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Practice and Resilience

· Dharma Discourses, Open Access · ,

by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi


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FROM THE RECORD OF MASTER YANGSHAN

Ho-shang Mi of Ching-chao sent a monastic to ask Yangshan: “Right in this very moment are you dependent on enlightenment?”

Yangshan said “There is no absence of enlightenment. Why fall into the secondary?”

Ho-shang Mi was a peer of Master Yangshan, a very important Chinese master in our lineage. Here he asks, right in this moment are you dependent upon enlightenment?

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A New Incarnation

· Editorial, Open Access · ,

Editorial by Danica Shoan Ankele

Dear Reader,

Here at the Monastery, we’ve been having deep discussions about the Mountain Record over the past several years. After long conversations and careful reflection among the Mountain Record staff, the Monastery’s abbot, monastics and Board of Directors, we’ve decided it’s time to make a significant change. We’re excited about the vision we have in mind, but we also feel the poignancy of shifting the Mountain Record’s familiar and well-loved format.

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Remembering Love

· Articles & Essays · ,

An Informal Contemplation on Healing

by Lama Rod Owens


You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.

—Nina Simone

Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?…Just so’s you’re sure, sweetheart, and ready to be healed, cause wholeness is no trifling matter. A lot of weight when you’re well.

—Toni Cade Bambara, “The Salt Eaters”

 

When people ask me how I’m doing, I feel a little confused and pause for a moment. In my mind I want to talk about this deep sense of heaviness and despair that feels like mourn­ing with and for the world. I want to say that a part of me doesn’t feel good enough, that this was a feeling I was born into, trained in, and encouraged to accept–that I do not remember experience before this.

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Practicing the Good Heart

· Articles & Essays · ,

by Tenzin Palmo

Many years ago, His Holiness the Dalai  Lama came to the remote Lahaul Valley in India where I was living. He was there for about one week, giving Dharma talks and empowerments. After one of his talks, which had lasted for several hours, I turned to one of the Lahauli women and asked, “Do you know what he was talking about?”

She said, “I didn’t catch much. But I understood that if we have a good heart, that’s excellent.” And that is basically it, isn’t it? But let’s explore just what we mean by a good heart.

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I, Lalla

· Poems · ,

by Lal Ded

Some run away from home, some escape the hermitage.
No orchard bears fruit for the barren mind.
Day and night, count the rosary of your breath,
and stay put wherever you are.

Hermit or householder: same difference.
If you’ve dissolved your desires in the river of time,
you will see that the Lord is everywhere and is perfect.
As you know, so shall you be.

Some, who have closed their eyes, are wide awake.
Some, who look out at the world, are fast asleep.
Some who bathe in sacred pools remain dirty.
Some are at home in the world but keep their hands clean.

 


From I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded, translated by Ranjit Hoskote, Copyright © 2011 by Ranjit Hoskote, used by permission of Penguin Books.

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photo by Taja Ajmi

Standing in the Shadow of Hope

· Articles & Essays · ,

by Austin Channing Brown

Christians talk about love a lot. It’s one of our fa­vorite words, especially when the topic is race.

If we could just learn to love one another …

Love trumps hate . . .

Love someone different from you today . . .

But I have found this love to be largely inconsequential. More often than not, my experience has been that whiteness sees love as a prize it is owed, rather than a moral obligation it must demonstrate. Love, for whiteness, dissolves into a demand for grace, for niceness, for endless patience—to keep everyone feeling comfortable while hearts are being changed. In this way, so-called love dodges any responsibility for action and waits for the great catalytic moment that finally spurs accountability.

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photo by Nour C.

A Great Challenge

· Articles & Essays · ,

by Thanissara

In Zen practice, the journey of awakening is placed within the meta­phor of ascending the mountain and returning to the marketplace with bliss­ bestowing hands. While enlightenment was the culmination of Siddhar­tha’s search, it was also the beginning of another journey. His insight still had to be honed, tested, and communicated to the people around him. He didn’t ascend to heaven, or float away in nibbanic bliss, or have a jeweled crown placed on his head to be adored forevermore. This is a childish view, which some people attempt to live, manipulating the world and others to accommodate their spiritual narcissism and inflation, usually with dubious results. After awakening, even in small ways, we have the challenging task of living and demonstrating our understanding within the world. This includes the world of relationship, money, livelihood, including what we say and do, and more important, the consciousness we do it from. The other side of insight and the clarity we hone in meditation is the rather messy business of human life.

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There’s No App For That

· Articles & Essays, Open Access · ,

Technology and Morality in the Age of Climate Change, Overpopulation, and Biodiversity Loss

by Richard Heinberg

Technology has grown with us, side by side, since the dawn of human society. Each time that we’ve turned to technology to solve a problem or make us more comfortable, we’ve been granted a solution. But it turns out that all of the gifts technology has bestowed on us have come with costs. And now we are facing some of our biggest challenges: climate change, overpopulation, and biodiversity loss. Naturally, we’ve turned to our longtime friend and ally—technology—to get us out of this mess. But are we asking too much this time?

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photo by Mike Bitzenhofer

The Fork

· Poems · ,

by Chase Takusei Twichell

A wooden Buddha gazes down
upon my desk from a small shelf
painted the same color as the walls:
Chinese Dragon. Beside him,
a picture Lucy drew when she was six
shows a bird with human face
and the words Have fun being a parrot
written below it in parrot colors.

Earnestly I vow to become one,
sleek-feathered, able to fly pathless
above human traffic in a kingdom
of light and air, no suffering.

I can’t go on feigning surprise
at the kalpas it’s taken so far,
since they’re all my kalpas.

I follow the path, but it forks.
To the right, faint blazes ruckle the bark.
The trail follows the brook all the way to Nirvana,
where I have never been. To the left,
the path soon splits again: right to Nirvana,
left to the trail that forks.

 


From Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been, Copyright © 2010 by Chase Twichell, MRO. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

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photo by Rendiansyah Nugroho

Fear in Two Winters

· Articles & Essays · ,

by Hanif Abdurraqib

When people squint at my name on something in front of them and then ask where I’m from, I tell them “Columbus, Ohio.” When they look again and then, perhaps more urgently, ask where my parents are from, I tell them “New York,” smiling more slightly. Occasionally, I’ll get a person who asks where their parents were from, and I humor that as well. No one has ever gone beyond two generations before me, but I look forward to the day where it all plays out: me in line at the bank, or at a deli, someone attempting to trace my lineage to a place they feel makes sense. Me, eventually saying, “Well, I’d imagine Africa came into play at some point, but now I’m here, so who can say really?”

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