Devotion

Forms include chanting, pilgrimage, honoring one's teachers and the teachings, and deity worship
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    The Buddha's Robe Paid Member

    I AM SEWING MY FIRST RAKUSU—the rectangular bib-like garment that is worn by Zen Buddhists. It is formally conferred during jukai, the ceremo­ny of taking refuge in the Buddha and receiving the precepts. Unlike many people I know, I have never wanted a rakusu. I do have a narrow black doth band (a wagesa) that I received during my first jukai many years ago, but I keep it folded in a comer of my drawer—my sock drawer. Some­times I feel a pang of remorse that for so long l have allowed it to lie among my socks, socks that slide along the floor and gather dust balls and the smell of sweat and leather. But the truth is that hidden among my socks there are also a few family jewels: an amber bracelet from Poland, a black onyx crucifix that belonged to Great-Aunt Maria, my mother's moonstone bracelet. More »
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    Keys to Happiness Paid Member

    In your booklet “Keys to Happiness & a Meaningful Life,” you speak of the importance of knowing one’s own faults, reducing judgments, and practicing lovingkindness and compassion. And you speak of the eight keys to a meaningful life: generosity, patience, discipline, and the other virtues traditionally called the paramitas [perfections]. You emphasize the importance of these qualities for everyone, whether they are Buddhist or not. This suggests that you can develop these aspects independently of a religious context, which is appealing to those who want some kind of “Buddhist” practice without religion. Buddhism introduces wisdom. That’s the difference. For example, compassion with wisdom doesn’t exactly look the same as compassion without wisdom. Wisdom means to be free from complicated mind. More »
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    A Special Transmission Paid Member

    Legend tells us that Chan Buddhism began in India, specifically when the Buddha transmitted his true dharma to one and only one disciple, Mahakashyapa. History, however, tells us a different story, namely that Chan originated in China some time around the 6th century. Over time, the Chan school spread throughout most of the Chinese sphere of cultural influence—to Korea, Vietnam, and of course Japan, and it is by its Japanese name, Zen, that Westerners recognize it best. Of course, it is not just the name; the Japanese tradition is by far the most familiar and visible of Chan’s various cultural manifestations, though Korean and Vietnamese traditions as well have gained sizable footing in the West. All of which makes for a certain irony: while Chan originated in China, and while China, after the Indian subcontinent, has been the most historically influential home for Buddhism, Westerners tend by and large to have very little working knowledge of contemporary Chinese Buddhism. More »
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    Living Buddhism Paid Member

    This article is available as part of our current web exclusive featuring the Shin School of Pure Land Buddhism. Read more about the rich tradition of Jodo Shinshu from our Wisdom Collection here. More »
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    Visualizations Paid Member

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    Bowing Paid Member

    Heng Sure: "How can I get rid of my arrogance?" someone asked the Master at Gold Mountain. "Bow. Bow all the time to anything and everybody you see. Can you do that?" Bow not for something—to get something for yourself. Bow to empty yourself, to repent and clean out your mind. With no thought of self, all benefit. With a thought of self, all suffer. Bow to the Buddha-nature in all beings, sentient and insentient. With no self the Buddha appears. Can you do that? Heng Ch'au? When you bow slowly through these big hills and vast landscape you see that all of it is made up of tiny little particles—dust motes, atoms. Everything either can be broken down to empty space or from empty space built up into an ocean, a person, or a mountain. More »