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    The Vision Cow Paid Member

    The traditional series of ten ox-herding pictures depict the spiritual journey from ordinary life through realization of emptiness, and the return to the everyday. The Vision Cow appeared one day on the way home from Drake’s Beach and became the basis for a modern updating of the ancient paradigm: a cow realizes its true nature and is saved from all suffering, benefiting all beings. Here are some notes on the series: 1 The Ordinary Life of Cows   Grazing, lazing, plenty of grass and lots of space. What’s not to like? Each is a chosen one. Who says there is no pleasure here? 2 Cow Regimentation   More »
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    Clouds and Water: The Monastic Imperative Paid Member

    It has been said that without monasticism there is no Buddhism. When the first Sangha began to grow around the Buddha there was, of course, no distinctly “Buddhist” form of monastic practice. The history of the Buddhist monastic conventions begins with Shakyamuni’s modifications of the matrix provided by Indian monasticism. The changes he made in the models he received reflected his appreciation of his students’ needs of as well as the realities of his culture… More »
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    Friends of the Western Buddhist Order: Friends, Foes, and Files Paid Member

    It’s Tuesday night in Moseley, a suburb of Birmingham, in the heart of England. People are streaming into a large white house, a former synagogue, now the Birmingham Buddhist Centre. The shrine room and its gallery are packed: A crowd of 250 have come to hear Sangharakshita speak. A small academic figure, gray-haired, in gray suit and glasses, he takes up his position behind a lectern. The talk, lasting nearly two hours, is about Atisha, the 10th-century Indian adept who helped bring Buddhism to Tibet. Here and there the speaker offers a sprig of wisdom about how to apply the tale to one’s own life. More »
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    The Essence of Absence Paid Member

    Joel Leonard is afraid he may be coming down with a cold. As we walk along Copenhagen’s lakeshore, the February winds have caused his nose to run. His adopted city, Joel has written, smells to him of “Baltic salt, cold mud, broken reeds on the lakes’ surfaces, and damp woolen coats.” Removing a black leather glove, he reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a handkerchief, which he presses gently to each nostril. Joel, who is sixty-two, hasn’t blown his nose since he was four years old. “It ruins my sense of smell,” he told me once, his native Bronx accent untamed by forty years in Denmark. More »
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    Nothing is True: William Burroughs and Buddhism Paid Member

    William Burroughs was not a Buddhist: he never sought or found a “teacher,” he never took refuge, and he never undertook any bodhisattva vows. He did not consider himself a Buddhist, nor, for that matter, did he ever declare himself a follower of any one faith or practice. But he did have an awareness of the essentials of Buddhism, and in his own way, he was affected by the Buddha-dharma. More »