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Q: How do we retain passion in life and still follow the teaching that we should accept all of life with equanimity?

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Saturday
Feb162013

What Is Enlightenment?

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.

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Friday
Feb152013

Confessions of a Zen Novelist

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.

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Friday
Feb152013

Guide to the Three-Yana Journey

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.

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Friday
Feb152013

Forum: When I’m Sixty-Four

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.

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Friday
Feb152013

Are We Really Meditating?

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.

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Friday
Feb152013

Take a Hard Look

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.

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Thursday
Feb142013

Lost in Beantown

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.

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Thursday
Feb142013

Commentary: Newtown and the Three Poisons

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? 

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Thursday
Feb142013

First Thoughts

DO NOT STAND BY

In this message to Buddhadharma’s readers, Jack Kornfield talks about the response of Western Buddhist leaders to the ethnic violence incited by Burmese monks and abbots.

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Thursday
Feb142013

Ask The Teachers

Q: Buddhist teachings talk about having no distinction between “self” and “other.” But they also talk about using meditation to discover one’s “true self.” if we’re trying to diminish the gap between self and other, how does discovering one’s self help in that process? When i meditate, i discover more about myself, but that seems to get in the way of dropping my sense of self. So this confuses me a lot!

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