In this, our twentieth-anniversary issue of Inquiring Mind, we offer stories from along the path, by both teachers and sangha members: tales of insight, foolishness, triumphs and pratfalls. We begin with several stories of monks from the Thai forest tradition, excerpted from The Buddha in the Jungle by Kamala Tiyavanich. Next come tales by some of our senior American vipassana teachers—Ruth Denison, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield—about the early days of bringing the teachings from Asia to the West. Brenda Miller offers “How to Meditate,” a touching, funny and beautifully written story of a first vipassana retreat. Doug Booth writes a compelling prison dharma tale. Patrice Clark Koelsh describes committing to her Bodhisattva vow at a wildlife refuge center in “Opening the Heart to the Feathered and Furry.” In “Wan Di Di,” Ronna Kabatznick tells a poignant story of finding healing and insight during a day with three generations of rural Thai women.
We also present three provocative interviews. Drawing from her new book, Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach helps us find freedom from the constricting stories we tell ourselves about our own lives. In “Talkin’ bout our G-G-Generations,” Wes Nisker and Noah Levine compare the dharma of the Beat and hippie generations with that of modern-day punks, recently described by Levine in his spiritual memoir, Dharma Punx. In an important dialogue, two scholars of Islam and Buddhism discuss the resonances and historical connections between these two great world religions.
Finally, in celebration of our anniversary, we allow ourselves to get a little wild and crazy, and you will find the results in a special humor section in the center of this issue. Enjoy.