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    The Formless Form Paid Member

    I was a Buddhist before I got sober. I entered Buddhist practice at San Francisco Zen Center's Green Gulch Farm in an effort to get control of my life which was rapidly fragmenting as I plummeted through the last phases of my struggle with alcohol. If I got up earlier, if I did more meditations, if I studied harder, if I went to more retreats, if I lived inside the Green Gulch monastery instead of outside in the community, if, if, if . . . then everything would be all right. More »
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    Sentient Questions Paid Member

    ♦ On the level of sub-atomic particles, is there really any fundamental distinction between totally inert or inanimate things like rocks as opposed to that which goes into flesh? ♦ A proton may last for seventeen billion years, but on a momentary basis is it not subject to change? ♦ Would you consider a one-celled creature like an amoeba a sentient being? ♦ Does a one-celled creature like an amoeba have the whole range of cognitive events, such as desire, sexual desire, feeling, and so on? More »
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    Under The Lens: An American Zen Community In Crisis Paid Member

    Twenty years ago this winter, a few weeks short of my twenty-first birthday, my college boyfriend and I sat in a guest apartment at the Zen Center of Los Angeles and listened to a weeping American Zen Buddhist nun warn us that we were on the verge of single-handedly destroying Buddhism in the West. “The dharma is very young here. It’s fragile, like a new green shoot,” she said, tears splashing into her black-robed lap. “If you tell the world what is going on here at the Zen center, you could wreck the flowering of twenty-five hundred years of Buddhist practice.” More »
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    Dust of Snow: Awakening to Conversation Paid Member

    We were walking in the winter woods with the tracker Sue Morse. Our eyes were fixed on the ground as we searched for more of the bobcat prints we had just traced around the base of a cliff. When Sue called to us, we figured she must have picked up the trail. But instead, when our small group had gathered around her, she pulled back the bough of an overhanging hemlock and released it over our heads like a plucked bowstring. We looked up, startled, as the snow that had been packed on the branch swirled around our warm cheeks and spangled against the sky. As we stood there, transfixed, she recited Robert Frost’s short poem “Dust of Snow”: The way a crow Shook down on meThe dust of snow From a hemlock tree More »
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    The Good Shepherd Paid Member

    Julius Goldwater wasn’t the only boy in Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties who swooned over Aimée Semple McPherson. A Canadian farm girl turned superstar evangelist, “Sister Aimée” was the Madonna of her day, a sexy celebrity with first-name-only status who knew how to make religion fun. Her revivals were short on fire-and-brimstone and long on heavenly bliss; her shtick was part preaching, part healing, and part vamping. Charlie Chaplin called her a great actress. More »
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    Allen Ginsberg Paid Member

    Allen Ginsberg 1926–1997 More »