insights

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    Bare Branches, Bare Attention Paid Member

    Autumn rain— among the marigolds a rusty key A darker time is coming. Autumn rain is always more serious than spring rain, somehow more ominous. Things have been dying off for a while now. Yet even in this cooler, darker time the last of the marigolds are holding on to their rust-colored blooms. As rusty as...what? This old key in among the fading flowers. It is a surprise, a bit of a mystery. Whose key is it, and for what use? More »
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    Zen Moorings Paid Member

    Like many so-called spiritual seekers, I started meditating when I was struggling and open to change. It was my senior year in college, and I was confused about what to do after graduating. At the time, it seemed I had one of two choices: either to follow my freedom-loving and searching side, the one that studied philosophy, traveled during the summers, and experimented with recreational drugs; or to heed my success-is-real-important suburban New York Jewish upbringing—the part of me that gunned for A’s, knew my G.P.A. down to the second decimal point, and could rattle off a list of the country’s top law schools. Ultimately, I abandoned my childhood plans to become a lawyer or a professional of any kind, but it left me anxious. Looking for some peace of mind, I turned to Zen meditation. More »
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    Painting With A Turtle Hair Paintbrush Paid Member

    When mentally fragile, I like to drive to a far city, say at least a few hundred miles from any of the three modest places my family lives, check in to a somewhat pathetic brand-name motel with the pleasant feeling that I won’t know a single soul in the local phone book. And that my own phone won’t ring except in the case of a dire event, because my wife is well aware of my motives for staying in the anonymous room. More »
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    Looking For My Life Paid Member

    For the past month the residents of Great Vow Zen Monastery and the wider sangha have taken on the practice of looking at anxiety in our lives. We’ve started to look at when it arises, what shape it takes, and how we manage when it is present. We’ve also been looking at how long that thread (although actually it’s more like a dense chord or rope—I’m imagining jute rope or telephone wire) has been sewn into the fabric of our lives. I’m learning that anxiety and fear are almost always present throughout my days and nights. More »
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    Moving Toward Harmony Paid Member

    The Third StepWhen you feel that you are being challenged, step into the center of the problem Take the opposite line of reasoning Resolve the conflict by understanding the other side of the argument Tai no henka (Turn the Body)When you meet resistance, do not fight harder Let the attack change you Become the person you need to become in order to resolve the conflict Be flexible in the way you move and in the way you see yourself More »
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    Buddhism Awarded a Coveted Pro-Business Rating Paid Member

    NEW YORK, Feb. 10—A twenty-year-old public relations campaign by major Buddhist leaders appears to have paid off, according to a business-climate poll released today by magazine. For the first time in the fifty-year history of the poll, business leaders across the country have ranked Buddhism among the nation’s top ten business-friendly religions. “This is a dramatic turnaround,” reported Gregory Hobbes, Business Week’s religion watchdog. “Only twenty-five years ago, Buddhism was deep in the 'actively frigid’ category, due to its emphasis on contentment, renunciation, and karmic responsibility. When Small Is Beautiful came out in the early seventies, Buddhism’s rating hit an all-time low from which we thought it would never recover. But now, thanks to the concerted efforts of a new breed of enlightened Buddhist entrepreneurs, that image has been totally erased. Buddhism has shown convincingly that it is willing and able to do business on our terms.” More »