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    Vajra Gun Paid Member

    I have covered my badge with black tape so it will not reflect the light. The January midnight air is colder than the gun in my hand, a .357-caliber Magnum revolver, made of blued steel, so it won't reflect light. It has etched wooden handles so it won't slip. I am standing silently outside the basement window of a home on the San Francisco peninsula. I am focused completely on the three people inside, lying on the bed directly below the window. The window is partly open. The room is brightly lit. How can they sleep in that bright light? Are they asleep? The smallest one is only a month old. She lies between her father and mother, who are both fully clothed, both very young themselves. Far too young for the trouble they have brought upon themselves, and the threat they are now bringing to their child. More »
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    Bearing Witness: Notes from Auschwitz Paid Member

    I have just returned from 12 days in Poland. I went as a photographer and participant in an interfaith meditation retreat at Auschwitz organized by the American Zen roshi, Bernard Glassman, and his new “Zen Peacemaker Order”. During American Thanksgiving week a group of 150 people - Poles, Germans, French, Swiss, Italians, Americans - Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and Sufi Muslims - gathered for meditation and discussion, to “bear witness” to what happened at Auschwitz 50 years ago, and to listen for the ways in which those events echo in our lives today. More »
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    How Empty is Emptiness? Paid Member

    To open the door so that you can really see inside yourself isn’t easy, but it’s something you can train yourself to do. If you have the mindfulness enabling you to read yourself and understand yourself, that cuts through a lot of issues right there. Craving will have a hard time forming. In whatever guises it arises, you’ll get to read it, to know it, to extinguish it, to let it go. More »
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    Precepts: Ethics in Action: By the People, For the People Paid Member

    MONKS, there comes a time, there comes an occasion, when this universe after a long stretch of time begins to dissolve.... There comes a time, monks, there comes an occasion, when this universe, after a long stretch of time, begins to re-evolve once more, and while it is reevolving certain beings, in order to achieve the extinction of existence and karma... are born in this world. These beings are self-luminous, move through space, are made of mind, feed on joy, abide in a state of bliss, and go wherever they wish. That, monks, is the appropriate condition of these beings who are self-luminous, move through space, are made of mind, feed on joy, abide in a state of bliss, and go wherever they wish. The moon and sun were not yet known in the world. Hence the forms of the stars were not known, nor the paths of the constellations, nor day and night, nor months and fortnights, nor seasons and years. More »
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    Driving Me Crazy Paid Member

    My FIRST TRIP to the Okayama Driver's License Test Building had been spent mainly helping the clerk do an analysis of my passport, enumerating the countries I'd visited, the dates I had gone in and out of the U.S., and so forth. The stopover in Hawaii for an hour on the way to Taiwan three years previously was properly noted. The space of time between the Taiwan trip and my arrival date in Japan was marked down. My month in Thailand and the side trip to Malaysia, as well as the times of visa extensions in Japan, were not neglected. It was a curious procedure. This was local government, not Immigration, and I really did not get the point. But mine was not to reason why. More »
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    Mindful to the Quarter-inch Paid Member

    MID-AFTERNOON, twenty-four hours into a three-day vipassana retreat, I entered the teacher's cottage for my interview. Although I had attended many meditation retreats with lay teachers, this was my first interview with an Asian monk. Hesitant, bowing, unsure of etiquette, I walked in, sat on the floor, and waited for him to speak. He waited for me to speak. Noting awkwardness. "How's your practice?" he asked finally, quietly, smiling. "I am experiencing much boredom, sir. The hour-long sits seem to be taking three hours." "Yes," he smiled. "I think perhaps you are not in the present moment. You are wondering always, 'How soon will this be over?' Thinking ahead." “Yes, that is what I am doing." More »