These uneasy times and a plunging Dow Jones (and longer — or is it shorter — skirts?) made me think back to a special section Tricycle put out way back in 1996 called Money: The Mirror of Mind. Why is money the mirror of mind? José Reissig writes in A Visible Illusion: The Truth About Money:

As things stand now, whenever money enters the picture, whenever a transaction is mediated by it, our obstinacy in seeing it as separate tends to prevail: instead of a link we find disconnection. The web develops a gap. We forget that we are coparticipants in the creation of money. We give it an authority that ought to belong to us all. We see it as alien, and it alienates us. We see it as separate from morality and, sure enough, it behaves immorally. We cast it as the instrument of profiteering and prostitution and, inevitably, it profiteers and prostitutes. But if we were able to see that money simply emerges out of that web – that it’s not separate – then each transaction would become an enactment of our intimacy with the world, keeping the interconnections flowing instead of choking them off.

Indeed, but the article Dharma on No Dollars a Day may be more appropriate for 2008. Daniel Naistadt in The Money Mind tells us Trungpa Rinpoche referred to money as mother’s milk — “an elemental source of nourishment, one that would ‘dry up’ if we tried to hold on to it.” Plus there’s a piece by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on the traditional Buddhist economy. In addition to its special section on Money, the Winter 1996 issue also featured an interview with the late, great Spalding Gray (by Francine Prose no less) and a profile of Ta Tsung, a Ch’an monk living in rural Tennessee, not far from Sewanee, the University of the South.

Plus, the great Peter Matthiessen has won the National Book Award for Shadow Country, which is one book slightly condensed from a previously published trilogy. Maxine Hong Kingston is also mentioned as winning an honorary award.

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