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Peter Matthiessen

Peter Matthiessen’s Homegoing. "He is the only writer ever to win the National Book Award for nonfiction and fiction, but it’s not just the writing: Born into the East Coast establishment, Matthiessen ran from it, and in the running became a novelist, a C.I.A. agent, a founder of The Paris Review, author of more than 30 books, a naturalist, an activist and a master in one of the most respected lineages in Zen. As early as 1978, he was already being referred to, in a review in The New York Times, as a 'throwback,' because he has always seemed to be of a different, earlier era, with universal, spiritual and essentially timeless concerns." Peter Matthiessen, Lyrical Writer and Naturalist, Is Dead at 86.
posted by homunculus on Apr 5, 2014 - 40 comments

 

How can nothing can be something?

While the concept of shunya or "zero", both as place holder in the decimal system and as "null" or "nothingness" has been historically attributed to the Indian mathematician/astronomer Aryabhata, it was when I went to search for its history and impact that whole new world was revealed. From culture and art to spiritual practice, the concept of zero has captured the imagination of many throughout the ages. Books have been written, its origins debated while the etymology of the word itself sometimes replaces understanding. From a disconcerting concept of nothingness to the ubiquitous misspelling of the one followed by a hundred zeros, Shunya today is more than just the gaping void it originally represented.
posted by infini on Feb 7, 2014 - 55 comments

If you see the Buddha on the road

The Zen Predator of the Upper East Side is an Ebook about the rarely discussed but long-understood-by-insiders phenomenon of the "sexually voracious" Buddhist leader who "preyed on vulnerable women."
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jan 15, 2014 - 32 comments

P.L Travers, Walt Disney and the "Brand Deposit"

Is Saving Mr. Banks, Disney's retelling of the events surrounding the adaptation of Mary Poppins a corporate, borderline-sexist spoonful of lies which throws author P. L. Travers under the bus?
posted by Artw on Dec 18, 2013 - 69 comments

your spaceship has been westinghoused

Teslapunk is a new game for mobile where Nikola Tesla has to save the world, shoot-em-up style. The heavy vintage graphics are by Thorsten Fleisch who is no stranger to metafilter. He also did the music. It doesn't get more indie than this. [more inside]
posted by namagomi on Aug 19, 2013 - 5 comments

"It's here, but I have no names for it."

They're called Pirsig Pilgrims, the motorcycle enthusiasts who follow the route from Minnesota to California that inspired Robert Pirsig's surprise 1974 chart-busting book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."
posted by seemoreglass on Jul 9, 2013 - 53 comments

That rug really tied the room together.

The Dude and the Zen Master is a new book by actor Jeff Bridges and Zen teacher and activist Bernie Glassman, in which the two men spend several days on a Montana ranch discussing the connections between the Dude in "The Big Lebowski" and common Buddhist teachings. [more inside]
posted by flyingsquirrel on Jan 15, 2013 - 33 comments

the end of history illusion

Why You Won’t Be the Person You Expect to Be (NYT): "When we remember our past selves, they seem quite different. We know how much our personalities and tastes have changed over the years. But when we look ahead, somehow we expect ourselves to stay the same... They called this phenomenon the “end of history illusion,” in which people tend to “underestimate how much they will change in the future.”" (via exp.lore) [more inside]
posted by flex on Jan 6, 2013 - 34 comments

Gravity is the only glue

"Rock balancing is an art, discipline, or hobby (depending upon the intent of the practitioner) in which rocks are balanced on top of one another in various positions". Here are a few practitioners:
Phillip A. Long
Renato Brancaleoni
Lila Higgins
Adrian Gray
Michael Grab
Terry Robison uses sticks beside stones
Dave Gorman
Peter Juhl shares basic principles
Team Sandtastic stacks rocks when they don’t build elaborate sand castles
Bill Dan has links to other balancers.
Extra: Balanced sand castles [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Jan 5, 2013 - 18 comments

a symmetrical doodling program

Silk... a symmetrical doodling program, like drawing with strands of silk. (previously)
posted by crunchland on Oct 2, 2012 - 43 comments

