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    Modernity's God-shaped Hole Paid Member

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    The Yoga Journey Paid Member

    I hadn’t been in Dharamsala, India, more than two days before I started dreaming about where to go next. While the rain overflowed the sewers and wet cows bunched under the running eaves of the bakery next door, I sat with the other travelers around the wood stove at the Green Restaurant, eating dense slabs of Tibetan bread and butter, drinking mug after mug of ginger lemon tea, and discussing the options. Kullu, Manali, Gangotri, Kathmandu...the names, repeated like mantras, hung shimmering and hopeful in the smoky air, conjuring visions of mystery and magic (as the word Dharamsala had, just a week before). At night, alone in my room, I lit amber incense and consulted the oracle of the Lonely Planet, whose every page hinted at a new adventure. I spread out my atlas and traced, with a cold finger, the dotted gray ribbons of railways, the bright yellow bands of roads. More »
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    Meeting a Man of the Way Paid Member

    In meeting a man along the way, greet him neither with words nor with silence. Now tell me, how will you greet him?— An old Zen koan In the late 1960s, Minor White was fondly known as the Eastern guru of photography because of his unusual teaching methods, which included techniques borrowed from Eastern spiritual traditions. Over six feet tall, with a wild mane of silver hair, Minor was a magnetic and fascinating presence in the world of the arts. More »
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    Seeing for Oneself Paid Member

    I’m not a dharma brat. This is the term that’s sometimes given to the tiny group of us who grew up in America as the children of Buddhist convert parents. Technically speaking, this title would definitely apply to me: both my parents were serious students in the Tibetan tradition of Shambhala Buddhism for years before I was born. For the first two years of my life, my father was the codirector of a large rural meditation center. My first steps were taken in a large dining hall to the loud applause of a group of American Buddhist lay practitioners eating dinner. My parents tell me I was the unofficial mascot of the retreat center. So whoever came up with the term “dharma brat” definitely had someone like me in mind. More »
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    Raising the Stakes Paid Member

    The World Series of Poker at Binion's Casino in Las Vegas is down to its last five players. After eleven days at the table, little sleep, and ferocious competition, they are the last survivors of the five thousand people who each paid $10,000 to enter this no-limit hold'em tournament. The winner will walk away with $7.5 million. Behind designer shades and $21 million in chips sits Irishman Andy Black, nicknamed The Monk following his five years out of the game living a Buddhist life in the U.K. with the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order [FWBO]. More »
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    Dear Pope John Paul Paid Member

    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 »