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    Born in Tibet Paid Member

    In the summer of 1951, Heinrich Harrer began writing his classic Seven Years in Tibet in a hotel room in Kalimpong, India, only months after fleeing the Chinese invasion of Tibet. A newly independent India, fearing the Red Army now at its border, soon ordered Harrer home to Austria and a war-devastated Europe. In his native Alps, the renowned mountaineer completed his dramatic story: trapped by the outbreak of war while mountaineering in India, Harrer escapes a British prisoner-of-war camp, and survives a two-year flight through the Himalayas to Lhasa. There he becomes friend and teacher to the young Dalai Lama. Since its publication in 1953, Harrer's story has unwittingly contributed to the myth of Tibet as an exotic and inaccessible Shangri-la. More »
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    Death, Sex, Enlightenment & Money Paid Member

    The first time I came to the Tibetan center the teachings were just beginning and I found a place on the floor in the back of the shrine room. Had I arrived five minutes earlier, I might have had time to inspect a gaudy altar, or to inspect the dead-eyed devotees and spiritual show-offs, and I would have had my first opportunity to recoil from an officious caucus of administrators whose every fawning gesture exuded an extravagance of modesty. Only the master himself could have held me. And, thankfully, he did. More »
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    The Economy of Gifts Paid Member

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    Kuan Yin Paid Member

    Talkative like many old people, she embarked upon a rambling story of her youth, mentioning the name and appearance of her native village, the number and characteristics of her brothers and sisters, and a great many other things More »
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    Renunciation Paid Member

    When people take refuge in the formal ceremony of becoming a Buddhist, they receive a name that indicates how they should work. I've noticed that when people get the name "Renunciation," they hate it. It makes them feel terrible; they feel as if someone gave them the name "Torture Chamber," or perhaps "Torture Chamber of Enlightenment." People usually don't like the name "Discipline" either, but so much depends on how you look at these things. Renunciation does not have to be regarded as negative. I was taught that it has to do with letting go of holding back. What one is renouncing is closing down and shutting off from life. You could say that renunciation is the same thing as opening to the teachings of the present moment. More »
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    An Avalanche in L.A. Paid Member

    MY FRIEND DAN called Thursday morning from Boston and asked if I knew that his son was at USC for the summer. "Worse comes to worst I'll go get him," I said, saying what I thought Dan wanted to hear but not thinking about the consequences. From the little pocket of hills where I live nothing seemed different this Thursday morning, but a short drive up to Mulholland would clue anyone in to the fact that Los Angeles was on fire and there was no putting it out. The Rodney King verdict had been announced on Wednesday around 4:00 P.M. Two black men that I work with had gone ballistic with a silence that was deafening. Right then I knew that we were gonna get into something but even now I'm not sure what it was. More »