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Eight Common Meditation Mistakes

There are many different ways to meditate. Even within Buddhism, the various meditation schools don’t all approach meditation exactly the same way. Further, the “best” way to meditate varies from one person to another; there isn’t necessarily any “one size

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Buddhism in Cambodia

The population of Cambodia is approximately 95 percent Theravada Buddhist, as high a percentage as anywhere in Asia. Cambodian Buddhism is associated with the historic Ankgor Wat temple, a jewel of Khmer civilization. The Khmer, who have lived in what

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Dedication of Merit

The dedication of merit is a spiritual practice that, as far as I know, is unique to Buddhism. Further, it appears to be a practice found in all schools of Buddhism. However, it’s often a practice overlooked by westerners who

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Amitabha, Buddha of Boundless Light

Amitabha Buddha is one of the most prominent “celestial” Buddhas of Mahayana. In China and Japan he is the principal Buddha of the Pure Land school and one of the most commonly represented figures in Buddhist iconography. He is also

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Attachment to Buddhism, and Why It’s a Problem

Occasionally when Buddhist talk about the problem of attachment, someone will raise a hand and say, “Is it bad to be attached to Buddhism?” Yes, it is unskillful, in fact. Then, often, the next comment is, “Well, then, I’ll stay

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Review: The Making of Buddhist Modernism

Anyone trying to make sense of contemporary western Buddhism would do well to read The Making of Buddhist Modernism by David McMahan (Oxford University Press, 2008). McMahan, associate professor of Religious Studies at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, provides

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Review: A Death on Diamond Mountain

There are few things I enjoy more than an engrossing book, and I want to thank Scott Carney for writing this one. A Death on Diamond Mountain: A True Story of Obsession, Madness and the Path to Enlightenment kept me thoroughly

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Perfection of Knowledge

We don’t talk about knowledge all that much in Buddhism. The emphasis is on wisdom, which is something else. But in the Mahayana Ten Perfections, the Perfection of Knowledge — Jnana Paramita — is number ten. Before we plunge into a discussion

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Dayi Daoxin: Fourth Patriarch of Zen

The Six Zen Patriarchs are the first six masters of Zen Buddhism. Every Zen teacher alive today counts them as her or his dharma ancestors. Dayi Daoxin (or Tao-hsin; 580-651 CE) is recognized in all schools of Zen as the

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Faithless Faith

The Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference in Washington DC ended a few days ago. An annual event, this year’s shindig turned into a contest over which potential 2016 Republican presidential nominee could blow the loudest dog whistles.

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