The Codeless Code

The Codeless Code. An illustrated collection of (sometimes violent) fables, concerning the Art and Philosophy of software development [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious on Jul 3, 2012 - 62 comments

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Teachings on Right Practice by Shunryu Suzuki, as compiled in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, read by Peter Coyote: "Posture", "Breathing", "Control", "Mind Weeds", "The Marrow of Zen", "Bowing", "Nothing Special"
posted by Trurl on Nov 8, 2011 - 16 comments

The Chain Of Coincidence

One day in 1984 character actor Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day, the original, unaired pilot of Buffy The Vampire Slayer) was walking down the street when Jonathan Demme pulled up and asked if he wanted to see a movie he was finishing. Tobolowsky accepted: taking his girlfriend Beth Henley, they went to the Academy Linwood Dunn Theatre to watch the rough cut of the movie, Stop Making Sense. The audience in the otherwise empty theatre consisted of Tobolowsky, Henley, and Demme, along with members of Talking Heads, including David Byrne and Tina Weymouth. Later, Byrne passed Tobolowsky on his bike and asked if he wanted to work on a new movie. Interest sparked again, and during the ensuing collaboration Tobolowsky shared his past experience of psychic phenomena. Inspired, Byrne went on to write Radio Head. The song was heard by Thom Yorke and became the name of his band. All of this is a true story, based on puzzling evidence. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jul 17, 2011 - 46 comments

The Angry Monk

The Angry Monk [more inside]
posted by MetaMonkey on Sep 27, 2010 - 16 comments

I blow up the dharma like what

The Sickest Buddhist - Arj Barker from The Flight of the Conchords does a rap skewering of materialism in Western Buddhism. (via) Brad Warner offers a more serious critique of "satori porn" (sfw) Beliefnet talks about the branding of Buddhism, where it's used to market everything from mp3 players to perfume to bars to ... toilet paper holders?
posted by desjardins on Dec 11, 2009 - 61 comments

Enlightenment Therapy

Enlightenment Therapy: How a Zen master found the light (again) on the analyst’s couch. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 26, 2009 - 39 comments

Twenty-nine Tao te Chings.

Twenty-nine Tao te Chings, a line at a time. For Sunday evening, a spare, meditative post. The Tao-te-Ching in 29 translations, line by line and side by side. I'll leave you to investigate the writings on your own; here alone are just the words to consider. Suggested: Mitchell. [more inside]
posted by Tufa on Jan 11, 2009 - 99 comments

Happy Bodhi Day/Rohatsu!

Bodhi Day, also known as Rohatsu, celebrates the day when Buddha was enlightened under the bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya (video, annotated photo gallery). How do we celebrate Bodhi Day? Typically, Rohatsu is the last day of a weeklong sesshin (intensive meditation retreat). Better not sleep late, the bell rings at 3:50 am! One person's experience of sesshin. A lesson in mindfulness for Rohatsu, including tips for beginners. Bodhi Day is primarily a Zen tradition. Tibetan buddhists celebrate Buddha's enlightenment in May with the festival of Saga Dawa. Other Buddhist holidays.
posted by desjardins on Dec 8, 2008 - 11 comments

Broken Koans

Broken koans to amuse and enlighten.
posted by RussHy on Oct 14, 2008 - 62 comments

I'm so calm, I've gone loopy!

Flash so good it couldn't wait till Friday: Loops of Zen is a puzzle game where you reconcile all the loose ends so there is no beginning or end. Deceptively simple, yet very relaxing. [more inside]
posted by schyler523 on Sep 18, 2008 - 47 comments

The Dude Abides

Coen Kōans: A koan study in the wisdom of The Big Lebowski.
posted by carsonb on Jul 15, 2008 - 36 comments

Sitting With Fire

Sitting With Fire is a blog running from Tassajara, one of the oldest Zen monasteries in the US. It provides information on the status of Tassajara's residents who have stayed behind to combat the Basin Complex fire. [more inside]
posted by whir on Jul 7, 2008 - 20 comments

Latte it Forward?

