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    Family Dharma: The Joy of Generosity Paid Member

    Many years ago I learned that the Buddha taught ethical conduct as the necessary prerequisite for meditation practice. It made perfect sense. As my teacher Jack Kornfield says, “Can you imagine settling down on your cushion for a peaceful meditation session after a full day of killing, stealing, and lying?” Much later I discovered that the Buddha taught the practice of generosity first, as a foundation for establishing an ethical lifestyle. I marveled at the possibility that generosity might be the most important thing of all, the platform on which our actions, our meditation practice, and our spiritual journey rest. More »
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    Practical Pilgrim: Spinning the Wheel at Sarnath Paid Member

    SOON AFTER FINDING ENLIGHTENMENT in Bodh Gaya, Siddhartha walked about two hundred miles northeast to the big city of Banaras in search of his old friends. It was with these five yogis back in Bodh Gaya that Siddhartha had been striving to crack the code of suffering in search of ultimate awareness. After having wasted away from fasting and other ascetic practices, Siddhartha shocked his colleagues by taking food and declining further self-mortification. Determined, yet disheartened, and finally alone, he sat under a bodhi tree, and the rest is Buddhist history. Banaras, also known as Kashi and now Varanasi, is, as Mark Twain once wrote of it, "older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together." Striking and picturesque as it sprawls along a crescent of the sacred river Ganges, it is thought to be the oldest living city on Earth.More »
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    What Love Is Paid Member

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    A Democracy of the Imagination Paid Member

                         Ernest Hemingway spoke once of sitting at his desk each morning to face "the horror of a blank sheet of paper." He found himself (as any writer can confirm) having to produce by the end of the day a series of words arranged in a way that has never before been imagined. You sit there, alone, hovering on the cusp between nothing and something. This is not a blank, stale nothing; it is an awesome nothing charged with unrealized potential. And the hovering is the kind that can fill you with dread. Rearrangement of the items on your desk assumes an irresistible attraction. More »
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    Saved From Freezing Paid Member

    I'm in my car, on the highway. I turn off the news reports and the baseball game I've been listening to and switch to a Beethoven violin sonata that's loaded in the CD player. Listening to the music, my mind gradually starts to release, like a hand that had been grasping something tightly and is beginning to let go. Another mind appears, a mind completely engaged with the pattern the music weaves. A moment before, I'd been frozen into the shape of a self in a world. Now, the music has thawed me out. More »
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    I Feel Your Brain Paid Member

    In his latest book, Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, author of the best-seller Emotional Intelligence, illustrates how new clinical results in the fields of neuroscience and biology show that humans are in fact wired for empathy—that without any conscious effort, we feel the joy, pain, anger, and other emotions of the people around us. Sharon Salzberg, co-founder and teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, spoke to Goleman this summer about the emerging field of social neuroscience and its implications for the principles and practices of Buddhism. More »