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    Moss Paid Member

    Every year from as far back as I can remember until I left home to go to college, I would wake up on three or four Sundays each winter to find my dad at war with moss. There were chemicals he could have bought to kill the moss with just a few sprays, but he was wary of them. In our theater of the war, moss stuck on the brickwork and cement of our front porch, and he did not want us kids or my mom to breathe in those chemicals or play in them. Like a true warrior, he would go out there with nothing more than a wire brush and a cushion to sit on and vigorously scrub the moss for the better part of a day. Every year he would try to mix up a safer version of moss killer, usually involving some bleach or vinegar, but none ever worked. More »
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    POETRY AS PATH: In the Spirit of Basho Paid Member

    For seventeenth-century haiku poet Basho, Zen and writing were inextricable. Here, four modern poets describe how Basho’s spirit continues to inspire their work, awakening them to a deeper language. More »
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    Faith in Awakening Paid Member

    THE BUDDHA NEVER PLACED unconditional demands on anyone’s faith. For people from a culture where the dominant religions do make such demands, this is one of Buddhism’s most attractive features. It’s especially appealing to those who—in reaction to the demands of organized religion—embrace the view of scientific empiricism that nothing deserves our trust unless it can be measured against physical data. In this light, the Buddha’s famous instructions to the Kalamas are often read as an invitation to believe, or not, whatever we like. More »
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    Down Home Dharma Paid Member

    Well ol' Buddha was a manAnd I'm sure that he meant well,But I pray for his disciplesLest they wind up in Hell. More »
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    Rearranging the Clouds Paid Member

    It’s been two weeks since I took a vow of silence and as far as I can tell, no one has noticed. When people come into the kitchen, I simply nod as they talk, mastering the art of “um,” that neutral little sound that expresses so much, reveals so little. I sense that my reputation as a good conversationalist increases daily. When I first went silent, I brought a small pad and pen with me into the kitchen at the retreat center. I kept fingering the pad and pen in my pocket, planning to write, “Silence.” Or maybe, “Silent Vow,” but I've never had to use either. More »
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    The True Human Paid Member

    “WHAT DO YOU THINK OF when you hear icon?” I ask at the dinner table a few days before my fifteen-year-old daughter and I visit Frederick Franck, a ninety-six-year-old Dutch-born artist who is the author of The Zen of Seeing and about thirty other books. “I think of Carl Icahn, the corporate raider,” says my husband, Jeff. “I think of a computer icon,” says Alexandra. “Nobody thinks of a religious icon,” I comment. “Do you mean like the Dalai Lama?” asks Alex. “A celebrity or someone who embodies particular qualities can be a kind of icon,” I say. “Carl Icahn could be considered a celebrity icon,” says my husband. “Plus, I have pictures of celebrities on my website, so technically they can also be computer icons,” adds Alex. More »