The other day, I overheard someone marveling at this story: Impatient jack-ass in Starbucks drive-thru (no, not always synonymous) honks and shouts repeatedly at driver in front of him, a tai-chi master who decides to "change the consciousness" of the jerk by paying for his coffee. The jerk is so moved, that he pays for the coffee of the person behind him, and this "chain of kindness" winds up lasting all day, with everyone paying for the drink behind him. Nice story, right? How odd that the same thing (minus the Jewish zen-master) ccurred almost simultaneously in another part of the country. In this version, the "cheer chain," as the Starbucks employee calls it, was a near-perfect (except for this guy) example of holiday cheer. I guess pre-caffeinated Starbucks customers must possess a surprisingly high amount of holiday spirit. Or maybe it's just the red cups.
posted by ericbop on Dec 17, 2007 - 205 comments

The Zen Mind

The Zen Mind - An Introduction. A Day in the Life of a Zen Monk. Zazen - A Guide to Sitting. Interview with a Zen Buddhist Priest (previously). [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Dec 8, 2007 - 36 comments

The Metaphysics of Quality

Korea, the Beats, Quality, and Mental Illness: A fantastic interview with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance's Robert Pirsig.
posted by malaprohibita on Dec 6, 2006 - 51 comments

Prophets and Profits on the Burning Shore

From organically-farming Zen centers to celebrity-cultivating Scientology centresTM, California is a seedbed of the most earnest (and most frivolous or worse) branches of spiritual inquiry. What's in the water in the Golden State that has made it The Visionary State? In an interview with editor Geoff Manaugh of the excellent BLDGBLOG, author Erik Davis -- whose published passions have ranged from an analysis of Philip K. Dick's "divine invasions" to erudite musings on Led Zeppelin's fourth album to an ode to the joys of being a teenage bongeur -- talks about the formerly chic devil-worshipper Anton LaVey, Beat Zen, Aldous Huxley, the Watts Towers, and beyond, with great photos by Michael Rauner, who collaborated with Davis on the new book.
posted by digaman on Aug 10, 2006 - 30 comments

the truth will set you free

Stripping The Gurus. Sex, violence, abuse and enlightenment. Chogyam Trungpa, the Dalai Lama, Zen masters, exposing the reality behind the facade of various spiritual teachers. Geoff Falk also writes about the spiritual beliefs of rock stars.
posted by nickyskye on Jun 5, 2006 - 66 comments

Bondage for Lumber Fetishists

Zen Bondage (game, non-sexual, large download (~28 MB), Windows only) [more inside]
posted by Bugbread on May 1, 2006 - 18 comments

A Zen Master Blogs...

"My name is Gudo Wafu Nishijima, a Buddist Monk, who is 86 years old, and recently because of my old age, I finished my Buddhist lectures, which were held at many places for many years, and so I decided to open Dogen Sangha Blog, to express the Buddhist thought. It might be very short sentences, but I would like to continue it as far as possible almost every day."

The blog of Zen Master Gudo Wafu Nishijima, founder of Dongen Sangha Buddhist group. Learn from his video, How to Practice Zazen, or read some of Nishijima Roshi's lectures and articles, including the interesting talk, Zazen, A Better Way of Experiencing Pain.
posted by MetaMonkey on Feb 25, 2006 - 44 comments

Can you spare a dollar or two billion for the lesser off?

Bill Gates or Steve Jobs? Who is changing the world more for the better? Some people believe Bill Gates and Microsoft are the Spawn of Satan, while others praise him for his philanthropy. [subs. req'd] Steve Jobs has more buzz on the internets than Bill Gates and a near religious following for his products with Apple. One might not give like the other, but one definitely is much more Zen-like.
posted by Mijo Bijo on Jan 25, 2006 - 92 comments

Shamanic Crisis?

