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Three Marks

Space aliens, robots, and clones don’t have belly buttons—this is a common trope and test of otherness on TV and in the movies.  Yet I remember finding this devastatingly clever when I first encountered it on TV as a child.  You could be perfectly human in every way, but if you lack this one tiny, […]

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The Sunlight of Awareness

“The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty, “ taught Mother Teresa.  “Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.” Every year in Japan, the ancestors are remembered and hungry ghosts are fed in a ritual called Oban.  I once experienced a Western Soto Zen version of this practice, including among the […]

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Life Preserver

I dreamed I was being carried along by life like a leaf on a stream.  In the dream I was wearing the royal blue dress I wore at my daughter’s wedding in England last November, which seemed strange because moments before I was holding my daughter’s tiny hand as we walked down steep brownstone steps […]

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Entering the Temple

Late yesterday afternoon, ten of us sat in a sunset-washed yoga studio, practicing being still together, noting in the barest, sparest way how it feels to be in a body.  By noting in a bare and spare way, I mean we practiced gently restraining thought, allowing our sensations and feelings to arise and present themselves […]

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Big News!

In May 2001, in a laboratory at the University of Wisconsin, a Tibetan Buddhist monk donned a cap studded with hundreds of sensors that were connected to a state -of- the- art EEG, a brain-scanning device capable of recording changes in his brain with speed and precision.  When the monk began meditating in a way […]

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In the Chapter Room

photo by wallyg “The solitary life, being silent, clears away the smoke-screen of words that man has laid down between his mind and things,” writes Thomas Merton in Thoughts in Solitude.  “In solitude we remain face to face with the naked being of things. And yet we find that the nakedness of reality which we […]