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    Hang On to Your Ego Paid Member

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    What You're Made Of Paid Member

    I first learned the reflection on the Six Elements thirteen years ago, on a four-month retreat in the mountains of southern Spain. It was my first introduction to insight meditation, and although at times since then the practice has given rise to uncomfortable experiences, it has more often brought a sense of lightness, freedom, and expansiveness as well as a greater sense of connectedness to the world. More »
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    Losing Our Religion Paid Member

    Robert Sharf's interest in Buddhism began in the early 1970s, when, as a seeker in sandals barely out of his teens, he hopped from one meditation retreat to the next, first in India and Burma, then back in North America. It was shortly after a three-month Vipassana meditation retreat in Bucksport, Maine, in 1975 that Sharf began to wonder whether the single-minded emphasis on meditation characteristic of much of Western Buddhism was in some way misguided. Over time, doubt and confusion gave way to a desire to better understand Buddhism's historical background, which in turn led him to pursue a career in Buddhist scholarship. Today Sharf is the D. H. Chen Distinguished Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. More »
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    Mothers of Liberation Paid Member

    THE RADIANT WISDOM-MOTHER Prajnaparamita, golden and serene, represents the transcendent understanding of reality that crowns the spiritual quest. The savioress Tara, sparkling emerald green, nurtures beings to the full flowering of joy and perfection. Vajrayogini, a red female Buddha, dances in a ring of yogic fire that consumes all negativity and illusion. In the Buddhist pantheon of India and the Himalayas, goddesses preside over childbirth, agriculture, prosperity, longevity, art, music, and learning. There are goddesses who specialize in protection from natural and supernatural dangers; others directly support practitioners in their quest for spiritual awakening. More »
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    Good Soldier Paid Member

    In February 2004, Army Specialist Benjamin Thompson's unit was rushed into Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. They were assigned to replace the unit that would soon find itself at the center of a worldwide media scandal with the release of photographs documenting the assault and sexual humiliation of prisoners under their guard. But what Thompson, who was recently given his honorable discharge, wants people to know is that the crimes exposed by the Abu Ghraib photos were not isolated incidents but symptoms of the system-wide inhumane policies of U.S. detention facilities in Iraq. More »
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    Memories of Thailand Paid Member

    ISAN, OR NORTHEASTERN THAILAND, is a region known among Thais mainly for its poverty and grim heat—in contrast with the idyllic beaches of the south or the temperate hill forests of the north. Bangkok DJs and soap operas often mock Northeasterners as bumpkins, and northeastern Thai music corresponds roughly to American country music—rustic, easily derided, but infectious. Geographically and culturally isolated, Northeastern Thai life feels far removed from the world of art films celebrated in Berlin and Cannes. So in June 2004 everyone was surprised when a young director from Isan named Apichatpong Weerasethakul took the Cannes festival's Jury Prize for his film Tropical Malady. More »