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    Food for Enlightenment Paid Member

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    Zen Catholic Paid Member

    I was born into a Catholic family and have never left the Catholicism of my birth. This is the starting point and the basis of my religious life: I was born a Catholic, I did not choose it or make myself into such a thing. As long as I don’t interfere with this inheritance, my Catholicism feels empty in the spiritual sense. Its connections to Zen Buddhism are primal, absolute, and have nothing to do with belief. I am not a Catholic because of what I believe or because of rules I follow. I used to think that way, and even today, when people hear what I have to say about the soul, so pagan and so tolerant of humanity, they ask dubiously: “Are you a practicing Catholic?” My guess is that they find it difficult to believe that I could think the way I do and still be a Catholic. More »
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    Evolution's Body Paid Member

    In the Samyutta Nikaya, the Buddha says, “This body is not mine or anyone else’s. It has arisen due to past causes and conditions.” The Buddha intuited some type of evolutionary process that creates our bodies, and his essential point is that they are neither formed nor owned by us. We now have evidence that our bodies arise from the forces and elements that make up the entire universe, through a complex chain of interdependent events. Internalizing this understanding can help liberate us from the powerful sense of ownership and attachment we have to the body, which is a cause of tremendous suffering, especially as the body grows old and we must face its inevitable destiny. More »
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    Lessons of History Paid Member

    Nearly thirty years have passed since I first became involved in Buddhism. I was nineteen at the time, dizzy with the optimism of the 1960s and the thrill of having traveled overland from England to India. The Tibetans had been in exile from their homeland for just over a decade. The Dalai Lama was only thirty-seven years old and had yet to visit the West. I remember walking up the mist-drenched hills above Dharamsala into�Nearly thirty years have passed since I first became involved in Buddhism. I was nineteen at the time, dizzy with the optimism of the 1960s and the thrill of having traveled overland from England to India. The Tibetans had been in exile from their homeland for just over a decade. The Dalai Lama was only thirty-seven years old and had yet to visit the West. I remember walking up the mist-drenched hills above Dharamsala into the hushed village where the Dalai Lama and his followers had settled. More »
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    No Justice, No Peace Paid Member

    To pass judgment hurriedly doesn’t mean you’re a judge. The wise one who weighs the right judgment and wrong, the intelligent one who judges others impartially, unhurriedly, in line with the Dhamma, guarding the Dhamma, guarded by the Dhamma, he’s called a judge. - Dhammapada 256-257  More »
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    Ikebana Paid Member

    Beyond the fringe of urban farmland, where radish and rice fields meet pine-forested hills, stands an ancient temple in northwestern Kyoto called Daikaku-ji, or Big Enlightenment Temple. This venerable site is the birthplace of the Shingon sect, founded in the ninth century by Kukai, the famous saint, scholar, and poet. Daikaku-ji is also the former summer palace of Emperor Saga, a ruler of the same era who loved and preserved the arts. Together with Kukai, Emperor Saga is credited with ushering in the Heian Period, a golden era of artistic and cultural achievement lasting three hundred years. Today, eleven hundred years later, Daikaku-ji is not only a prominent historical temple, but also the international headquarters of the Saga Goryu School of Ikebana. More »