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    Should Buddhists vote? Paid Member

      A common misunderstanding exists that the Buddha wanted his followers to leave society. This is incorrect. Where can we ever live where we are entirely disconnected from other living beings? In a monastery, in a dharma center, in a family, we are always in relationship to those immediately around us as well as to the broader society and to all sentient beings. Even in a remote hermitage we still live in relationship with each and every living being. Our challenge is to make this relationship a healthy one: physically, verbally, and mentally. With a pure motivation, voting and being politically active can be ways of sharing our vision and values with others, in an attempt to stop harm and create happiness in society. More »
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    Accepting the Invitation Paid Member

    For a free people the franchise means everything. In a democratic republic, it is the proper name for empowerment. It is the essence of political equality. As the Rev. Joseph Carter put it in St. Francisville, Louisiana, in 1963, “A man is not a first-class citizen, a number one citizen, unless he is a voter.” More »
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    Hsi Lai: Politics Not as Usual Paid Member

    By now, the Hsi Lai Temple in suburban Los Angeles must be the best-known Buddhist institution in the United States. But it may be headed for an even higher profile. Last winter, while Senator Bill Bradley unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination, he brought up Hsi Lai Temple to raise questions about the integrity of Vice President Al Gore. Republican officials have strongly hinted that the temple will be mentioned again, in a new effort to embarrass Mr. Gore come this fall’s presidential campaign. More »
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    Big, Big Bang Paid Member

    One of the fathers of the Big Bang was sitting across the aisle from me on the train, so I introduced myself. I had seen P.J.E. Peebles speak at a conference in Washington that afternoon at the National Museum of Natural History, and now we made small talk about this and that: the weather, a mutual acquaintance, the end of the universe. Then we shook hands and went our separate ways. But for the rest of the ride between Washington and Princeton, where he got off, I couldn't help glancing across the aisle every so often and marveling at how recent our present conception of the cosmos is, that at any moment one of its founders might be sitting among us on a train, chatting with his wife and sipping a Budweiser. More »
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    The Millennium: A Bridge between the Relative and the Ultimate Paid Member

    One way of viewing the millennium is that the infinite would again take finite incarnation to benefit beings at a certain point in space and time. Although such an occurrence is always welcome, we should be aware that the infinite is always present and place our emphasis on recognizing that. Otherwise, we are always stuck in finite, relative reality, where the concepts of space and time constrain and solidify our experience. It is exactly beyond the relative reality in which the concepts of space and time exist that we contact the infinite, space and time being constructs co-emergent with our finite, incarnate mind-body system. More »
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    Fuse Yajiro's Death Poems Paid Member

    A warrior named Fuse Yajiro grew ill in the spring, and by autumn he was dying. He wrote this poem: Before longI shall be a ghostbut just nowhow they bite my flesh!the winds of autumn. After Writing this poem so full of nostalgia for life, Fuse Yajiro recovered somewhat and lived on for another month. Something must have changed his mind about death, for in a mood of greater detachment, he wrote another death poem: Seen fromoutside creationearth and skyaren't wortha box of matches. —from Japanese Death Poems: Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death (Tuttle, 1998). Image: Triangle, Circle, Square, Walter De Maria, stainless steel, 1972. Photo courtesy of The Menil Collection. More »