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  • Tricycle Community 1 comment

    If I Were the Buddha Paid Member

      After not voting in several national elections I was forced to admit that my claim to “a position of no position” was pretty much nothing but pretense. I didn’t come to dharma until the middle eighties, but, with no very deliberate intent, I inherited the baby boomer Buddhism of my elders that pervaded the Zen center where I started my practice. The inarticulated presumption was that to vote at all was a vote for samsara, that voting endorsed pathetic delusions of liberty, and furthermore, that those who voted flaunted their hopeless attachment to worldly concerns - not what Zen students most want to advertise about themselves. More »
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    Whose Corruption and Whose Compassion? Paid Member

      As you drive through the smoggy San Gabriel Valley on Highway 60, you crane your neck as you reach Hacienda Heights, the locale of the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple. Though a concrete wall buffers the temple from the freeway, you see a glint of sweeping yellow roofs and you know that soon you’ll arrive there. The Saturday vegetarian brunch that’s served will fill your stomach, but what you’re seeking is enlightenment on some of the issues surrounding the 1996 Democratic fundraising debacle in which the temple and its Buddhist clergy and nuns were prominently fingered. More »
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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 »
  • Tricycle Community 16 comments

    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 »