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    The Pure Land in the New World Paid Member

    Pure Land Buddhism in North America is represented by one of its Japanese schools, Jodo Shinshu or Shin Buddhism, incorporated in 1898 in San Francisco as the Buddhist Mission of North America. In 1944, at the Topaz Concentration Camp in Utah, this was changed to the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) in order to make it sound less alien and objectionable to the general American public. Its history may be considered in two phases: from its founding to 1952, when Japanese immigrants became eligible for naturalization (Walter-McCarran Act); and from, 1952 to the present, during which time American society has undergone vast changes in the areas of both racial tolerance and religious pluralism. More »
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    Hunting and Gathering the Dharma Paid Member

    Dawn. I'm sitting at the edge of a mesa in southern Utah. Above me is a vast, pale expanse of sky; below me, the town of Rockville; and beyond it rise the rose—and salmon—colored cliffs of Zion National Park. If this were Thailand, I could go down into Rockville for alms. Then I'd be free to wander the mesas—meditating under rock ledges by day and on top of them by night—for weeks on end. As it is, the friend who drove me here will soon be fixing our meal, and in only a few days we'll have to retUrn to our responsibilities in California: his to his family, mine to my monastery. More »
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    Scott Hunt's Seaworthy Dream In Two Parts Paid Member

    Part One: A growing number of Westerners, whether they identify themselves as Buddhist or not, are discovering that Buddhism is a highly effective means of dealing with life's great complexities. Yet Buddha-dharma has come to the West in many different languages and systems, not in a single, problem-free, plug-and-play package. There are several characteristics of Buddhist religion as it is put into practice that, I believe, threaten to undermine the heart of Buddhist philosophy. While we applaud the growth of Buddhism in America, we should also take time to weed out mistakes that our Asian brothers and sisters have made along the path. It is a classic opportunity for the disciples to surpass their teachers—something toward which all great masters aspire. More »
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    Moments in American Buddhism Paid Member

    1828 The first edition of Noah Webster's work An American Dictionary of the English Language includes the term Buddhism. 1844 The first English translation of a Buddhist scripture, an excerpt from the Lotus Sutra, is published by Henry David Thoreau in The Dial, the Transcendentalist periodical founded by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1848 Gold is discovered in California, setting off a rush that within five years brings tens of thousands.of Chinese, most of them Pure Land Buddhists, to America. More »
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    Lex Hixon: "In The Spirit" Paid Member

    Lex Hixon affected many lives in different ways. In the course of his Own studies, he became an accomplished adept in (among othet traditions) Zen, Vedanta, Sufism, and Russian Orthodoxy. His house in the Rivetdale section of the Bronx often functioned as a haven for people who tepresented religion at the crossroads. A robed TIbetan high lama would be coming in one door as a disgruntled runaway from a Zen communiry would be entering through another, and Lex's magnanimiry extended equaBy to each. Of all the roles that Lex played, none surpasses in significance the poSt he held at WBAI, the public radio station in New York City where, from 1971 to 1984, he conducted a weekly radio show called "In the Spirit." He interviewed rabbis, sheiks, priests, ministers and representatives from an impressive range of religious traditions. More »
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    Beyond the End of the Road Paid Member

    In the last years of his life I visited Rick several times at the home he shared with his wife, Marcia, in Northern California. Often I would spend a week with them, tagging along to attend Buddhist teachings, eat lunches with friends, go to the hospital for chemo, or take long, slow walks through the redwoods—the day-to-day activities of an American Buddhist writer living with cancer. There was a sense of extraordinary openness in the way that he faced everything, from something as ordinary as eating breakfast to the most complicated aspects of life and death. To some extent I had always seen this openness, this simple but solid presence, in Rick; but in those final years when he was facing death so directly, it seemed to truly blossom. More »