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    Buddha in 2001: Two New Versions of the Path Paid Member

    In two new books, psychiatrist Mark Epstein and dharma teacher Ken McLeod bring contemporary Western sensibilities to the life and enlightenment of the historical Buddha. With reference to Freudian theories of pleasure and desire, Mark Epstein focuses on a little-known story in which Siddhartha, emaciated after practicing extreme asceticism, remembers sitting under an rose-apple tree as a child. This memory triggers a reevaluation of his asceticism and the realization that the experience of pleasure does not preclude enlightenment. More »
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    Bonfire Paid Member

    I live in a dark wood whose icy blue shadows have long been cast across my heart. Rich almost unto excess, the Yaak Valley is filled with soft-shaped mountains that resemble lying-down men and women. Rich in its four distinct seasons, the valley spans the Montana—Idaho—British Columbia border. Its array of eccentric human characters are scattered through the forest, but the Yaak is richest of all in its diversity of life forms. It’s a place of anomalies and opposites, of paradoxes—or rather, what seem only at first to be paradoxes, but which really are each other’s complements of the whole. It is this richness—this fullness of opposites—that gives the valley such a feeling of completeness, a resonance that is palpable even to a visitor. More »
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    Eye on the Ball Paid Member

    It happens at least once every time I turn on the television and watch the Los Angeles Lakers play basketball. Their opponents may be younger, with a ragged, raw, desperate energy. Fans may be ringing cowbells, waving plastic wands, and booing, while the Lakers pass the ball fluidly among themselves. Amidst the movement, calm descends. The ball bounces, shuttles, and moves, and then—quicker than sight—Shaquille O’Neal or Kobe Bryant will leap and plunge it into the basket. More »
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    Instructions for Tea Paid Member

    (I) Bring a kettle of cold fresh water to boil. Scald teapotwith a dash of hot water. One slightly heaped teaspoon black or green leaf per cup:into your palm, then into the pot. Pour on water. With what’s left overheat up your drinking cups. Cover pot with a cozy. If you don’t have a cozy(say in the mountains), use sweater, jacket, oredge of a sleeping bag. Steep the requisite number of minutes.One brisk stir with a spoon, and pour through astrainer into the pre-heated cups. Milk in black tea is okay. Sugar or honeyif it’s your habit— More »
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    The Heartbeat Sutra Paid Member

    The first time I talked with “Dr. Chaos” about Buddhism was one twilit night a couple of years ago in a California January. We were sitting on the deck of a friend’s house in Big Sur, two hundred feet above the Pacific. It’s a place where you can both hear and see the waves break. As we listened and watched, the water stretching out like a vast mirror to the horizon, there, in glorious magenta light, the winter sun slowly set: metallic, then amber, then scarlet—one of those natural scenes so far beyond the viewer, so much grander and deeper, that a kind of vertigo swept over us. “You know, I have never watched a sunset before in my life, not to that final moment,” said Dr. Chaos as the darkness rose up out of the ocean and covered us. More »