Inquiring Mind —In This Issue

Fall 2008 (Vol. 25 #1)

Heavenly Messengers —25th Anniversary Issue

Fall 2008, is our 25th anniversary edition, and is entitled "Heavenly Messengers: Sickness, Old Age, Death and the Path of Practice". Here is a list of the articles featured in this issue.

Meeting the Divine Messengers
Buddhist scholar Bhikkhu Bodhi recounts the legend of young Siddhartha transformed by his meetings with four “divine messengers”—an old person, a sick person, a corpse and a wandering ascetic—and relates it to the stark encounters of modern life.

The Critters Project
In this interview with Yvonne Rand, the Zen teacher describes her practice of contemplating the carcasses of animals in various stages of decay and talks about her “critters” book project featuring photographs by John Bigelow Taylor and Dianne Dubler.

“A dead body, left to decompose, constitutes a unique and complex ecosystem,” writes environmental educator Joanne Lauck, as she reveals the enthusiastic frenzy of a body breaking down.

Closing In from All Sides
In this excerpt from the Samyutta Nikaya, the Buddha prescribes a skillful response to the “rolling in” of aging and death.

You Guys Rock: Resonating with the Archetype
“Bingo!” Twenty-year-old Peter Fernando is transformed by his penetrating encounters with the fourth heavenly messenger—in a photo, in a film and in person.

A Heavenly Beach Bum
On a beach in Java, a divine being points the way for the young Ajahn Amaro.

A Black Hole
After leading “Year to Live” groups for ten years, Bonnie O’Brien Jonsson is diagnosed with breast cancer and faces her own up-close experience of death in what she comes to see as a yearlong cancer “retreat.”

Get Your Dyin’ Done Early
In this excerpt from her memoir, Olivia Hoblitzelle and her Dharma teacher husband bring the gifts of mindfulness and humor to his progressing Alzheimer’s disease.

The Hag
In the voice of the “Hag,” Naomi Newman delivers a tirade on the indignities of aging, reminding us that we “are all doing it!”

Being There
Wise elders Ajahn Sumedho, Toni Packer, Ram Dass and Lou Hartman offer some words on getting old and the serendipitous delights of living.

Nursing Wisdom
Debra Kerr’s tales from a nursing home feature the 104-year-old “General,” a handsome professor and a friend’s dying mother.

Why Burma?
Former Buddhist Peace Fellowship director Alan Senauke challenges Western students of Buddhism to examine our responsibilities to the suffering of the Burmese people—and offers a few possibilities for action.

Found in Translation
Intrigued by the altars of the Mexican Día de los Muertos, Barbara Gates takes a fresh look at the deaths (and lives) of her two fathers and finds a new acceptance of the unrequested turns of life and death.

The Best of Inquiring Mind
Here’s a sneak peek at our new anthology, The Best of Inquiring Mind: 25 Years of Dharma, Drama, and Uncommon Insight, released this fall. Reconnect with your favorite articles and interviews.

Poetry: Death Poems
“Unhurried by their doom” might describe the Japanese poets and Buddhist monks who wrote these traditional poems at the end of life.

Practice: It’s Like This
Ajahn Sumedho contrasts death contemplation and his mother’s funeral.

The Dharma & The Drama
Wes Nisker’s study of the “Hard Sutra” brings his evolutionary reflections to the sufferings of growing older.

Read Our Practice Column: It’s Like This by Ajahn Sumedho