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    Cave With a View Paid Member

    I sit in a pink plastic lawn chair in front of my borrowed meditation cave. The afternoon is perfect, a warm cedar-scented breeze sighing through the branches of the deodar cedars on the hill. Tiny birds chirp in the underbrush. My rosary drops onto my lap, my mantra recitation slurs to a halt. Past my bare toes is a gulf of bluish, haze-softened air. Far below, the sacred lake glints like dull-green jade. The high Himalayas are visible today, low and pale across the horizon. I’ve wanted to meditate in a cave ever since reading those first hyperbolic yoga books as a teenager. But I thought I’d be eating weeds, fighting off leopards and even a demon or two. Privation and loneliness would be the whole enlightening deal. I’d end up luminous and scrawny, wearing nothing but a diaper. More »
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    A Very Practical Joke Paid Member

    We are going to examine the different conclusions of Zen and Tantra. If we begin to discuss the two approaches, we will be lost. If we take a glimpse at the conclusions, we might have something more concrete. The reason is that all of us are more or less thoroughly involved in, or at least interested in, the practice of meditation. More »
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    Mothers of Liberation Paid Member

    Voluptuous tree spirits, maternal nurturers, potent protectors, and dancing female Buddhas - the Indo-Himalayan Buddhist world abounds with goddesses of amazing diversity. Miranda Shaw reveals some of the many powers, symbols, and stories of this often overlooked and misunderstood pantheon. More »
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    Man-Made Monk Paid Member

    In the summer of 1958, Michael Dillon stumbled up a mountain path in Kalimpong, India, gasping in the thin air. He was a British gentleman gone to seed, with an unkempt beard and a pipe stuffed into one pocket of his rumpled suit. He often glanced over his shoulder, as if someone might be chasing him. Dillon was on his way to a monastery run by an Englishman. He guessed it would be the kind of place where you could become invisible. Hidden on a mountaintop in the Himalayan foothills, you could lose your identity and start a new life. More »
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    Memories of Thailand Paid Member

    ISAN, OR NORTHEASTERN THAILAND, is a region known among Thais mainly for its poverty and grim heat - in contrast with the idyllic beaches of the south or the temperate hill forests of the north. Bangkok DJs and soap operas often mock Northeasterners as bumpkins, and northeastern Thai music corresponds roughly to American country music - rustic, easily derided, but infectious. Geographically and culturally isolated, Northeastern Thai life feels far removed from the world of art films celebrated in Berlin and Cannes. More »
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    The Mahabodhi Express Paid Member

    I ARRIVED TOO LATE on the last night of the Kagy Monlam to receive one of the battery-operated candles that glowed like an old-fashioned Christmas bulb, turned on and off with a twirl of the faux brass base. Thousands of them had been somewhat miraculously obtained and distributed by the Chinese groups who sponsored this year’s Kagyu Monlam, one of many traditional Tibetan Buddhist prayer festivals held each winter in Bodh Gaya. More »