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    The Examined Life Paid Member

    I address you now not as your professor, but as Seido, Rinzai Zen monk, caretaker of Hokoku-An Zendo. The semester has come to an end. When I look out at you I see 30 people. When you look at me you see one. But for each one of you I am a different professor. There are 30 different versions of me standing before you in this classroom. It is my job to create a relationship of sorts with each and every one of you. I do that by reading your journals and your papers, by observing how you are in class, whether or not you come prepared, whether or not you take notes, how often you text, and how often you nod off. I’m like Santa Claus. I see you when you’re sleeping and I know when you’re awake; I know when you’re taking notes and when you’re checking your Facebook page. More »
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    Does a Cow Go "Mu"? Paid Member

    Dick Allen is the current poet laureate of Connecticut, a position he’ll hold until 2015. Allen has studied Buddhism for over 50 years, since meeting Alan Watts one quiet autumn afternoon at Syracuse University, where Allen took the country’s first undergraduate credit course in Zen Buddhism in 1960. Allen is most drawn to “crazy Zen,” and many of his Buddhist poems are written, he says, to “Americanize Buddhism and Zen Buddhism through the use of American landscapes, American icons like Coca-Cola, and Apple computers placed alongside cloudy mountains and brooms sweeping Buddhist temple floors.” More »
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    Deathcare Dossier Paid Member

    In a famous teaching to his aunt, Mahapajapati Gotami, the Buddha describes the heartwood of the dharma, and how to gauge whether a given teaching promotes qualities that lead to release and to all the good things leading up to release. Among them are teachings that result in “being unburdensome, not to being burdensome.” In the same vein, when chanting the Sublime Attitudes, Buddhists invoke the wish to look after themselves with ease and that others may do the same. To that end, the list that follows contains the principal documents and instructions that can help us not be a burden—at the end of life and in death—to ourselves or to our loved ones. Organizations such as Funeral Consumers Alliance and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (see resource guide) make available end-of-life and funeral planning kits that can take much of the research and guesswork out of this process. More »
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    Dying & Death Resource Guide Paid Member

    Books and teachings on dying and death take up a weighty shelf in the library of contemporary Buddhist literature and this resource guide is not intended as a list of those works. Rather, what follows are particularly practical sources of information on end-of-life, death care and funeral issues in the U.S. and other western countries, with an emphasis on resources for logistical preparation for death. As such, many of the below are not produced with a Buddhist perspective but are nonetheless indispensable for dharma students.Organizations/websites: More »
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    The Haiku Spirit Paid Member

    You’ve been doing Japanese calligraphy and ink painting for over 40 years. How has your work changed over that long period of time? Well, I started by being interested in Chinese and Japanese painting and calligraphy historically. Since I always felt that the best way to learn about something is to try it yourself, I started practicing, and I must say I was absolutely terrible. [Laughs] I kept going anyway, and it gradually got better over the years. I studied with a Chinese gentleman in New York and then with a Japanese calligrapher in Japan. I just kept doing it out of the fun of it, and one day I looked at it, and I looked at it, and it wasn’t so terrible anymore. I had progressed all the way up to mediocrity! So once I reached that point, I realized that I could go ahead, and I kept going. So I’ve been going for, yes, 40 years now. More »
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    A Fractal Solution to the Universe Paid Member

    If you’ve perused the current issue of Tricycle, you’ll have seen the beautiful and intricate artwork that illustrates our article about the convergence of Buddhism and neuroscience, “A Gray Matter,” by Columbia University professor of Japanese religion Bernard Faure. If these images seem hauntingly familiar, it’s for a reason. They’re of the neurons in our brains! The artist behind them, Greg Dunn, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a doctorate in neuroscience last year. Since then, he’s been focusing on painting in his easily identifiable style: a modern, science-based twist on the ancient East Asian brush painting technique of sumi-e. More »