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    The Dharma of Social Transformation Paid Member

    WHENEVER I’M ASKED IF the dharma makes possible social transformations that are relevant for the specific and seemingly endless problems of the world today (and I’m asked this often), I find myself considering that question in light of a provocative critique presented forty-five years ago by Paul Tillich, the great Christian theologian, who called Buddhism “one of the greatest, strangest, and at the same time most competitive of the religions proper.” In 1963, Tillich published� More »
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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... More »
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    Awakening to the Dream Paid Member

    For centuries, people around the world have reported experiences of lucid dreams, in which they know that they are dreaming while they are in the dream state. But as recently as thirty years ago—a hundred years after the scientific study of the mind began—no scientific evidence existed that anyone could be conscious while dreaming, and most psychologists were still convinced that lucid dreams were impossible. There were philosophical reasons for such skepticism as well: after all, how could anyone be awake and asleep at the same time? It just didn't make any sense, especially to those who never had a lucid dream and couldn't imagine anyone else having one. More »
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    Growing Ground Paid Member

    IT BEGAN AS A FINE PLAN: replace the primitive outdoor toilets at our rural, monastic-style Zen Center. The head monk at the time was an idealistic German, and he made the final call to install composting toilets. CTs are based on a beautiful principle. It’s a principle with great metaphorical as well as practical value. The way the toilets work is, you crap down a long, narrow chute, and it accumulates in a large, plastic box. Once a week you shovel a bag of wood chips into the box. Eventually heaps of rich, earthy soil appear. This manure, or “humanure,” makes primo fertilizer for your gardens. What you took from the earth in food, you return to it as food. Beautiful, right? More »
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    This is Your Brain on Buddhism Paid Member

    SOMETIME IN THE 1980S while residing at a meditation center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I heard of Tibetan yogis being tested with rectal thermometers for increased body temperature, a side effect of the meditation called tumo, the inner heat that burns up subtle obscurations. The yogis, apparently, were uncomfortable with the experiment; someone told me one of them had died not long after returning to India and that the pool of tumo practitioners willing to participate in Western research had dried up for several years as a result. These were merely rumors, yet they revealed the beliefs and prejudices of both sides, as rumors tend to do, making the Westerners sound crude and ruthless, the yogis ignorant and superstitious. 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 »