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    A Sarasvati Empowerment Paid Member

                     "If you understand ritual, it's a powerful word; if not, it's trivial. The whole point of empowerment is the transmission of the teachings for a particular deity. Through this personal initiation by the guru—passed down in an unbroken line—we are then empowered to do that particular meditative practice." —Interpreter Lama Pema Wangdak     More »
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    Nothing Special Paid Member

                  Several years ago I found myself wondering just why the arena of sex was so important, not only to me but to just about everyone I knew. Why is this basic and universal drive the source of so much drama? Why is sex so difficult to talk about? And more to the point, why did I still find it so difficult to talk about? When I looked at sex in my life, I saw a nagging source of anxiety and confusion as much as a source of pleasure and intimacy. When I looked at sex in the world, I saw an absurdly ordinary activity that for aeons has been the stuff of epics and war. More »
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    A Democracy of the Imagination Paid Member

                         Ernest Hemingway spoke once of sitting at his desk each morning to face "the horror of a blank sheet of paper." He found himself (as any writer can confirm) having to produce by the end of the day a series of words arranged in a way that has never before been imagined. You sit there, alone, hovering on the cusp between nothing and something. This is not a blank, stale nothing; it is an awesome nothing charged with unrealized potential. And the hovering is the kind that can fill you with dread. Rearrangement of the items on your desk assumes an irresistible attraction. More »
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    Letting Go: Life On The Hospice Ward Paid Member

    I'm a new hospice volunteer and walk up and down the ward between the two rows of beds with their pale blue sheets 2nd blankets and blue-green curtains that blend with the pale blue-green walls, which echo the green of the garden and the trees outside the windows. The hospice ward is minty, fresh, and light. Smokey, one of the resident cats, finds an empty bed and curls up on it. "Got a minute?" asks a haggard man with a husky voice. Of course I do, I have 180 minutes until the end of my shift. George introduces himself to me. "Sit with me while I smoke," he says. "Got a light?" More »
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    Beastie Boys: The Big Show Paid Member

                                                      Tricycle: When did you become interested in Buddhism? More »
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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 »