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    Dharma Behind Bars: The Paradox of Freedom Paid Member

    In the teachings of the Buddha, perhaps no claim is so radical as this: that liberation is not the special province of the few or the fortunate; that happiness is not dependent upon caste or creed, wealth or status. According to the dharma, true freedom—freedom from greed, hatred, and delusion—is determined by our minds, not by our place in life. Insofar as we are governed by our desires and aversions, we live in a prison of our own making; and insofar as we are free of the bondage of our attachments, we are able to taste freedom, no matter our circumstances. More »
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    Working With Compassion Paid Member

    AT THE TIME of my first Buddhist retreat, in the early eighties, I was quite active in the antinuclear movement. I wrote articles on disarmament, worked with nuclear-freeze groups, and worried, deeply, that my friends, family, and familiar world would disappear in one hot blast. On retreat, the threat of nuclear war seemed far beyond the sunny farmhouse kitchen in which I drank my tea. Indeed, I "forgot" about nuclear war until the last day, when I looked out over the frozen pastures and wondered if anyone had dropped The Bomb in my absence. I wondered, too, if I could escape the pain of the politics of war by meditating, devoutly, for a very long time. More »
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    An Interview With Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Paid Member

    Professor Donald Lopez: What is the importance of dharmapala (Dharma protector) practice in Tibetan Buddhism? Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (GKG): Although dharmapalas appear wrathful, in reality they are the same as buddhas and bodhisattvas. In order to benefit people and spiritual practitioners, buddhas and bodhisattvas emanate in the form of dharmapalas. Each monastery and practitioner regards their own dharmapala practice as very important because they practice this in their daily life and it has been passed down from generation to generation. Lopez: Can you describe what the actual practice might look like? Does it take the form of prostrations, or mantras or visualizations? More »
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    Mountains and Waters Sutra Paid Member

    Mountains and waters right now are the actualization of the ancient buddha way. Each, abiding in its phenomenal expression, realizes completeness. Because mountains and waters have been active since before the Empty Aeon, they are alive at this moment. Because they have been the self since before form arose they are emancipation-realization. Because mountains are high and broad, the way of riding the clouds is always reached in the mountains; the inconceivable power of soaring in the wind comes freely from the mountains. Priest Daokai of Mount Furong said to the assembly, "The green mountains are always walking; a stone woman gives birth to a child at night." Mountains do not lack the qualities of mountains. Therefore they always abide in ease and always walk. You should examine in detail this quality of the mountains' walking. More »
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    Is the Buddha Winking at Extinction? Paid Member

    Worlds on worlds are rolling everFrom creation to decay,Like the bubbles on a riverSparkling, bursting, borne away. —Percy Bysshe Shelley SO PROFOUND is the largely human-caused contraction of plant and animal life on this planet that biologists are now referring to the current period as the beginning of the Sixth Great Extinction. More »
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    Confessions of a White Buddhist Paid Member

    I was named after Frederick Douglass, though my parents left the last "s" off my middle name. "We figured that we'd give you an option," my father half-joked. "If you wanted to you could always say you were named after Douglas MacArthur." Actually, it was hardly ever a problem. None of my white friends would've known that I Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who 1 became a leading abolitionist. And none of my black high school friends who might have known would have made the connection. My childhood nickname had long since taken over—I was Ricky and still am Rick. More »