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Entries in Commentaries (4)

Tuesday
May132014

Commentary: Respect the Fifth Precept

Noah Levine. By Mitchell Clute.

I came to the dharma through the suffering of addiction, something that I believe is true for many people. Having come to Buddhism through the Theravada tradition, I felt very supported in my abstinence-based recovery practice—the Buddha had been clear about the necessity of a drug-and-alcohol-free way of life. As far as I could tell, I had finally found a reliable refuge.

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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
Nov122013

Commentary: I May Not Stay Here With You

By the time this article reaches you, I will have been empowered as an independent teacher in the Zen tradition through a ceremony and process called dharma transmission. While Zen has flourished in the West long enough to bear witness to the passing of pioneering teachers who have, in turn, seeded a substantial network of second- and third-generation teachers in America, my own rite of passage remains noteworthy for dubious reasons. As the second African-American woman—and only the third black person in America-ever to receive this empowerment in Soto Zen Buddhism, I am acutely aware of the conflicting viewpoints with which I hold it.

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Tuesday
May212013

Commentary: Walking the Talk

By Andrew Olendzki

In classical Buddhist teaching, meditation (samadhi) has always been sandwiched between integrity (sila) on the one hand and wisdom (pañña) on the other. Indeed, this is what makes it Buddhist. As a technology for the attenuation of consciousness, meditation had been practiced by yogis for centuries before the Buddha, but in his hands it became a tool for the deep transformation of character that results in liberation of the mind from the toxins that cause suffering.

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