Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s perspective on Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhist practices is unique, and summarizing his views, ranging as they do over so many profound issues, is not an easy task. The number of his books is already quite large, with more arriving. While Trungpa Rinpoche is a very organized thinker in one respect, with a masterly command of the English language, in another respect his teachings almost defy systematization; his spontaneous outbursts of poetic expression and brilliant insights into our human folly can appear at any instant in his discourse, making it very difficult for anyone to write about his work and do his thinking justice.
Introduction by Barry Boyce
Buddhism has plenty of words for what human beings do wrong—defilements, neurotic behavior, obscurations, obstructions, evil deeds, kleshas, and so on. The beauty of Buddhism, though, is that it doesn’t focus on blame. The focus of Buddhism is samsara, which is not a sin but simply a mistake, a mistake that starts out small and gets very, very big. When you begin with the view that a mistake has been made, you can stop trying to apprehend the wrongdoer and put your effort into finding out how the mistake occurred in the first place. In the beginning, the real nature of the mistake can elude us, and we may think that there is “something wrong with us.” It takes the patience and diligence of mindfulness to see our “defilements” for what they really are—and to see how they differ from who we really are.
Q: Someone very close to me is going through a great deal of psychological difficulty and can’t find their way in life. I feel strongly that they would benefit from being able to take their thoughts less seriously, something I feel I’ve been learning from meditation. Yet, they are clearly not ready to take up Buddhism or even meditation, although in the long run I think they might. I would like to help them out now and to help them find their way to the path. How can I do that without seeming to preach Buddhism or trying to make them take up an activity they don’t feel ready for?
|No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life
By Pema Chödrön
Shambhala Publications, 2005
Reviewed by Roger Jackson
No Time to Lose is a fruit of the encounter between one of the most respected of all Western Buddhist teachers, bhikshuni Pema Chödrön, and one of the most beloved of all Mahayana Buddhist texts, the Bodhicharyavatara by the eighth-century Indian monk, Shantideva.
|Women of the Way: Discovering 2,500 Years of Buddhist Wisdom
By Sallie Tisdale
Reviewed by Roko Sherry Chayat
Feminism has had an impact on Buddhism, but it has been a slow, wrenching process. Yes, the Buddha proclaimed that women were capable of enlightenment; yes, Dogen, Dahui, and other great ancestral teachers declared that according to the dharma there was no difference between men and women. But at the same time, the movement that seeks to establish women’s equality has had to confront ancient Buddhist teachings that, as Osumi Kazuo explains, would have us believe that “because the nature of women is inherently evil, they cannot achieve salvation without first being transformed into or reborn as men.”1 And indeed, in actual practice, the world of differentiation always seems to trump the realm of sameness.
By Larry Shainberg
It’s not surprising that His Holiness the Dalai Lama—who likes to say that if he hadn’t become a monk, he’d have been an engineer—should so often find himself involved with the paradoxical relationship of the material and the spiritual. On his fall trip to the U.S., which coincided with publication of his new book, The Universe in a Single Atom, he gave teachings in Tucson, New York City, and San Francisco, and joined a webcast dialogue at Stanford University between neuroscientists and Buddhist scholars during a daylong program called “Craving, Suffering and Choice: Spiritual and Scientific Explorations of Human Experience.” In Washington, D.C., he participated in three days of dialogue on the science and clinical applications of meditation at the thirteenth meeting of the Mind and Life Institute, which he cofounded in 1987 to foster dialogue and research between modern science and contemplative traditions, especially Buddhism.
By David Swick
When Sharon Salzberg joined two other twentysomething meditators to buy a former Catholic seminary for $150,000, creating the Insight Meditation Society, she learned for the first time what a mortgage was. Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, and Joseph Goldstein were just back from several years of practice and study in South Asia. They knew what they wanted to create, more or less, but they weren’t sure they had the skills and experience to make it happen. Could they transmit the teachings? Would people come?
Defined by Wing Shing Chan
The Chinese term Huihu, an important concept within the Caodong sect of Chan, first appeared in Shitou Xigian’s text, Cantongqi. This text, known in Japanese as the Sandokai, is an indispensable part of the canon of Soto Zen, and is recited in Soto temples daily. Huihu—a central concept within the Cantongqi—means “transposition,” or “interaction.” It refers to the phenomenal interchange between polar entities, like winter emerging into spring or vice versa, or vexations transformed into liberation or vice versa. Hui means “return” and hu means “mutually,” so a literal translation of the concept would be “mutual return to the state (of the other).”
A conversation with Pema Chödrön and Jack Kornfield about the everyday difficulties that provoke us, reveal our habitual patterns, and ultimately transform us.
Call it luck, good luck. This past May, a sellout crowd of over 3,000 people arrived at the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco to listen to a discussion with two of America’s most respected and beloved Buddhist teachers: Pema Chödrön and Jack Kornfield. Then, suddenly, the center’s computer system went down, causing mass confusion at the ticket counters. But what might have seemed like a big problem on the surface, explain Chödrön and Kornfield, was in fact a great opportunity to practice the Buddhist teachings. Here is a portion of their conversation, moderated by KQED Public Radio host Michael Krasny.
John Daido Loori comments on koans from Dogen’s Treasury of the True Dharma Eye
Japanese master Eihei Dogen is best known for his comprehensive and profound masterwork, the Kana, or Japanese, Shobogenzo. This monumental achievement, a collection of ninety-five discourses and essays composed in Japanese between 1231 and 1253, is a unique expression of the buddhadharma based on Dogen’s profound religious experience.
A lesser-known work of Dogen’s is his Mana Shobogenzo, or Shobogenzo Sambyakusoku (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Three Hundred Cases), a collection of three hundred case koans written in Chinese. This seminal work, which was to influence all of Dogen’s other teachings, remained in obscurity for many centuries. Dogen culled the three hundred case koans collected in the Mana Shobogenzo from Zen texts of the Song era during his travels in China between 1223 and 1227. And, unlike the classic collections of the period, these cases are not accompanied by either a title or a commentary.