science, and Secularism All Fit?” Jinpa began apologetically. When he prepared his talk, he had understood he would be addressing an audience of people from Himalayan regions, like Tibetans and Mongolians. Instead, several hundred Westerners showed up. More »