So You Wannabe A Shaman, Huh? Or got a Spiritual/Shamanic Crisis? Trouble with Mystical and Psychotic Perceptions of Reality? Some tips on How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later may help. Maybe just go watch Predator, with a Shaman's view. Or skip the lot and Transcend Duality.
posted by MetaMonkey on Nov 21, 2005 - 33 comments

Koans

A collection of Zen koans to help ease you into the week. There's another collection here, and some more here. There may be overlaps between the three collections, but I have no doubt people will simply ask themselves what it means to encounter the same koan over and over again. The answer lies in the contemplation. This has always been my favorite.
posted by OmieWise on Sep 12, 2005 - 43 comments

101 Zen Stories

101 Zen Stories.
posted by sciurus on Mar 8, 2005 - 28 comments

How it is that we have come to invade Iraq

How it is that we have come to invade iraq Zen teacher Sevan Ross, on the reasons for our invasion of Iraq.
posted by tranceformer on Nov 8, 2004 - 43 comments

Do not zzz!

Zen. A nice flash intro. Use the mouse, Grasshopper!
Yes, it shows lack of enlightenment to smite the buzzing fly, but it's the only way you'll get into the site, so overcome your Buddha-nature for once in your life.
posted by languagehat on Jul 25, 2004 - 16 comments

Flash Zen Garden

Flash Zen Garden. Rake away. Via littlefluffy.
posted by brownpau on May 28, 2004 - 10 comments

Hardcore Dharma

Dharma Punx, Hardcore Zen. Buddhism is so punk!
posted by homunculus on Mar 20, 2004 - 19 comments

In clapping both hands a sound is heard: what is the sound of the one hand?

What is the sound of one hand clapping? An interesting excerpt from The Sound of the One Hand: 281 Zen Koans With Answers that involves a dialogue between the master and the student that answers this koan. (I suppose this could technically be considered a spoiler.)
posted by antifreez_ on Dec 3, 2003 - 30 comments

CSS Zen Garden

CSS Zen and the art of motorcycle website maintainance; a stunning demonstration of what can be accomplished visually through CSS–based design.
posted by riffola on May 10, 2003 - 36 comments

Random Relaxation

"Humility cannot be a majority decision." In these times of tension and trouble, the randomly generated wisdom of Zentances comes as a whiff of precious fresh air. Lest you forget, "Beauty can make everything beautiful".
posted by BrodieShadeTree on Feb 20, 2003 - 9 comments

rakes are not just for leaves

Ryoan-ji (Temple of the Peaceful Dragon) is possibly the best known of all rock gardens. The entire design consists of fifteen rocks arranged in a large bed of raked gravel, and on the outskirts there are many benches so that visitors may contemplate its meaning and find inner peace. Ryoan-ji inspired the design of the very first mini-zen garden, according to the self-proclaimed inventor, who also pays homage to Ryoan-ji with beautiful photographs. For those who might like to try making their own source of inner peace and harmony, not to mention taking up that awkward space on their coffee table, check out the unabashedly exuberant version by Crafty Chica, who always celebrates her Mexican-American roots with color and verve and quirky charm.
posted by iconomy on Nov 18, 2002 - 9 comments

Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors.

Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors. "Pick out the stories that sound interesting. Read this hypertext book from 'cover' to 'cover,' or at random, or use the links at the bottom of each story to connect to other stories with similar themes. There's no right or wrong way to do this."
posted by Joey Michaels on Oct 25, 2002 - 13 comments

The power of zen

The power of zen sometimes we all need to take a moment and enjoy a site like this, very cool flash.
posted by h0ney on Oct 13, 2001 - 13 comments

surf art!

surf art! tote the zen of the wave... and sprinkle a bit of post-colonial critique in to boot!
Does anyone know of other ventures into this field?
posted by mrjoy on Apr 2, 2001 - 2 comments

We've heard of intelligence and emotional intelligence, but what about spiritual intelligence? Gary Zukav is spiritually brilliant. He frequently appears on Oprah, from which I assume (accepting all implicit risks) that his audience consists largely of women. Which is too bad, because men have quite a lot to learn from this man as well, and it would do a world of good (being, unjustly, a man's world) if every man did.
posted by sudama on Sep 20, 2000 - 39 comments

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