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Archive for May, 2008

Dearest Dharma Folk Readers –
[Cute community nickname pending]
I would love to tell you much more about God and his creation of Buddha statues, as indeed I will, but I’ve been extremely swamped at work as of late and the `ol writing machine isn’t working like it used to at the moment.

However, in an extremely precedented occasion, I would like to take such a moment and try to turn it into something to ponder about, and it is this: When there is too much going on in your life, and something has to give, what is the first thing to give?

Earlier I was thinking of asking such a question about Buddhist practice specifically, but I think that the larger question is a lot more interesting and a lot more indicative of Buddhist lives anyway.

For me the first thing to go, when time is not enough, is often reading, which was a bit of an alarming thing to me. I suppose it has to do with the fact that information and ideas can do very well to simmer for a bit instead of being constantly and consistently piled on.

So, when something has to give in life, what do you give up first?

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Yesterday morning, I opened my web browser to read about Sharon Stone suggesting that the Sichuan earthquake was China reaping its own karma (see article or video).

She has since apologized, and I don’t think she meant any harm. And I don’t think there was anything particularly unique about what she said. After all, Buddhists have been talking about this on the blogosphere since Cyclone Nargis.

Was it all just bad karma?

(more…)

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All of the statues, beads, incense, and other collected Buddhist miscellania I’ve received over the years has been given to me by friends or monastics. For this I am extremely grateful, not only for their kindness and generosity, but because if I wanted to go out and find these things myself I would have no idea where to go.

I assume a tall mountain with wispy clouds, mythical creatures who ask questions in threes, and switch-triggered rotating walls. This is where these things come from, right?

It was when I was given my very first Buddha statue that I began to have a glimmer of understanding – it was bought in Long Beach, California and given to me by a wonderful woman who had only just met me. (more…)

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On one occasion, at a time not far removed from now, I found myself in a meeting housed in a building that was home to several Bhikkhunis. Perhaps midway through the meeting I ducked into the kitchen and saw this:

HE ALWAYS LIKE S TO DREAM ABOUT DOG AND PUPPY

Refrigerator magnet poetry.

(more…)

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shelves of zafusIn a much earlier post, I briefly mentioned cheap zafus. I imagine a few websurfers were lured to that article because they were searching for cheap meditation cushions. How they must have been disappointed to find a rant on Buddhist student conferences (or the lack thereof)! So here I am making it up to them (or you).

Sadly, I couldn’t find anyone who knew where to find the best zafu deals. Most of the temples I talked to had received them as donations years ago. Of course if you’re the crafty type, you could always make one (see also here or here). Imagine the satisfaction!

Searching all on my own, I turned to the one friend who I always turn to when I need an answer: Google.

(more…)

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The Ground of Inspiration

Having spent a goodly amount of time amongst all manner of Buddhist traditions, the academic part of me keeps coming back to the startling similarities that we all share.

However, oddly enough, it is that emotional part of myself, the emphatic part, the part that is moved, that brings me back and back again to the startling difference between traditions and from within the pool of practitioners of varied character in any community. And this, I think, is the difference: Though we may all walk the same path, we are propelled by a myriad of forces – we are dividedly inspired.

This is what inspires me. (more…)

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On a Vesak celebration four years ago, a monk presented me with a Buddha statue to thank me for my service in the community. It was a typical statue of Lord Buddha sitting with legs folded, made of white plaster and set in a mold that the monk himself had crafted with his own hands. It was relatively large — bigger than a basketball — and heavy. A year later, when I unpacked the statue from a cross-country move, I found it broken in two.

Broken Buddha statuesI was faced with a personally unfamiliar dilemma (related to a previous post): What do you do with a broken Buddhist statue?

According to one gardener: “When a household statue of Buddha is broken, it cannot be thrown away. Instead, it is left at the base of a Bodhi tree.”

What if you don’t have a Bodhi tree?

Why can’t you throw it away?

(more…)

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