insights

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    Up and Down Paid Member

    Up. Down.Up. Down.Up. Down. Barely awake, I tell myself to “just do it” while stealing a quick glance back at the bed. The sleeping bag looks so inviting. Thoughts run through my head about why it would be better after it gets light out. Normally an expert procrastinator, susceptible to excuses of any sort, even I can’t get away with rationalizing in this case. At 3:20 in the morning, I am alone in the middle of the woods, but it’s not like there’s anywhere else I have to be. I continue with the bows.Up. Down.Up. Down.Up. Down. Three hundred times. Each time a bow has been completed, I move one bead on my mala to keep count while repeating the mantra in my mind. The rhythm of the movement and the sound of the mantra working in tandem soon cut through all the foggy thinking and wake me up. More »
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    Tea with Omar Paid Member

    Ten minutes of zazen is followed by tea service in the shrine room of Karma Dzong. The tea, boiling hot, does not affect any of the other meditators. The other practitioners gulp it down and dry their cups, returning to sitting posture. I whisper to my friend Omar, “I’m not done yet.” Eyeing the four sips of tea that remain in the bottom of my cup, I realize there is little possibility that the tiny cloth square used to dry the ceramic will absorb the remaining liquid. More »
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    Bathing for the Next Reincarnation Paid Member

    For Buddhists, bathing others is a spiritual action that ensures good fortune in future lives. In the Sutra on Baths and Bathing for the Clergy, the Buddha has much advice for a monk who wishes to gain merit by bathing the Buddha and his disciples in a bath that he has prepared. One of the seven benefits of spiritual baths, the Buddha explains, is that in every life into which you are reborn you will be lovely in form and pure in person. More »
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    Wild Strawberry Paid Member

    “If I had no duties, and no reference to futurity, I would spend my life in driving briskly in a post-chaise with a pretty woman.” —Johnson to BoswellSeptember 19, 1777  More »
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    Buddha Buzz Summer 2004 Paid Member

    You’ve Got MonkWilawan Narueng thought she’d hooked a promising catch in a Bangkok online chat room. But when she met Nattapol Parnpueng in person, his shaven head and eyebrows seemed a little suspicious. It didn’t help when he told her he had no money and then asked for help selling his cell phone. Sure enough, hidden in her suitor’s car was a saffron robe and a begging bowl. When Wilawan told the police that something fishy was going on, Nattapol was arrested: the errant monk had neglected to mention that he was also driving a stolen car. More »
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    Invasion and Enlightenment Paid Member

    IN 1903, COLONEL YOUNGHUSBAND, the aristocrat, described by one biographer as the last great imperial adventurer, drove 3,000 troops and twice as many retainers across the Himalayas in a needless exercise to project British imperial influence beyond India’s northern perimeter. To obtain the support of his government, he had fomented a fear that Russian weapons were being imported into Tibet, presaging an attack on British India. There were, however, no Russians in Tibet, and only three Russian rifles and a few cartridges subsequently came to light; as in later wars of similar construction, the absence of weaponry required another casus belli. More »