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    Primordial Soup Paid Member

    Greed and hatred are efficient survival tools. Deeply embedded in the operating system of sentient beings, perhaps from the days when a brain stem first developed in vertebrates, these instincts trigger behaviors that enable a creature to seek out and chase down the food it needs and to call forth the ferocity required to kill its prey or fight for its life. Each is an opposite expression of the same primordial force: desire. Greed is the desire to get and hold on to what one wants, while hatred is the desire to ignore or destroy what one does not want. They require little or no understanding, function best at rudimentary levels of consciousness, and thus thrive in conditions of ignorance and delusion. More »
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    Pain, Passion, and the Precepts Paid Member

    If you’re looking to rest your practice on anything (other than Nothing), you can’t do better than Buddhism’s three essentials: meditation (dhyana), wisdom (prajna), and morality (shila)—the three-legged stool of practice. The meditation component has always been well covered in Western Buddhism. Probably for most practitioners in the Americas and Europe it’s become all but synonymous with practice. And the promise of prajna, the transcendental wisdom revealed through awakening, has stirred the minds of practitioners ever since Shakyamuni looked up at the morning star from beneath the Bodhi tree. More »
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    Compassion Restored Paid Member

    Before becoming one of the great world religion scholars of our time and a self-proclaimed “freelance monotheist,” Karen Armstrong had given up on religion. Raised in England in the years following World War II, Armstrong became a Roman Catholic nun in the order of Society of the Holy Child Jesus when she was still a teenager. After seven painful years, Armstrong left the church, frustrated and fed up with what she felt was an overly dogmatic institution. More »
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    The Bodhisattva's Gift Paid Member

    When we examine our own giving, we often discern that we give for a wide variety of reasons, often with mixed motives. Although we may have the well-being of the recipient in mind when we give, we also give in order to receive.  More »
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    The Joy of Giving Paid Member

    If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving and sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of selfishness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared, if there were someone to receive their gift. —Itivuttaka 26 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 »