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Ancient manuscripts and modern politics

By Louis René Beres
Oddly, perhaps, there are striking similarities between Western Epicureanism and Eastern Buddhism. Even a cursory glance at Lucretius, On The Nature of Things, reveals a characteristically “Buddhist” position on human oneness and human transience. Greek and Roman Stoicism, too, share this animating concept, a revealing vision of both interpersonal connectedness and civilizational impermanence.

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Jack Kerouac: On and Off the Road

By David Sterritt
Jack Kerouac, the novelist and poet who gave the Beat Generation its name, died 43 years ago on 21 October 1969 at the age of 47. On Friday, the long-delayed movie version of Kerouac’s autobiographical novel about crisscrossing the United States with his hipster friend Neal Cassady in the 1940s, On the Road will be released. When the novel was published in 1957, six years after he finished writing it, Kerouac dreamed up his own screen adaptation, hoping to play himself (called Sal Paradise in the novel) opposite Marlon Brando as Dean Moriarty, the Cassady character.

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Is spirituality a passing trend?

Philip Sheldrake
“Spirituality” is a word that defines our era. The fascination with spirituality is a striking aspect of our contemporary times and stands in stark contrast to the decline in traditional religious belonging in the West. Although the word “spirituality” has Christian origins it has now moved well beyond these – indeed beyond religion itself.

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Remembering Dogen’s death

By Steven Heine
As the founder of Soto Zen, one of the major Buddhist sects in Japan, the birth and death anniversaries of Dogen Zenji (1200-1253) are celebrated every fifty years. It was amply demonstrated at the beginning of the millennium through the outpouring of new publications and media productions, including a kabuki play and TV show as well as manga versions of his biography, that these events help to disseminate the master’s teachings to a worldwide audience yet also turn him into a commercial commodity that is somewhat misrepresented.

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Empathizing toward human unity

By Louis René Beres
According to ancient Jewish tradition traced back to the time of Isaiah, the world rests upon thirty-six just men — the Lamed-Vov. For these men who have been chosen and must remain unknown even to themselves, the spectacle of the world is insufferable beyond description. Eternally inconsolable at the extent of human pain and woe, so goes the Hasidic tale, they can never even expect a single moment of real tranquility.

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Even more facts about the Silk Road

By Valerie Hansen
The “Silk Road” was a stretch of shifting, unmarked paths across massive expanses of deserts and mountains — not a real road at any point or time. I previously examined the historical documents and evidence of the silk road, but here are a few more facts from camels to Marco Polo on this mysterious route. The peak years of the Silk Road trade were between 500 and 800 C.E., after the fall of the Han dynasty and Constantinople replaced Rome as the center of the Roman empire.

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Mindfulness is more than stress management

By Holly Rogers, M.D.
At the university counseling center where I work, the students are limp with relief when the semester finally grinds to an end and summer arrives. For college students and graduate students around the country, summer brings a much-needed break from the pressures of the academic year. However, academic pressures are not the only challenges facing emerging adults, young people between the ages of 19-29. They are typically dealing with a wide range of challenges and stressors that are related to their stage of life; they are in the midst of a developmental process that can take quite a bit of fortitude to resolve.

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Self-immolation by Tibetans

By Michael Biggs
Since March 2011, over thirty Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest against repression in China. This is the latest manifestation of a resurgence in suicide protest — where someone kills him or herself for a political cause, without harming anyone else. The most famous recent case is Mohammad Bouazizi in Tunisia, whose self-immolation sparked the Arab spring in 2011, and whose example was followed by many others in North Africa. Less familiar in the West, the campaign for a separate state of Telangana within India (to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh) was accompanied by a wave of self-immolation in 2010-2011.

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Heart of Buddha

A century ago, Tanxu used his temples to establish physical links between Buddhism and Chinese nationalism. At the same time, though, he was guided by the belief that the physical world was illusory. The title of his memoir, “Recollections of Shadows and Dust,” uses a common Buddhist phrase meant to convey the impermanence and illusion of the material world, hardly the theological emphasis one might expect from a man who transformed cityscapes with his work in brick and mortar. I tried to understand this apparent paradox as I researched Tanxu’s career, but my connection to him remained impersonal, even distant, and strictly academic.

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Five lessons from Japan

By Anthony Scioli

Recently Japan’s 77 year old Emperor Akihito implored his people “not to abandon hope”. This may have struck some Westerners as odd since Japan is an Eastern country largely dominated by Buddhism and Shinto, faith traditions that many associate with mindfulness, acceptance and renunciation rather than hope for the future, transformation, or worldly pursuits. In fact, it is not uncommon to find Westerners who believe that “hope” does not even exist in the East. For many American intellectuals, particularly

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“Tomorrow Never Knows”: The Beatles sample the future, April 1966

By Gordon Thompson

Forty-five years ago, at the beginning of April 1966, on the almost anniversary of a London dentist surreptitiously spiking his and George Harrison’s coffees with Lysergic acid diethylamide, John Lennon visited Barry Miles’ Indica Books and picked up a copy of Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, and Richard Alpert’s The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. In its pseudo-mystical prose, Lennon found partial inspiration for one of the most audacious recordings the Beatles would ever attempt.

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National Poetry Month: Poetical Understanding of Reality

To provide some poetical meditation into the nature of reality. Buddhist philosophy is inwardly directed scientific method. Experimentation of the spirit, and as a result there are parallels between long held Buddhist descriptions of reality and some currently accepted physical ones. Metaphor as the essential tool of learning. All knowledge reflecting and scattering off the surface of reality and received and interpreted by the curled consciousness factory of the mind.

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