What Is This?

“What is this?” Recently, I’ve learned that koan practice began in sixth-century China, an answer to a trend toward seeking academic answers.  Stories of monks’ awakenings became a source of questions that would draw the light of inquiry back onto the self and one’s experience in this very moment.  In Korean Zen a classic koanContinue reading “What Is This?”

“An Unsolved Mystery Is a Thorn in the Heart”

The author Joyce Carol Oates uses the above statement as a prompt for students in her creative class at Princeton.  Twenty people and I tried this exercise at the loft space of the New York Meditation Society last Saturday in Manhattan, and the results were amazing.  We had spent the earlier part of the dayContinue reading ““An Unsolved Mystery Is a Thorn in the Heart””

Making the Sign of the Cross

Some of us have been questioning what it means to be mechanical or not mechanical.  Months ago, in the course of reporting a story for a Buddhist magazine, I took a trip up to Leverett, Massachusetts, to visit a glorious Peace Pagoda built by the monks and nuns of a little known sect of JapaneseContinue reading “Making the Sign of the Cross”

What Does It Mean Not To Be Mechanical?

A reader posed this question as an alternative to “what it means to be mechanical?” He was right. It is the more fruitful way to go. After all, over the past three decades, scientists of all stripes have amassed a great deal of evidence to support Schopenhauer’s claim (as paraphrased by Einstein) that “a humanContinue reading “What Does It Mean Not To Be Mechanical?”