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The Three Refuges: Part III, The Sangha

Editor’s Note: This is the second out of three articles on The Three Refuges. Read the Buddha Refuge (part one) and Dharma Refuge (part two). Buddham saranam gacchami Dhammam saranam gacchami Sangham saranam gacchami Part III—The Sangha as Refuge We continue unpacking the three refuges, called the three treasures in the Buddhist tradition. In the last two talks, we looked at the Buddha, the first treasure, and the Dharma, the second, and noted how these two point us to the basic components of the awakened life. Gautama Shakyamuni offers for us the archetype of the awakened life. Having attained the wisdom of enlightenment, he lived a life characterized by deep inner peace, humility and c

The Three Refuges: Part I, The Buddha

Editor’s Note: This is the first out of three articles on The Three Refuges. Read the Dharma Refuge (part two) and Sangha Refuge (part three) here. Buddham saranam gacchami Dhammam saranam gacchami Sangham saranam gacchami Part I–The Buddha Refuge My task in the next three talks is to articulate what happens when we chant the three refuges, that we may be able to realize this and be able to embody it in our being. Incidentally, we also chant the four vows of the bodhisattva, and the fourth goes thus: “The enlightened way is unsurpassable. I vow to embody it.” What we are hoping to realize here is precisely the intent and content of this fourth vow–to embody the enlightened way in our daily

The Three Refuges: Part II, The Dharma

Editor’s Note: This is the second out of three articles on The Three Refuges. Read the Buddha Refuge (part one) and Sangha Refuge (part three). Buddham saranam gacchami Dhammam saranam gacchami Sangham saranam gacchami Part II—The Dharma Refuge We are in the process of elucidating the three refuges which we just chanted. Our intent is not just to give an intellectual explanation, but to allow an unfolding of what actually happens as we chant those verses with our whole body, with our whole mind, with our whole being. As we chant, we are manifesting the fullness of reality in that moment. Ti-sarana, refuge in the three treasures, is a way of explicating or unpacking the content of every mom

The Zen Oxherding Pictures: Overview

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of articles on The Ten Ox-Herding Pictures. Oxherding pictures by Jim Crump. View all the available articles of the series here. “The Ten Oxherding Pictures” is a set of ten calligraphic works that portray the different stages in the journey to the realization of the truth, or the realization of the true self. I will first give a general introduction, summarizing each of the ten so that we have a broad picture. We look at the ten oxherding pictures as a mirror that can tell us where we are in our practice. As we gaze at one or other of the ten pictures, there may come a sense of recognition- “That’s it! That’s me!” And with this, we are enabled to go o

An Alternative to Patriarchy? Women’s Search for Non-Christian Religious Routes

In this century, there has been a growth of Eastern religions in this country. Although Taoism and Hinduism have found adherents, the greatest growth can be found among the various varieties of Buddhism. So many people have entered Buddhism in the United States that Rick Fields, author of a well received history of Buddhism in America, calls the United States “one of the most vital Buddhist countries in the world” (Fields, 358). Some Buddhists are immigrants from Buddhist countries such as Viet Nam or Korea or the children and grandchildren of immigrants. These ethnic Buddhists remain closely tied to their home cultures, and few people enter these groups who are not members of those cultures

Buddhism in the West: Self Realization or Self Indulgence?

“I am not religious, but I`m spiritual”. This is a commonly heard statement, especially among younger people, many of whom are disaffected with organized religion, but seek some form of secular spirituality. For many Westerners who would describe themselves in the above way, the teaching of Buddhism holds great attraction. Different from the Abrahamic religions, Buddhism is not based on a revelation by God, but takes its starting point from the enlightenment experience of Shakyamuni Gautama, an Indian prince of the 6th to 5th century BCE, called Buddha, literally “the Awakened One,” by his disciples. Even though the new movement that he founded developed in India and in other regions of

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