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    Spring Sesshin at Shokoku-ji Paid Member

    SHOKOKU TEMPLE is in Northern Kyoto, on level ground, with a Christian college just south of it and many blocks of crowded little houses and stone-edged dirt roads north. It is the mother-temple of many branch temples scattered throughout Japan, and one of the several great temple­systems of the Rinzai Sect of Zen. Shokoku-ji is actually a compound: behind the big wood gate and tile­topped crumbling old mud walls are a number of temples each with its own gate and walls, gardens, and acres of wild bamboo grove. In the center of the compound is the soaring double-gabled Lecture Hall, silent and airy, an enormous dragon painted on the high ceiling, his eye burning down on the very center of the cut-slate floor. More »
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    The Merit of Becoming a Monk Paid Member

    THE BODHISATIVA NAGARJUNA [2nd-century Indian adept] asked himself, "If we follow even the [Buddhist] precepts for laymen we can be born in the celestial world, attain the way of Bodhisattvas, and realize enlightenment. Why, then, is there any need to follow the precepts for monks?" In answer to his own question he replied, "Although it is true that both laymen and monks can realize enlightenment, there is a difference in the relative difficulty each encounters. Because laymen have to make a living, it's difficult for them to devote themselves completely to Buddhist training. If they attempt to do so, their livelihood will be endangered, while if they do the opposite, they must necessarily neglect their practice of the Way. To attempt to do both at the same time is not an easy matter. More »
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    Monasticism at the Millennium Paid Member

    This special section looks at monasticism East and West. Here, Westerners challenge the Asian traditions of granting supremacy to monastics over the laity, and of monks over nuns. Contemporary teachers in Europe and North America, influenced by views that go back to the Age of Enlightenment, bring their own heritage to bear on redefining the roles for seekers on the Buddhist path.Image courtesy of Chris Rainier.  More »
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    Going for Refuge Paid Member

    Born Dennis Lingwood in London in 1925, Sangharakshita was stationed in Sri Lanka and India during World War II. He remained in India after the war, and was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1949. Returning to England in 1964, he founded the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) three years later. Today nearly six hundred men and women have been ordained in the Order. While most of its activities are based in Britain and among the ex-untouchable communities in India, there are a half-dozen centers in the United States as well. This interview was conducted by Stephen Batchelor, a contributing editor to Tricycle, at Sangharahshita's apartment in Bethnal Green, London, in April 1995. More »
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    It's Not Our Karma Paid Member

    THE SRI LANKAN VILLAGE where the Theravadin Buddhist nun P. G. Ranwala built her temple is in the upcountry, miles from any city. One-story mud-and-thatch houses painted pastel pink, blue, and green, and deeply ridged paddy fields carved into the mountainside below give the village a prosperous feeling, although the people here live on the edge of poverty. Before Ranwala came, the villagers waited weeks for monks to come from the city of Kandy to perform chanting ceremonies and other Buddhist rituals on their behalf. Most parents relied on weekly radio programs to provide religious education to their children. More »
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    Buddhism Beat & Square Paid Member

    One afternoon in 1953, a young poet named Allen Ginsberg visited the First Zen Institute which was then still housed in an elegant private uptown apartment in New York City. Ginsberg occupied himself by perusing the Zen paintings, records and books in the library. But he did not stay very long: the whole atmosphere of the place made him uncomfortable; it was, as he remembered years later, “intimidating—like a university club.” Ginsberg had only recently discovered Buddhism and Chinese philosophy in the New York Public Library. “I had only the faintest idea that there was so much of a kulcheral heritage, so easy to get at thru book upon book of reproduction,” he wrote Neal Cassady in California. More »