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    Avalokiteshvara Paid Member

    Avalokiteshvara is recognized throughout the Mahayana Buddhist world as the bodhisattva of compassion. Having made the vow not to enter nirvana until all beings have attained enlightment, this bodhisattva remains in samsara in order to answer the cries of suffering—hence the name Avalokiteshvara, "Perceiver of the World's Sounds." In Tibet, Avalokiteshvara's principal manifestation is Chenrezi, the bodhisattva invoked by reciting the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum. In China, the earliest paintings depict Avalokiteshvara as male, but by the seventh century C.E. he had assumed the willowy, feminine form of Kuan yin. This Chinese form was adopted in Japan, where she is called Kannon of Kanzeon, and is generally depicted as female or androgynous in form. More »
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    Who was Buddha? Paid Member

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    Where is Buddha? Paid Member

    IN MY OFFICE THERE IS A SCROLL with Japanese calligraphy and a painting of Zen master Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma is a fat, grumpy-looking man with bushy eyebrows. He looks as if he has indigestion.  The calligraphy reads, "Pointing directly at your own heart, you find Buddha. " More »
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    Spring Sesshin at Shokoku-ji Paid Member

    SHOKOKU TEMPLE is in Northern Kyoto, on level ground, with a Christian college just south of it and many blocks of crowded little houses and stone-edged dirt roads north. It is the mother-temple of many branch temples scattered throughout Japan, and one of the several great temple­systems of the Rinzai Sect of Zen. Shokoku-ji is actually a compound: behind the big wood gate and tile­topped crumbling old mud walls are a number of temples each with its own gate and walls, gardens, and acres of wild bamboo grove. In the center of the compound is the soaring double-gabled Lecture Hall, silent and airy, an enormous dragon painted on the high ceiling, his eye burning down on the very center of the cut-slate floor. More »
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    The Merit of Becoming a Monk Paid Member

    THE BODHISATIVA NAGARJUNA [2nd-century Indian adept] asked himself, "If we follow even the [Buddhist] precepts for laymen we can be born in the celestial world, attain the way of Bodhisattvas, and realize enlightenment. Why, then, is there any need to follow the precepts for monks?" In answer to his own question he replied, "Although it is true that both laymen and monks can realize enlightenment, there is a difference in the relative difficulty each encounters. Because laymen have to make a living, it's difficult for them to devote themselves completely to Buddhist training. If they attempt to do so, their livelihood will be endangered, while if they do the opposite, they must necessarily neglect their practice of the Way. To attempt to do both at the same time is not an easy matter. More »
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    Monasticism at the Millennium Paid Member

    This special section looks at monasticism East and West. Here, Westerners challenge the Asian traditions of granting supremacy to monastics over the laity, and of monks over nuns. Contemporary teachers in Europe and North America, influenced by views that go back to the Age of Enlightenment, bring their own heritage to bear on redefining the roles for seekers on the Buddhist path.Image courtesy of Chris Rainier.  More »