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Tuesday
Feb182014

It All Depends

Milky Way (installation, detail) by Mihoko Ogaki, 2008

Reality may seem solid, says Bhikkhu Bodhi, but it is merely a reflection of unstable, conditioned processes, or sankharas, coming together with no one in charge. The Buddha's teachings on sankhara reveal how this works.

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Tuesday
Feb182014

Commentary: Enlightenment is Something We Do Together

John Tarrant, photo by Roger Jordan

There’s a romantic idea of enlightenment as a solitary and heroic act, but even if you’re off by yourself in a cave, you are still part of a culture, and it’s observable that some cultures are more friendly to discovery than others. Building a culture has been an ongoing and repeated task of Buddhism since the time of the Buddha.

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Tuesday
Feb182014

Ask the Teachers

Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, and Narayan Helen Liebenson

Q: I was raised a Christian and taught that there is an eternal soul that leaves the body upon death and goes to heaven or hell. While I am now a Buddhist practitioner, my early religious upbringing has remained a problem. My logical brain tells me there must be something that animates a being and leaves the body when it dies; after all, one can tell the difference between a corpse and a living being.

In the Theravada tradition, we have the Jataka tales that describe Gautama’s previous lives. In the Zen tradition, Jiyu-Kennett Roshi describes her former lives in her autobiography, The Wild, White Goose. In the Vajrayana tradition of Tibet, there is the tulku tradition with the intentional reincarnation of realized beings such as the Dalai Lama.

Please help me understand the Buddhist concept of what is reborn or reincarnated. What is it that is never born yet never dies? Is it consciousness? Awareness? Is it empty? It seems like an eternal soul to me.

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Tuesday
Feb182014

Let's Talk: Cybersanghas—Do They Work?

Dosho Port meets with some of his students online

The Internet has transformed sanghas. Buddhists who have been geographically isolated with little access to teachers and senior practitioners for guidance now have teachers and entire communities at their fingertips. Informa- tion and opinions about dharma centers, teach- ers, and sanghas are also readily available to practitioners worldwide, effectively leveling the dharma field and deflating notions of specialness.

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Tuesday
Feb182014

Reviews: What did the Buddha really teach?

photo by ujjwal bajracharya

The Bodhisattva Ideal: Essays on the Emergence of Mahayana, edited by Bhikkhu Nyanatushita

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Tuesday
Feb182014

Reviews: Buddhism — A to Z

The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism by Robert E. Buswell Jr. and Donald S. Lopez Jr.

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Tuesday
Feb182014

Book Briefs

  • The Tibetan Yoga of Breath by Allison Choying Zangmo and Anyen Rinpoche
  • The Shin Buddhist Classical Tradition: A Reader in Pure Land Teaching, Volume 1 by Alfred Bloom.
  • Most Intimate: A Zen Approach to Life’s Challenges by Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara
  • Stillness, Insight & Emptiness by Lama Dudjom Dorjee
  • Middle Way translated by Mark Siderits and Shoryu Katsura’s Nagarjuna
  • Tibetan Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction by Matthew Kapstein
  • Wake Up and Laugh by Daehaeng Kun Sunim
  • The Forerunner of All Things by Maria Heim
  • Death and Reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism by Tanya Zivkovic

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Tuesday
Feb182014

Profile: The New York Buddhist Church

Members of the New York Buddhist Church gathered last fall to celebrate the community’s 75th anniversary

Members of the New York Buddhist Church gathered last fall to celebrate the community’s 75th anniversary

The weathered bronze statue of Shinran Shonin, the thirteenth-century Japanese religious reformer, gazes watchfully across Riverside Drive toward the Hudson River, greeting visitors arriving for Sunday-morning services at Manhattan’s New York Buddhist Church. Taking their seats in rows of chairs, they will spend the next hour chanting together in Japanese, singing Western-style hymns in English accompanied by piano or organ, listening to a dharma talk, and lining up to offer a pinch of powdered incense at the altar.

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Tuesday
Feb182014

Journeys: A Glimmer of Dharma

As I sit in my cell in the Corcoran Security Housing Unit, I see with unwelcome clarity that I will most likely never leave these confines, these fortressed walls of time.

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Monday
Dec232013

The 10 Best Buddhist Books of 2013

The review editors at Buddhadharma have sorted through stacks of the many new Buddhist books published this year. Narrowing them down to a short list wasn’t easy.

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