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    The Science of Enlightenment; Cause and Effect Paid Member

    Winter was cut short again this year. Cherry trees on the Brown campus blossomed in December, and crocuses emerged at the start of March. The National Climate Data Center reported that the last three winters were the warmest on record. And this past winter was the warmest of those three. It is hard to deny that the modern world is out of balance. Carbon dioxide levels in the air have been rising since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and now surpass those of the previous half a million years by a wide margin. The global temperature of the past decade exceeded that of the preceding thirteen decades, and probably even the past millennium. Polar ice is thinning, glaciers are melting, and oceans are rising. Chanting the four great vows every day, I am reminded of the influence that we humans exert on the world around us, and of our vast ignorance of it: Sentient beings are numberless; I vow to save them all. Delusions are endless; 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 »
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    Practical Advice Regarding Spiritual Teachers Paid Member

    The Initial Interaction The phenomenon of Western Dharma centers—and the arrival of many Tibetan teachers—began in the mid-1970s. The Chinese Cultural Revolution was raging in Tibet, and destruction of the monasteries that had begun in 1959 was nearly complete. Many Tibetan refugees had witnessed India's border war with China in 1962 and its wars with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. Indian authorities, unable to support the millions of Bangladeshi refugees they had initially accepted, had sent them back and might easily do the same with Tibetans. Due to tensions in Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan, Tibetan refugees felt insecure there and looked for safer havens in case of emergency. More »
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    Pilgrimage to Dong Shan Paid Member

    The taxi brakes and swerves as I struggle to read the finely printed map in my Chinese “Communication and Tourist Atlas.” Dong Shan Temple is indicated, but the map shows no road that leads to it. We’re traveling west from Nanchang City in China’s Jiangxi Province. A hundred miles north from here, at Jiujiang City, the Yang-tse River is cresting at its highest recorded levels of this century. In this region, too, the effects of the ongoing monsoon are dramatic. But today, the sun shines sporadically between low, water-heavy clouds. Taking advantage of the break in the weather, farmers are piling freshly cut rice paddy, wet from the heavy rains, on the highway to dry. They position wooden logs in the road to protect the rice stalks from the traffic. It’s against state regulations, says my driver, but they “mei you ban fa,” (They’ve got no choice). More »
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    Moving Zen Paid Member

    Bodhidharma, the twenty-eighth in line of succession from Shakyamuni Buddha, traveled to the Shaolin Monastery in China to spread the word of Buddhism in 520 C.E. During his self-imposed nine-year period of meditation there, he developed a series of physical movements used both for exercise and for defending himself against wild animals. These techniques of moving meditation were passed on to the Shaolin monks who incorporated them into their spiritual training. This was the origin of martial arts, a powerful and complete way of being. More »