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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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    Thirteen Hours Paid Member

    Like a mist curtaining from the surface of a black deep pond, I rise up into voices, slabs of hard sound, scrapes of metal, thuds, and clinks. I realize I lie on my side. And just across from me, on another wheeled table (we are like two reclining figures on a tomb) in this huge brightness that allows us no modest hiding of blemish or sag, there looking back at me is a man whose skin gathers the light at his naked leg. He is trying to pull himself to a sitting position, elbows jabbing air, the hospital gown falling back from his wrinkled thigh. No one comes to help us, we’re utterly alone with each other here in the bowels of Highland Hospital, the long crowded corridor and warren of rooms that is Emergency. This is the classic county hospital - last resort for those without insurance or money - crowded, understaffed, and noisy. 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 »
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    The Psychology of Awakening Paid Member

    When I first encountered Zen in the 1960s, I found myself particularly drawn to the mysterious satori—that moment of seeing into one’s own true nature, when all the old blinders were said to fall away. In such a moment, I imagined, one became an entirely new person, never to be the same again. I found the prospect of this kind of ultimate realization compelling enough to turn my life in that direction. More »
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    Rucksack Poetry Paid Member

    The old pond a frog jumps in— kerplunk!Matsuo Basho’s haiku about the frog and the old pond has become so deeply scored in the popular imagination that it seems to have distilled into pure image. The seventeenth-century poet Basho, dressed in mud-spattered robes, wandering rugged mountain landscapes, or sequestered in a tiny hut in the rain on the outskirts of town, has become almost as vivid a figure of international folklore as of poetry. It was under his influence that haiku’s reputation emerged as a poetry humble in subject, unfriendly to pretension, and devoted to Buddhist-inspired insights into the natural world—and the sphere of human nature. More »