my view

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    The Nonduality of Good and Evil Paid Member

    If only there were evil people somewhere, insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? —Alexander Solzhenitsyn More »
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    Sunset Boulevard Paid Member

    Wednesday evenings, on our way to our weekly meditation group in Los Angeles, my wife and I must traverse the section of Sunset Boulevard that runs from Hollywood to Beverly Hills. Our approach to this famous strip is signaled by an enormous billboard—it used to be the Marlboro Man, now it’s a fifty-foot silhouette of an Absolut Vanilia Vodka bottle—jutting up at the point where Sunset first starts to bend, before snaking along the foot of the Hollywood Hills. Once past the Absolut bottle, it’s 1.9 miles of sex, money, power, glamour, glitz, and sleaze. Okay, perhaps it’s not the prelude most conducive to an evening of meditation, but I think it serves as an apt metaphor for some of the challenges facing American Buddhists on the path to enlightenment. You can look, or you can look away, but you cannot avoid the impact of our culture. More »
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    Life Or Death Paid Member

    The one thing I have never fully understood about many Buddhists is why they devote so much attention to the individual roots of greed, hatred, and ignorance, yet so little attention to the manifestations of these poisons in social institutions. Is it simply understood that the real work needs to be done on our individual failings, with social greed, hatred, and ignorance being someone else’s problem? Or is it that Buddhists, like so many people, have been deceived into believing that political issues are “none of their business”? Have they been trained to see problems and solutions solely in personal rather than political terms? More »
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    What's the Opposite of Jealousy? Paid Member

    BUDDHIST TRADITION SPEAKS of four "divine abodes," or qualities of an awakened mind to be cultivated and put into practice. Also called the “four immeasurables,” these states—lovingkindness (maitri), compassion (karuna), sympathetic joy (mudita), and equanimity (upeksha)—are to be aroused and radiated outward by the practitioner, without limit or exclusion. Of these, mudita is for many Westerners the least familiar, at least as a term. It refers to the capacity to participate in the joy of others, to take happiness in the happiness of others. Though practice aims ultimately to develop sympathetic joy for all beings, intimate relationships offer everyone—whether Buddhist or not—a precious opportunity to taste its experiential flavor. More »
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    Fields of Awareness Paid Member

    PEOPLE OFTEN TALK about being “alone in nature.” I find that odd. On the particular summer’s day I’m thinking about, when I was nine, with nothing to do but lie on my back in a farmer’s field in southern Ontario and gaze up at the blue sky, I was in the company of one yellow-and-black caterpillar; one very busy bee; three black crows perched in a dying elm tree; a battalion of ants; a gopher who thrust a little dirt, but not his head, out of his hole; several angry wasps who made a rushed appearance and then vanished; a throng of birds moving as one; countless creatures I could not see, but sensed; trees, grasses, vines, and all sorts of other plant life; and a brilliant sun that warmed me like an embrace. More »
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    Dharma Family Values Paid Member

    A Protestant minister I know recently lamented that his congregation seemed to be aging. It’s just too hard to keep teenagers in the church, he explained. They fall away, usually around fourteen or fifteen, after which you’re lucky if you see them on Easter and Christmas. “After that, you’ve basically got only three opportunities to get them back—when they get married, when their children get baptized, or when someone in the family dies.” “But what if your church doesn’t have Easter and Christmas,” I asked, “or if it doesn’t have those marriage, birth, and funeral ceremonies to draw them back in?” He looked at me a little incredulously, then remembered that I was coming from a Buddhist background. “Well,” he said after a moment. “In that case, I guess you’re screwed.” More »