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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 »
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    Nirvana: Three Takes Paid Member

    In the centuries following the Buddha’s death, dharma teachings spread from India into the rest of Asia, evolving eventually into the three yanas, or vehicles for the teachings—Theravada, Vajrayana, and Mahayana, the predominant traditions of Southeast Asia, Tibet, and East Asia, respectively. The doctrinal distinctions that arose have caused fundamental aspects of what the Buddha taught to be disputed. Even the teachings on such essential matters as karma, enlightenment, and rebirth vary in the three yanas, and from school to school within the yanas—now more so than ever with Western epistemologies stirred into the doctrinal diaspora. More »
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    Talk Like a Buddha Paid Member

    I’M SITTING knee-almost-touching-knee with Ted, a chubby and towering sixty-something-year-old with a few days’ gray stubble, bushy eyebrows, and nose hairs calling for a trim. We met just fifteen minutes ago, and tears are running down his face. Ted’s breathing is labored, and I can smell his sour breath, yet I feel content. I comfort him—not so much with words but simply by being present, by gently meeting his gaze and accepting him and the moment. During our hour together, I work at remaining openhearted and mindful, and it seems to help Ted regain his balance. When our hour together is over, he’s much calmer, maybe even happy. More »
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    No Interference Paid Member

    Sky Wheel, 1972, diameter 17.5 inches HIDDEN LIKE A Chinese hermit or a coyote in his den, Michael Sawyer lives at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, in a narrow valley north of San Francisco. To visit him you must walk past the formal zendo and Japanese teahouse, up to a converted trailer at the very edge of the open hills.More »