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    Out of the Killing Fields Paid Member

    The gray frame house on Marion Avenue in the East Bronx stands sandwiched in between two nearly identical white-and-yellow frame houses. A perfectly assimilated structure but for the bright, multistriped Cambodian Buddhist flag out front. The Jotanaram Temple has been a peculiar part of this solidly Hispanic neighborhood since 1985. Once, many years ago, in its Jewish incarnation, this neighborhood was my neighborhood. The five- and six-story brick buildings that rub endlessly against one another, inflicting heinous boredom on me as a child, are still there. The Valentine Theatre, in which I saw Satyajit Ray’s The World of Apu, has gone. I find it has been replaced by Fino Men’s Wear. More »
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    My Brief Career Composing Spanish Music Paid Member

    I don’t think I have the power of mind to seek after the self or anything else in meditation. I am a very poor practitioner; I have my hands full just relaxing. At my best, I can only sit there completely relaxed and notice acutely. More »
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    The Mantra & The Typist Paid Member

    When I was four, my parents acquired a black Royal typewriter with round shiny metal keys edged in chrome. The clicking keys, the flashing fingers, and in those days, the smacking sound of key against paper commanded all my attention. Words created with such potent sound and swift motion, I surmised, must have compelling power. Power for what, I could not yet know. More »
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    Aborigine in the Citadel 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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    Awakening in the Bardo Paid Member

    The bardo - or the “in-between” - has come to describe the transitional state between death and rebirth, but its qualities also characterize the gap arising between any two states. In fact, we live in a continuous bardo, forever suspended between past and future, although we seldom recognize it. While the bardo may bring with it great uncertainty and discomfort, teachers and practitioners in the following essays guide us through the unique opportunity for awakening it offers.More »