Once, long ago, when I was still a young man, I had the good fortune to study with one of this country's most distinguished literary critics. He taught that farce was the only true expression of tragedy in a world abandoned by the gods--and by the gods ...

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"The Buddha Diaries" - 5 new articles

  1. CLOWN CAR
  2. MORE ON TAKING AND SENDING
  3. LOVE ON EVERY BREATH: A book review
  4. BIG SKY
  5. HALF-HEARTED
  6. More Recent Articles

CLOWN CAR

Once, long ago, when I was still a young man, I had the good fortune to study with one of this country's most distinguished literary critics. He taught that farce was the only true expression of tragedy in a world abandoned by the gods--and by the gods he meant any absolute and ultimate truth by which would could explain, even justify, our human predicament to ourselves. We have grown, he argued, even beyond the Enlightenment's belief in reason (and therefore, too, science) as a substitute for...

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MORE ON TAKING AND SENDING

    

LOVE ON EVERY BREATH: A book review

Can a lay person like myself learn the ancient Tibetan practice of tonglen? Sometimes called “taking and sending”, it teaches the practitioner to breathe in the suffering of self and others—eventually of the entire world—envisioned usually as a stream of black smoke, converting it with a “brilliant lightning strike” into pure love, and sending it out again in the form of healing compassion.


Even this oversimplified nutshell version suggests the depth, perhaps even the danger of...

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BIG SKY

(The thoughts that follow were prompted by my current reading of "Love on Every Breath: Tonglen Meditation for Transforming Pain into Joy" by Lama Palden Drolma. This is not a "review", but rather a log of the thoughts and practices I have tried out for myself as I read the review copy I received from the publisher, New World Library).

I do not sit cross-legged. I came to meditation relatively late in life, at a time when my joints were already somewhat set in their Western ways!...

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HALF-HEARTED

I woke this morning with dreadful feelings of inadequacy, accusing myself, among other things, of half-heartedness. Everything I had done in my life, I was telling myself, I had done half-heartedly. I was focused primarily on the two things I have always felt to be the most important in my life: my writing, and my meditation practice.

Please don't rush to my defense. I need to work this out!

So far as the writing is concerned, I blame my half-heartedness for never having become the...

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