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    Dear Pope John Paul Paid Member

    In an open letter, William R. LaFleur, professor of Japanese Studies, criticizes the Roman Catholic Church for its stand against contraception and implores the pope to reconsider the Vatican's position in light of Buddhist ethics. YOUR HOLINESS, Convinced that a fully responsible stewardship of our planet requires that we control the increasingly rapid growth of our population, and that the knowledge and use of effective contraceptives is a proven means to that end, I deplore your opposition to these as both wrong and directly contrary to what would clearly benefit humanity at this time in our history. By contrast, the public position of most Buddhists strikes me as ethical. Buddhist monks in Southeast and East Asia have openly supported programs to implement the responsible control of human birth and held that the use of contraceptive devices was not immoral and ought, in fact, to be encouraged. A Thai study in the 1980s stated: More »
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    Spirit in Exile: TIBETAN NUNS Paid Member

    Prior to their life in exile, many of the nuns in Tibet had demonstrated against Chinese rule. As a result, they were threatened, imprisoned, and tortured. Nuns who remained in Tibet held demonstrations in the late eighties and early nineties in Lhasa. Circumambulating the Jokhang Temple in Barkhor Square, nuns would shout, “Free Tibet!” “Chinese quit Tibet!” and “Long live the Dalai Lama!” During one such protest in 1991, Chinese police arrived, tied the nuns' arms behind their backs, hit their faces, and kicked them to the ground. The nuns were taken to Gurtsa Prison to be interrogated. The police demanded to know why the nuns were protesting and beat them with sticks and electric batons. During imprisonment, which for some was three months and for others five years, they were made to kneel on sharp stones for hours, beaten repeatedly by groups of police, and chased by dogs. Due to these beatings, some nuns have permanent internal injuries, hearing loss, or mental impairment. More »
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    In the Land of the First Noble Truth Paid Member

    We had just opened our building in lower Manhattan when we saw smoke sliding out from under Rooster Vargas's door. My then supervisor, a sultry woman in her mid-twenties who did not know what she was getting into (and who soon became conveniently pregnant and left), pounded on Rooster's door. She got no response. She barged into his room with a fire extinguisher so shiny and immaculate it resembled a religious object. We found a chicken defrosting under a scalding shower. Rooster had gone shopping. Seven years have since past. Rooster's residence is without Rooster. After interminably shooting up, snorting, tormenting staff, inflicting on other residents his bug-laden cart that clung to him like a second body, Rooster was evicted. I am still a case manager at the forty-four-unit independent housing facility run by my agency for people who are mentally ill (there are also rooms for people who are handicapped, either physically or financially). More »
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    Riding Two Horses Paid Member

    Anne A. Simpkinson on the increasing numbers of dharma teachers who are also therapists. What happens when your teacher is your shrink? For the past several decades, Westerners have generated new forms of Buddhism that reflect their own values and social contexts. A meditation hall where the cushions are arranged in an egalitarian circle-a nod to Native American council meetings-has a different feel from a classical Japanese zendo where the seating spells out the pecking order of the monastery. In the West, as many women as men are practicing today; this, and the increasing presence of women teachers, put another new face on Buddhism. More »
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    Too Much Paid Member

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    Just Power Paid Member

    Imagine leafing through a pamphlet or perhaps a monthly magazine and coming across a guide to good behavior with advice that included the following: Put on an ever-smiling countenance.Do not move furniture and chairs noisily.Do not open doors with violence.Take pleasure in the practice of humility.Always strive to learn from everyone.Speak with moderation, gently.Express yourself with modesty. More »