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    The Great Matter of Life and Death Paid Member

    “Love and Death are the great gifts that are given to us; mostly, they are passed on unopened.” - Rainer Maria Rilke In Buddhist teachings, the great divide between life and death collapses into an integrated energy that cannot be fragmented. In the Buddhist view, to deny death is to deny life; to live well is to die well. It is easy enough to repeat the truism that death is a part of life and is the only� More »
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    Meat: To Eat It Or Not: A Debate on Food and Practice Paid Member

    WHAT THE historical Buddha ate for his last meal has been the subject of much debate. The controversial passage from the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, the sutta that recounts the Buddha's final days, tells us that on his last night the Buddha rested in the home of Cunda, a metal smith apparently known to the Buddha. In honor of his guest, Cunda prepared (probably not personally) "hard and soft delicious food, and also a large quantity of… More »
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    Meat: To Eat It Or Not: A Debate on Food and Practice Paid Member

    WHAT THE historical Buddha ate for his last meal has been the subject of much debate. The controversial passage from the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, the sutta that recounts the Buddha's final days, tells us that on his last night the Buddha rested in the home of Cunda, a metal smith apparently known to the Buddha. In honor of his guest, Cunda prepared (probably not personally) "hard and soft delicious food, and also a large quantity of� More »
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    Entering the Lotus Paid Member

    ALTHOUGH I WOULD NOT have described it as such at the time, looking back, I'd say that my first decade or so of Zen practice was focused on self-improvement, especially on discipline. I think I learned a lot, but most of what I learned centered on me—my strengths, my weaknesses, that sort of thing. During this time, I spent three years in monastic training at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, and when I returned, I felt strangely adrift. I'd spent a lot of time examining and working on personal matters, but I was not particularly happy and in fact felt quite disengaged from my life. Something seemed to be missing from my practice. I began to wonder, Well, what now? More »
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    The Lotus of the Wonderful Law Paid Member

    IN THE MID-1970s and '80s, when I was a resident at the Zen Center of Los Angeles, we would, during periods of formal practice, recite a chant with our meals, the core of which was an invocation of Mahayana Buddhism's pantheon of Buddhas and bodhisattvas. As with so many things about Zen ritual, no one ever explained the content of the chant; you just did it. But there was something odd and intriguing about this particular chant.More »
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    The Lotus of the Wonderful Law Paid Member

    IN THE MID-1970s and ’80s, when I was a resident at the Zen Center of Los Angeles, we would, during periods of formal practice, recite a chant with our meals, the core of which was an invocation of Mahayana Buddhism’s pantheon of Buddhas and bodhisattvas. As with so many things about Zen ritual, no one ever explained the content of the chant; you just did it. But there was something odd and intriguing about this particular chant. There, where the recitation moves from the names of buddhas to the names of bodhisattvas—right at that juncture where the type of personification shifts—appears the name of a scripture: The Sutra of the Lotus of the Wonderful Law, or for short, the Lotus Sutra. More »