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    If the Buddha Could be Cloned Paid Member

    Humor aside, naive optimism has been the hallmark of the average American's view of genetic research. As endless hype touts the latest advances in genetics, the imagined benefits appear irresistible: the elimination of disease and the unprecedented alleviation of suffering; an enriched and ever more abundant food supply; improved health and enhanced intellectual acuity; life spans verging on immortality. The wish list lengthens. What seemed a dream just a decade ago now seems to have become a reality. Genetic engineering, including transgenics (the process that transfers genes between organisms that would not naturally interbreed) and cloning, is fast becoming a fact of contemporary life, and one which many welcome with the same easy hope with which they greet most scientific advances. More »
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    Soka Gakkai - The Next Ten Years Paid Member

    Soka Gakkai has its origins in Japan in the decades prior to the Second World War. It was founded as a lay organization by Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, a progressive educator and convert to Nichiren Shoshu, an umbrella school comprising some forty sects dedicated to the teachings of Nichiren. A thirteenth-century reformer, Nichiren criticized Pure Land and other schools for being subservient to the state and for not empowering common people. Seven hundred years later, this criticism was leveled once again by Makiguchi. More »
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    Vipassana or vipassana: Clear Seeing in Ten Years Paid Member

    The term vipassana means "clear insight" and traditionally refers to meditative insight into the impermanent, notself, and stressful characteristics of our experience. Vipassana has a central role in the rich and developed system of liberation found in Theravada Buddhism, the Buddhism of Burma, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Historically, many methods have been taught for developing vipassana. The method that has become most prevalent in the West equates vipassana with mindfulness practice, that is, the development of our capacity to see clearly and nonreactively into the present. This method is the one that most Westerners think of when they hear the word vipassana, and is the one that I will here identify as vipassana. More »
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    Cyberdharma and the Net's Vast Reach Paid Member

    When I first encountered the dharma, some two decades ago, it arrived at my door looking achy and lethargic and smelling of beer. In the aftermath of a loud and fragrant freshman dorm party, I had rescued my next-door neighbor from a night spent face-down on the damp floor where he'd slid to a stop and fallen asleep. More »
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    Zen and Then Paid Member

    The American Zen community is manifold—in some ways a community of divisions. Any consideration of the future must begin with that. A few prominent Zen centers offer monastic-style training for both monks and laypeople. Scattered across the country are many ethnic temples with rapidly changing congregations, striving to blend dharma and heritage. In between, in every state, are countless sitting groups serving almost entirely lay sanghas, most with no resident teacher. (I use the word "teacher" to refer to both lay and monastic leaders.) The few large training centers are past wondering how to survive and now must address the questions of the institution—hierarchy and roles, how to serve divergent needs and avoid stagnation and rigidity. Newer, small temples struggle with isolation, lack of direction, and the parched thirst for teaching. More »
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    Dharma and Psychotherapy Paid Member

    At the first New York conference on Buddhism and psychotherapy in the late 1980s, discussion between the two disciplin,es proved more difficult than many had expected. There were a lot of therapists in attendance and a numbeLo(Buddhist teachers on the program, but many of the Buddhist teachers were not particularly interested in, or knowledgeable about, the psychodynamic view. The Buddhists wanted to talk about Buddhism, while the therapists wanted to talk about emotional issues, and it was not clear what kind of common ground there might be between the two. The tension rose steadily from the opening invocation. Finally, after a day and a half, an exasperated woman rose from her chair and directed a statement at the Tibetan lama who had just finished his presentation. "I don't care how many Zen masters can fit on the head of a pin," she began, her frustration evident to all. There was a smattering of applause and a general heightening of attention. More »