-isms and the need to belong

“The desire to…the identity to belong is based on fear, and inclusion and exclusion. The aspiration to awaken is prepared to negotiate all of those boundaries.”

I was particularly struck by Ajahn Thanasanti’s words in this conversation with Gina Sharpe because of my own strong desire to be inclusive, which is then reflected in a corresponding aversion to any sense of exclusion and perhaps paradoxically, if unchecked, results in the same! Sadly, I sense a lot of “clubby” behavior, particularly online.

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Not enough

Who among us has not suffered the thought “I’m not ___ enough” at some point or another. Whether it’s physical (not strong enough), or intellectual (not smart enough), or psychological (not sensitive enough)…it all comes down to not good enough. And that’s a pretty awful way to feel. In most cases, it’s just a thought. It’s not true at all.

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What is the importance of long-term retreat practice?

“It may be obvious that planes fly and boats don’t sink, but who is to say whether a person is enlightened or not?”–Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

As a follow-up to my previous post, I wanted to explore a related topic re retreat practice, which emerged in the comments and is also currently being discussed within the context of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association.

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Some challenges of living a contemplative life today

There are several topics that come up a lot for me of late, and they seem to bring up some discomfort and concern around how Buddhism is integrating into Western culture. The issues are:

1) The subject of dana and generosity, and how it has not very successfully been translated here; and

2) The issue of gender inequality and the general lack of (recognized as such) realized women teachers within the Buddhist institution — the same can be said for lack of racial diversity; as well as

3) The challenges for monasticism, particularly for women in the Theravada tradition.

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