how we live

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    A Spirit of Reverence Paid Member

    Since Buddhism arrived in the West, inevitably some people have felt, “Zazen is good, compassion is good, self-discipline is good, but why all this bowing and incense? To whom does one offer incense and flowers?” To this all the Buddhists of the past and all Asian 
Buddhists today would answer with one voice: “Dear friends, a spirit of reverence is essential to successful practice. Without it, enlightenment can never be attained!”   Prostrations and offerings are admittedly just forms—just a human way of expressing what cats express by rubbing themselves against a beloved person’s legs. If it were natural for humans to stand on their heads or stick out their rumps to express reverence, then Buddhists would stand on their heads or stick out their rumps as a matter of course. More »
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    Unconditional Love Paid Member

    When I was young, I was fascinated by the ideal of unconditional love. I fell in love, and I tried to be totally devoted. At that time I was working in an office with a group of young men. They had stories to tell about the women they had been out with, and they flirted with the women in the typing pool, but I closed my ears. I had no interest in anything but being a perfect partner, completely loyal to my woman. The woman in question, however, was jealous anyway. Although I never so much as glanced at another woman, I still got accused regularly of having unfaithful thoughts. The injustice of this cut me to the quick, and in no time she and I would be engaged in grievous arguments. My attempt to be the perfect partner had led me into being just the opposite. I was fighting her with all the wit and energy I could muster. More »
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    She's Got the Beat Paid Member

      There’s a story Cheri Maples tells about the first time she saw her Buddhist practice in action. The year was 1991, and Maples, then a patrol cop on the Madison, Wisconsin police force, was responding to a domestic violence call. A divorced dad was holding his young daughter hostage, refusing to hand her over to his ex-wife after a weekend visit. When Maples interceded, he threatened her. Ordinarily, she would have slapped handcuffs on the guy and hauled him off to jail. But she had just sat her first retreat with the Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, and the experience “had broken open my heart,” Maples says. She persuaded the father to release his daughter and then, instead of arresting him, spoke to him from her heart. Within minutes, he was in tears. More »
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    Prime Time Buddhism Paid Member

    Filmmaker Babeth VanLoo (right) speaks with artist Meredith Monk in a scene from VanLoo’s new film, Meredith Monk – Inner Voice.  Courtesy Babeth VanLoo Listen to the podcast here. More »
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    Buddha in the Googleplex Paid Member

    All the President's Meng: Chade-Meng Tan with Barack Obama, John McCain, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton More »
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    Mindful Music Paid Member

    “This is why we come early,” Buddhist singer-songwriter Ravenna Michalsen says for the third time this trip, as we search for the correct turn into Wellesley College. She’s playing a show for the college’s Buddhist Community tonight, and we’ve driven up to Massachusetts from New Haven, Connecticut, where various karmic causes and conditions have brought the two of us together again for another semester. More »