Can anatta be acted out on stage? Is it possible to slam-dunk with mindfulness? How do the muses of poetry talk with the Buddha? In this issue of Inquiring Mind, we explore these questions, examining how the truths of dharma are expressed and realized through the arts of sports, theater, poetry and even idleness.
To begin, performance artist Ruth Zaporah explains Action Theater, her skillful means of taking people out of their personal stories and into the embodied truth of the moment, both on stage and off. Andrew Cooper offers some fascinating comparisons between the worlds of sports and dharma as he explores the athlete’s satori, known as “the zone.” Poet Anne Waldman explores her poetic process and her “vow to poetry” as sacred text. Vipassana teacher Anna Douglas describes a painting process that keeps the painter in the moment. Our poetry page features Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen who, along with their fellow Beats, have played a pivotal role in the transmission of Buddhism to America. Writer Patrick McMahon muses on the inspiration he and others of our generation have found in our dharma ancestor Jack Kerouac, who makes us look straight into the face of suffering, his, ours, and that of the bum on the corner. For our Practice column, engaged Buddhist Ken Jones describes his retreats doing nothing in the mountains of Wales.
Our special section, Centers & Practice, includes excerpts from a lively talk by Robert A. F. Thurman on the importance of monasticism, its usefulness or uselessness. Two retreat centers and styles of dharma teaching are described: Larry Rosenberg’s Cambridge Insight Meditation Center which serves a modern, urban, working-world sangha, and Christopher Reed’s Manzanita Village which offers meditation practice with the flavors of wilderness and a dharma of deep ecology.
From the editors we have, by Wes Nisker, a brief history of our self and, by Barbara Gates, a short story based on a lullaby. At the very end is a word puzzle in the form of a koan by Susan Moon and Wes Nisker.