The Buddhist Review

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Fall 1995

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In This Issue

Special Sections

Special Section

Buddhism Beat & Square

One afternoon in 1953, a young poet named Allen Ginsberg visited the First Zen Institute which was then still housed in an elegant private uptown apartment in New York City. Ginsberg occupied himself by perusing the Zen paintings, records and books in the library. But he did not stay very long: the whole atmosphere of […]

By Rick Fields
Jack Kerouac in New York City, 1953

Special Section

The Rucksack Revolution

Following the success of On the Road, Jack Kerouac wrote The Dharma Bums in 1957. The novel, which predicted the “great rucksack revolution” of the 1960s, relates the wanderings of Ray Smith (Kerouac), often in the company of his friends Japhy Ryder (Gary Snyder) and Alvah Goldbook (Allen Ginsberg).

By Jack Kerouac

Special Section

Reading Back

I kept a journal when I went to Japan in January of 1960 to join my husband-to-be, a Beat poet and student of Rinzai Zen living in Kyoto. I continued keeping a journal during the four years I spent there—an account of housewifely copings with an unfamiliar culture, social doings of the foreign community, experiences […]

By Joanne Kyger

Special Section

Buddhism & the Beat Generation

“The empty blue sky of space says ‘All this comes back to me, then goes again, and comes back again, then goes again, and I dont care, it still belongs to me’—The blue sky adds ‘Dont call me eternity, call me God if you like, all of you talkers are in paradise: the leaf is […]

By Carole Tonkinson


illustration of a rakusu being washed


The Buddha’s Robe

I am sewing my first rakusu—the rectangular bib-like garment that is worn by Zen Buddhists. It is formally conferred during jukai, the ceremo­ny of taking refuge in the Buddha and receiving the precepts. Unlike many people I know, I have never wanted a rakusu. I do have a narrow black doth band (a wagesa) that […]

By Noelle Oxenhandler
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In the News

In the News Fall 1995

Change Your Mind Change Your Mind (CYM), Tricycle’s second annual day of meditation in Central Park, opened with a surprising and auspicious event: a white heron flying above the grassy slopes of Mineral Springs Hill. Only after it circled twice, on the morning of June 4, did Michele Laporte hit a large Japanese temple gong […]

By Tricycle

On Translation


We all know what happens when a fire goes out. The flames die down and the fire is gone for good. So when we first learn that the name for the goal of Buddhist practice, nibbana (nirvana), literally means the extinguishing of a fire, it’s hard to imagine a deadlier image for a spiritual goal: […]

By Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Shakyamuni Buddha: A Life Retold

The Buddha-charita Part II

This installment is the second in a series of excerpts from The Buddha-charita or Life of Buddha, the first complete biography of Shakyamuni Buddha, written by the poet Ashvaghosha, probably in the first century C.E. The Buddha-charita is made up of twenty-eight songs recounting events in the Buddha’s life up to the time of his […]

By Ashvaghosha


Alexandra David-Néel

Alexandra David-Néel lived 100 years. She was born in France in 1868, the period of la belle epoque, and died there in 1969, soon after the student riots in Paris. In between she spent fourteen years studying Buddhism in Asia and, at the age of 55, became the first Western woman to enter the Tibetan […]

By David Guy

Mind On-Line

The First Noble Truth of Cyberspace

In a course I teach at MIT on democracy and the Internet, we were talking about the social impact of migrations in cyberspace (i.e., the capacity to move freely into networks and services that had previously existed as unconnected, self-contained islands). For example, America Online (AOL) had been a self-contained cyberspace continent whose users were […]

By Mitchell Kapor

From The Academy

The H Word

In 1987, the Zen Buddhist Temple of Ann Arbor, Michigan, sponsored a conference on “World Buddhism in America.” The title was meant to convey the fact that representatives from various Buddhist traditions had gathered to talk about the current problems and prospects for their respective traditions in the United States. There were representatives from the […]

By Donald S. Lopez Jr.


Letters to the Editor Fall 1995

Is the Pope Catholic? In considering the disparaging views on Buddhism in the Pope’s recent book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Donald Lopez identifies their source as “nineteenth-century mis­sionary literature,” which reflects the assumptions of our “colonialist and Orientalist past.” While this is indeed the case, a more immediate source appears to have been much closer […]

By Tricycle

On Gardening

Kokopelli’s Sack

For the late-season gardener there is no escape from the great ripening of August. The hands of every gardener are stained tell-tale brown with the gummy residue of unruly Ailsa Craig tomato plants. Try as we may to find a place of repose away from the incessant chatter of the cockscomb plants gossiping with the […]

By Wendy Johnson

Editors View

Bombs and Baby Bears: Toys “R” Us

Sifting through the images of Oklahoma City for signs of continuity and renewal, the most poignant to emerge—the saddest and the most disturbing—is that of a city whose grief came to be symbolized by the sudden presence of teddy bears. Men, women, and children alike seemed to clutch these comfort toys to their chests as […]

By Helen Tworkov


Dharma Doors

The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha Translated by Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu BodhiWisdom Publications: Boston (1995).1412 pp., $75.00 (cloth). This new translation offers the complete text of the Majjhima Nikaya, a collection of 152 suttas that are among the oldest teachings of Buddhism. Here, the Buddha addresses a remarkable range of listeners, from princes and philosophers to […]

By Clark Strand