In this installment of From the Editor's Desk, Review Editor Michael Sheehy looks at new books on understandings of tantric Buddhism, a new look at the Linjilu, and the confessions of a wayward Zen monk.
For many of us, enlightenment is an inspiring but distant goal. Joan Sutherland explores what enlightenment is and isn’t and how we can actually experience it in our everyday lives.
At the very heart of Buddhism is the promise of enlightenment. It’s the bright flame illuminating the dharma, and the rich variety of practices developed in the traditions that make up Buddhism are all in some essential way in the service of that promise. For millennia, in response to the struggles and sorrows of life on this planet, and in honor of the breathtaking beauty of life on this planet, people have passed this flame from hand to hand, encouraging one another to take part in the agonizingly slow but impossibly tender awakening of our world as a whole.
When bestselling author Ruth Ozeki becomes a Zen priest, she finds out Zen and novel writing do not easily go hand in hand.
In 2003, when my second novel was published, I felt like everything in my life and in the larger world was falling apart. My father had died several years earlier after suffering a series of heart attacks. My country, still reeling from the shock of the attacks on September 11, 2001, had been plunged into war. My mother, who already had Alzheimer’s, was diagnosed with cancer, and my husband and I were trying to care for her in our home on a remote island in Desolation Sound, British Columbia. In addition to all this—or because of it—I found myself unable to write.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s comprehensive presentation of the three-yana journey, taught only to his senior students, is being made public for the first time in The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma. Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche takes us through this unique body of teachings.
In the summer of 1980, the Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, invited my father and me for dinner at the Kalapa Court in Boulder, Colorado. That evening, Rinpoche surprised me with an extraordinary gift: a collection of his seminary transcripts along with a roll of Japanese brocade personally designed by him, on a tray. The Vidyadhara looked at me over the rim of his glasses and asked, “Can you read in English?” “Not very well,” I replied. “Perhaps someday you can enjoy these,” he said, motioning to the stack of transcripts.
How Buddhist Communities Can Help Their Aging Members
Introduction By Lewis Richmond
Nowadays one can’t help noticing the sea of gray hairs at dharma programs and centers. The baby boomers who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, and who often began practicing the dharma then, are growing old—not that they readily acknowledge it. Meditators long accustomed to sitting cross-legged are now sitting in chairs; youthful dreams of enlightenment have been supplanted by more immediate concerns about health, loss of vitality, finances, and adult children in crisis.
Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel examines common misconceptions about Buddhist practice that can derail even the most seasoned practitioners.
What is meditation practice? When are we genuinely practicing and when are we just going through the motions, caught in unexamined assumptions about practice? I often ask myself these questions so I don’t succumb to spiritual vagueness and because I want my practice to continue to grow.
You might not think your practice has selfish motivations, says Bardor Tulku, but if you take a close look, you may be surprised by what you find.
No one has ever achieved buddhahood through selfishness. If it were possible to achieve buddhahood through a selfish motivation, then we would certainly have achieved it because we are all masters at selfishness. And yet it appears that we have not done so. All buddhas have achieved buddhahood through altruism; all sentient beings remain sentient beings because of selfishness. What does our selfishness consist of? It consists of “i want”: i want pleasure, i want wealth, i want security, and so forth.
Boston newcomer Brian Arundel struggles to make sense of the locals’ reckless driving, knack for obscenities, and seeming disregard for the welfare of strangers.
"If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” —Pema Chödrön
There’s this thing that drivers do here when the light turns green: shoot out and turn left in front of you, before you can make it through the intersection. My fellow transplants call it the “Boston left,” and it’s so engrained in local culture that it’s actually more common than not.
by Guo Gu
My teacher, the late Master Sheng Yen, once said something very simple, but which requires a lifetime of practice to actualize. I share it with you in this difficult time: “Wisdom does not give rise to vexations; compassion has no enemies.”
Wisdom is to be free from greed, hatred, and ignorance, which are the three root vexations. Compassion is to act without opposition. Siding with those who agree with me is greed; opposing those who don’t agree with me and wishing they would go away is hatred; not being able to see this mechanism is ignorance. Do our decisions and interpretations of what we experience foster vexations? Do greed, hatred, and ignorance live in us? How many times in our life have we tried to blame others for our suffering? How often do we see things in opposition, as victim and victimizer, good and bad?