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    A Walk in the Garden of Heaven Paid Member

    This piece is included in Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace (Koa Books), a new collection of writings from a series of writing and meditation workshops for veterans and their families led by author and editor Maxine Hong Kingston. Poet George Evans served in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1960s as a medical corpsman, stationed in Libya in 1967 and in Vietnam in 1969. In Vietnam, he became involved in various forms of antiwar protest and was eventually court-martialed, ostensibly for disobeying orders; the prosecution was unsuccessful, and he was honorably discharged in 1970. “Garden of Heaven” refers to Tenshin-en, the Japanese rock garden at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The author, George Evans, visited the garden with the North Vietnamese writers Ms. Le Minh Khue and Mr. Huu Thinh, both of Hanoi and both combat veterans of the Vietnam War. They were visiting the United States for the first time. More »
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    Saved From Freezing Paid Member

    I'm in my car, on the highway. I turn off the news reports and the baseball game I've been listening to and switch to a Beethoven violin sonata that's loaded in the CD player. Listening to the music, my mind gradually starts to release, like a hand that had been grasping something tightly and is beginning to let go. Another mind appears, a mind completely engaged with the pattern the music weaves. A moment before, I'd been frozen into the shape of a self in a world. Now, the music has thawed me out. More »
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    Cold Hard Cash And The Middle Way Paid Member

    When I was five, I soaked a bucketful of pennies in blue starch. It was that kindergarten kind of starch, a magical substance. At night before I went to bed, I poured the pennies under my pillow. The plan was this: While I dreamt on top of them, God would take them for the poor in heaven. In the morning, it was a moment or two before I remembered that a miraculous absence lay in wait for me under my pillow. I lifted the pillow up from the bed—but it wouldn't lift. I pulled until the pillowcase ripped, the pillow came away in my hands, and then I saw it: a greenish foam of copper pennies congealed in a sour-smelling glue. More »
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    Revealing a World of Bliss Paid Member

    WHEN BUDDHA WAS on Vulture Peak he twirled a flower before the assembly. Everyone was silent. Only Mahakashyapa smiled. Buddha said: "I have the eye treasury of the true teaching, the heart of nirvana, the true form of non-form, and the ineffable gate of dharma. It is a special transmission outside the teaching. I now entrust it to Mahakashyapa." More »
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    The Dharma of Social Transformation Paid Member

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    The Fab Four's Noble Truths Paid Member

    I WAS IN COLLEGE in the 1970s, already a diehard Beatles fan, when I first heard rumors of what seemed impossible: a Beatles album that was even better than the White Album or Abbey Road—a record that, although successful when released in the 1960s, had been eclipsed by the band's subsequent achievements and never received its rightful due. I ordered mine from England to be sure of getting the correct version—and before I knew it, I ended up like countless others before me, sitting in a darkened room, listening over and over to "Tomorrow Never Knows," and trying to figure out how to meditate. More »