ZINIO logo

Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly Spring 2020

Buddhadharma offers in-depth teachings that reflect the wealth and range of Buddhist traditions, expert book reviews, and first-rate reporting on stories of special interest to Buddhists. It’s a precious resource for readers who want to deepen their understanding of Buddhist practice and philosophy.

Shambhala Sun Foundation
2 Issues

in this issue

3 min

STEPHEN BATCHELOR began his Buddhist studies in 1972 in India, received full ordination as a bhikkhu in 1979, and disrobed in 1985, following three years of training in Korean Seon. The author of Buddhism Without Beliefs and cofounder of Bodhi College, he is known for his secular approach to the dharma. He is married to dharma teacher and author Martine Batchelor, whom he met in Korea, where she trained as a Seon nun for ten years. KRITEE (dharma name Kanko) is a Rinzai Zen priest, climate scientist, and founder of Boundless in Motion, a community in Boulder dedicated to “Zen meditation and strategic activism.” A microbiologist and isotope biogeochemist by training, she is a senior scientist in the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Program, through which she helps implement climate-smart farming in…

1 min
about the art

THE IMAGE ON this issue’s cover, the head of a Buddha statue at a coal yard near China’s Yellow River, was captured by French photographers Sébastien Tixier (above) and Raphael Bourelly (right). The owner of the coal mine built a golden statue more than thirty-five feet high; when the head was damaged, no one felt comfortable destroying it or disposing of it, so it remains in the coal field, an emblem of impermanence. The photo is from their series Shan Shui, meaning “Mountains Water.” Using collage, paper folding techniques, and mixed media, German photographer Alma Haser (right) raises questions about her subjects and explores the possibilities of portraiture. The details from the series Twin Puzzle (page 70) reveal Haser’s fascination with identical twins—she breaks photos of twins into puzzle pieces, then…

3 min
true practice is never disengaged

NOWADAYS I WAKE UP even earlier than usual to check the news. It’s an obsession but it feels like a duty; I’m a sentry in a war zone, scanning the horizon for smoke and fire. Threats multiply every day. Environmentally, socially, politically, and technologically, the world seems locked in a death spiral. I feel overwhelmed and, to be honest, complicit. What have I done to alter the course of human ignorance, greed, and hatred? Clearly not enough. Then I go sit. As Buddhist practitioners, indeed, as citizens of planet Earth, we might wonder if there’s a better use of our time than sitting still in silence. Shouldn’t we be raising our voices, righting wrongs, and fighting the good fight? There are people to help and causes to champion, protests to organize and…

7 min
ask the teachers

BHANTE SUJATO: In 2014 I coauthored, with Bhikkhu Brahmali, a book called The Authenticity of the Early Buddhist Texts. The “early Buddhist texts” are essentially the main parts of the Pali suttas and vinaya, as well as the cognate texts in Chinese and other languages. We examined a wide variety of textual features: historical, linguistic, political, geographic, doctrinal, archaeological, and more. We showed that these can best be explained by the simple, rational thesis that the texts stem primarily from the teachings of the historical person known as the Buddha, as collected and edited by his followers. There are skeptical scholars who resist this conclusion. But in their analyses they usually pick out just one or two details, scorning any serious attempt to acknowledge the nature and scope of the evidence…

21 min
what if our ordinary experience is all that matters?

EACH TIME I sit down on a cushion and pay attention to what is happening, I find myself utterly incapable of putting whatever it is I’m experiencing into words. There’s something about the practice of meditation, be it Seon or any exercise in which we are asked just to pay attention to what is happening, in which we find ourselves confronted with what philosophers call the sheer facticity of our existence. This is the inescapable fact of being this being that I am. When I look inside, or say to myself, “I’m looking inside,” whatever that might mean, I seem to hit up against something that is intimately present to me but impossible to define. It always strikes me in the first instance as a particular sensation in the body, in the…

9 min
why bodhisattvas need to disrupt the status quo

FOR THE PAST DECADE, I have been researching the climate impacts of different food production practices, which is important because our global food system contributes more than a third of all human-generated climate pollution. Recently I had the opportunity to present my research to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which brought me—briefly—a sense of empowerment in the face of the climate crisis. But my deeper truth is that I find myself working with intense climate grief. I’m not alone. A growing number of climate scientists and activists report sleeplessness, anxiety, and even panic attacks. Many are overwhelmed by grief or anger. If I were not engaged in regular meditation and grief practices, as well as strategic actions with an ever-widening circle of ecodharma activists, I know I would be…