Zen teacher John Tarrant announces the theme for this issue of Inquiring Mind by eloquently evoking the tension between spirit and soul, between the realms of the absolute and relative, the dharma and the drama.
Our interview with Tarrant is followed by excerpts from Stephen Mitchell’s novel Meetings with the Archangel, calling on an other-worldly being to point out the richness of our struggles in the human realm. A selection from Theravada teacher Ayya Khema’s Be An Island reminds us as well that dukkha can be our friend.
Buddhist/environmental writer Stephanie Kaza guides us through the earthly realm—that of the animals, plants and the life of Gaia herself—that calls out so urgently to many souls in our time. Kaza offers Buddhist perspectives on the ecological crisis culled from many lineages and ages.
In a second section, focused on meditation and adolescents, we explore how the soul and spirit may cooperate in the task of transmitting our wisdom to the next generation. Soren Gordhamer describes teaching meditation in a juvenile detention center, and Michelle McDonald-Smith tells us about the Young Adults Retreat at the Insight Meditation Society. Writer Rick Fields’ touching essay and poem portray the illuminating wisdom shown by fifteen-year-old Gabe Catalfo as he lived with cancer.
On our poetry pages, we feature the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Lisel Mueller.
In the “Sangha Speaks” column, Stephen Fulder searches his Jewish tradition for teachings that resonate with his dharma practice and understanding. On the “Practice Page,” Vipassana teacher Carol Wilson ask us, “Do we want to be comfortable, or do we want to be free?”
Earth Angels by Bette Alexander are life-size works made of mud, burlap and paint. They are mysterious presences that recall hardships of life and connections to the earth. They create an atmosphere of silence that allows the viewers’ own mediations come to the fore.
For budgetary reasons, we are focusing on archiving Inquiring Mind’s original articles, interviews and poetry. For the most part, we are leaving out anything that was adapted or excerpted from a book or other publication.
“The Zen of Heaven” by Stephen Mitchell, comprising excerpts from Meetings with the Archangel (HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1998)
“Our Old Friend Dukkha” by Ayya Khema, Adapted from Be An Island: The Buddhist Practice of Inner Peace (Wisdom Publications, 1999)
Excerpts from Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism, coedited by Stephanie Kaza and Kenneth Kraft (Shambhala Publications, 1999)
“Why We Tell Stories,” “Joy,” “Fugitive” and “What the Dog Perhaps Hears” by Lisel Mueller, excerpted from Alive Together: New and Selected Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 1996)