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Buddhism

Kosha and khandha, a hypothesis.

Recently, while studying a couple early Tantric texts (the Shiva Sutras and the Heart of Recognition), I found myself thinking about energy and consciousness, which the texts say are the two most fundamental aspects of reality. Feeling into these, and reflecting on various places they appear in the yoga tradition, I thought about the early list of the Five Sheaths …

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Notes toward vinyasa as a meditation practice

Vinyasa yoga, where we flow between poses (asana) synchronizing movement with breath, is sometimes described as a “moving meditation”, and many people are drawn to the physical practice of yoga partly because they find that flowing through a vinyasa class is an easier way to relax and quiet the mind than traditional sitting meditation. I think this is one of …

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Sila, śūnyatā, sex, Sasaki

Yet another venerable American spiritual community is reeling with evidence of the sexual misconduct of its beloved teacher, perpetrated over decades, with many many victims and a culture of silence that is finally being challenged. This is getting really old! This time it’s hitting close to home for me, and as I begin to write this post, my heart is …

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Buddhist not-self meets poststructuralist subjectivity

Sadly, at a time when so much sophisticated cultural criticism by hip intellectuals from diverse locations extols a vision of cultural hybridity, border crossing, subjectivity constructed out of plurality, the vast majority of folks in this society still believe in a notion of identity that is rooted in a sense of essential traits and characteristics that are fixed and static. …

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Path and fruition in Buddhism and the arts

[An essay from my PhD exam process exploring a hypothetical parallel between practice-insight and rehearsal-performance.] Contemplative practice, framed by the various religions, is almost always represented as a Path — the changing of subjective experience from one state or understanding to another more wholesome one — that leads to a definite fruition. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle, with its seven “mansions” …

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“You are the music while the music lasts”: Improvisation, practice, silence, research

 There is a Zen riddle that replies to its own question. ‘Does a dog have the Buddha nature?’ the riddle asks. ‘Answer either way and you lose your own Buddha nature.’  Faced with a mystery about divinity, according to the riddle, we must always hover, uncertain, between the two possible answers. Never, on pain of losing our own divinity, are …

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