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    Sweet and Sour Buddhism Paid Member

    Two years ago, I participated in a week-long Chinese Ch'an (Zen) retreat attended by both white Americans and ethnic Chinese. At the end of the retreat, the master asked each participant to express what benefit he or she had derived from the retreat. The white Americans spoke uniformly of how the long hours of meditation had helped them get in touch with themselves, given them strength and sanity to cope with the pressures of society, and assisted them in the process of self-realization. The Chinese contributions were very different. The first Chinese woman broke down in tears as she spoke. The week of meditation had made her realize how selfish she usually was; she wanted, right then and there, to bow down in apology before her family; she wanted to perform some act of deep repentance. More »
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    What Does Being A Buddhist Mean to You? Paid Member

    “Bodhichitta.” L. J. Dedham, MA “It’s the sum of all that is.” John Boulder, CO “I don’t believe in a 'Higher Power’ in the sense of someone or something separate from myself. The most important thing I learned about a power greater than myself early in sobriety was that what is happening in a meeting is the activity. Through the activity, it becomes obvious that there is a power greater than that. There better be, because if not I’m in big trouble.” T. Mt. Tremper, NY “To answer that question is to become a prisoner of it. If I am hoping to be free of one addiction, the last thing I need is another prison.” Robbie K. Tucson, AZ More »
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    Wearing the Words: An Interview with Anna Deavere Smith Paid Member

                    Tricycle: One of the things we talk about in Buddhism could be called "the position of no position," in which liberation is encouraged, in part, by not being attached to a particular point of view. That seems to be the structural dynamic of your work. Smith: I do believe that character is a process, that truth is a process, and I am not interested in winning and losing. There was recently an article in Newsweek by Joe Klein, a senior political editor, in which he talked about Clinton. One of the criticisms he has of Clinton is that Clinton talks about character, for example, as a process rather than as a fixed thing. Klein thinks that is disgusting. I think a person like that would be very disturbed by me. More »
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    Right Speech Paid Member

    “And what, friends, is right speech? Abstaining from false speech, abstaining from malicious speech, abstaining from harsh speech, and abstaining from idle chatter—this is called right speech.” “And what, bhikkhus, is wrong speech? False speech, malicious speech, harsh speech, and gossip: this is wrong speech. “And what, bhikkhus, is right speech? Right speech, I say, is twofold: there is right speech that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment; and there is right speech that is noble, taintless, and supramundane, a factor of the path. More »
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    Being Intimate with Demons Paid Member

    At Tassajara, the Soto Zen monastery inland from Big Sur, where I lived for three years in the mid-seventies, a stone Buddha of great beauty and concentration sits on an altar. From his lotus throne he radiates both serenity and acceptance, the traditional half-smile on his face greeting whatever is brought into the room. In many ways, I found such a reminder of one’s own Buddha-nature quite helpful. Without such equanimity, how could one sit without moving amid the many hours of thoughts, feelings, memories, physical pain, or even the joys, that are an inevitable part of Zen practice? More »
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    Dharma Dogs Paid Member

    These stories present varying views—traditional and new—which, collectively, reflect the ancient dharma debate on whether or not a dog has Buddha-nature. Tina Fields, Pico Iyer, Elsie Mitchell, Darryl Ponicsan, and Tom Robbins give us contemporary views. Griffin Foulk sets the record straight. And in one traditional story, the Buddha cautions that imitating a dog will not lead to enlightenment. Dharma Dogs: Table of Contents More »