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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 »
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    Washing Out Emptiness Paid Member

    After my mother-in-law's recent funeral, my husband Bob and his two sisters, Bonnie and Val, took her ashes to the bank of her favorite creek and sprinkled them in. They hiked back with ash-dusted hands. “I hate to wash,” said Val, rubbing her mother’s powdered body into her palm. “It’s Mom, you know?” I could see the dusty gray ash on her knuckles. “Were there any big pieces?” I asked. “A few chunks,” she answered, as she turned toward the sink. More »
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    Shakyamuni Buddha: A Life Retold Paid Member

    The first four episodes of “Wake Up” Jack Kerouac's previously unpublished life of the Buddha, recounted the story of Prince Siddhartha leaving his father's palace, taking up the homeless life, attaining enlightenment and choosing to delay his own entry into nirvana until all sentient beings are saved. Episode Five described the Buddha's subsequent journey to Benares, where he gave his first great sermon. This installment picks up the story after Shakyamuni has ordained the five ascetics as monks and formed the first sangha. The complete manuscript of“Wake Up”will appear in a volume entitled“Some of the Dharma�, due to be published by Viking Penguin in 1995.“Note�: Kerouac's original spellings and usage have been retained throughout.   More »