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    Mountain Hermit Meal Paid Member

    I once had a boyfriend who wore a pair of wrinkled trousers he’d had in his possession since junior high school. They were a perfectly nice pair of trousers—for a hobo about two inches shorter than he was. I objected. Invoking the great Tibetan saint, he used the Milarepa Defense: Cling to worldliness and acquire sins. He recounted the story of how when Milarepa’s sister gave the naked sage a robe, he sewed little coverings onto it for “all of his main protrusions,” his fingers and toes and one for his penis. These little hoodies were enough for Milarepa, so a 20-year-old pair of highwaters was enough for my friend. More »
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    What's for Dinner? Paid Member

    First, seventy-two labors brought us this food; We should know how it comes to us. —Zen meal gatha (verse) We’ve all heard by now about the industrial feedlots that figure into the “farm-to-fork” commercial food chain. We’ve also heard about meat and produce being tainted with E. coli and salmonella. But for how long can we keep these things in mind with the multiple demands lay life imposes on us—especially when it’s so cheap, easy, and convenient to eat all the wrong things? More »
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    A Thoughtful Brew Paid Member

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    Food for the Gods Paid Member

    If you’ve ever been to an elaborate Tibetan ceremony—a drupchen, a wedding, a New Year’s party (Losar)— you know these events usually involve hours upon hours of sitting, either on a cushion or against a wall, until your legs go numb. There might be some singing. It might sound like cats in heat. But there is usually a payoff at the end. I mean, of course, in addition to the blessings and all that. Something tangible and delicious. Just when you think your knee joints are about to explode and your head is bobbing from fatigue, a monk or a nun will appear offering a small bowl of golden dretsi (also known as dresil, desi, and dreysi). More »
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    Curds and the Middle Way Paid Member

    Curd. It’s not a pretty word. It brings to mind tea accidents, milk slipped into lemon infusion, coagulation, spoilage, and mysterious nursery rhymes involving innocent girls and dangling spiders. But I began using the term with regularity during an extended stay in Bodhgaya, India. It was near there that Prince Siddhartha, yearning for the cessation of birth and death, spent six years as an ascetic in the woods, his daily diet consisting of one jujube, one sesame seed, and one grain of rice. The sight of his emaciated body was “a source of joy to the eyes of others, as the moon in autumn is to the night lotuses,” wrote Ashvaghosha in his singularly beautiful text, the “Buddhacarita.” More »
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    Tasting Darkness Paid Member

    Whenever I sith with a bowl of soup before me, listening to the murmur that penetrates like the far-off shrill of an insect, lost in contemplation of flavors to come, I feel as if I were being drawn into a trance. The experience must be something like that of the tea master who, at the sound of the kettle, is taken from himself as if upon the sigh of the wind in the legendary pines of Onoe. More »