The Buddhist Review

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Winter 2012

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In This Issue

Special Sections

Special Section

Caring for Our Own

But death is real, Comes without warning. This body Will be a corpse —Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Four Reminders The American way of death—to borrow the title of Jessica Mitford’s landmark exposé of abuses in the funeral industry—has come to us relatively recently. For much of the history of the Western world, care of the […]

By Mary Talbot

Special Section

Molly’s Death

Six of us carried Molly’s body up the narrow, twisting staircase, an embrace so intimate and sweet that the experience remains vivid for me months after her death. Her passing was expected and uneventful, like many I’ve witnessed—a slow withdrawal, a growing acceptance of the inevitable, and a quiet release. Molly had struggled for four […]

By Jake Lorfing
a Tibetan Buddhist sky burial, buddhist death rites

Special Section

Buddhist Death Rites

Hey, noble one! Now you have arrived at what is called “death.” You are going from this world to the beyond. You are not alone; it happens to everyone. You must not indulge in attachment and insistence on this life. Though you are attached and you insist, you have no power to stay, you will […]

By Mary Talbot

Special Section

Remembering Ed Softky

I remember picking up the phone on Thursday and hearing my wife Eva’s voice. I could tell she was crying. “Sweetie,” she said, “Ed was in an accident and was killed.” I felt my knees buckle, and I dropped into the chair behind me. My mind couldn’t accept it. This simply wasn’t possible. Ed Softky […]

By Lawrence Williams

Special Section

What to Think About at Death

I want to remind all of you who are presently sick or dying to think about what I have to say and try to change or go on diligently with your practice. The Buddha spoke of “death-proximate karma” (asanna karma). This kind of karma is really powerful. It can lead us to a better or […]

By Thich Thanh Tu

Special Section

The Longest Hospice Patient

When my father was dying, I wanted to practice a “charnel ground” meditation, or the closest version I could offer. I didn’t leave his bedside. I interviewed him for three mornings, taking notes so that I could write his obituary. I stayed as close to his body as possible by setting up his dialysis exchanges […]

By Cheryl Wilfong


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Parting Words

After a heavy, clinging snow

 “After a heavy, clinging snow, snow falling from pine trees, I like to watch,” said the Zen Master, “a large rib of snow falling from a high branch, then how it bounces off, cascades through lower branches, sometimes to fall sudden, sometimes slow, like the two types of Zen: the flash card koan, the settling […]

By Dick Allen


Angry Cops and Shallow Cads

The Angry Buddhist By Seth Greenland Europa Editions, 2012 400 pp.; $16 paper The cover of my copy of Seth Greenland’s new book The Angry Buddhistshows a dreamy Southern California landscape with palms, a red-tiled roof, a desert mountain, and a swath of blue sky. Hovering in the sky is a quote fromCurb Your Enthusiasm’s […]

By Noelle Oxenhandler

Brief Teachings

Gently Bowing

Imagine for a moment that everything you see, hear, smell, touch, and taste is your very best friend. The spoon in your hand and the distant sound of traffic; the raindrops running down your back and the smell of dirty laundry; the blue sky and the flavor of cumin—these are not mere passing encounters with […]

By Michael Carroll

Editors View

A Gray Matter

If you haven’t heard that Buddhist mindfulness meditation can change your brain for the better, you haven’t opened a magazine or newspaper lately. On the other hand, if you haven’t heard that research supporting such a claim is at best inconclusive, you can’t be blamed—it’s not a view you’re likely to come across as readily. […]

By James Shaheen


Letters to the Editor Winter 2012

Leap of Faith Thank you for publishing Linda Heuman’s brilliant piece,“What’s at Stake as the Dharma Goes Modern?” (Fall 2012). Heuman’s articulate exposition of the fundamental misapprehension that underpins so much of the discussion regarding Buddhism in the West not only helps to clarify that discussion, but also provides an incontrovertible argument for inclusion and […]

By Tricycle


Journey Through Samsara

SamsaraDirected by Ron FrickeProduced by Mark MagidsonReleased August 24, 201299 minutes   Samsara is a film without dialogue or narration, a series of wondrous and occasionally bewildering images set to a vibrant original score. Director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson labored nearly five years to complete the film, traveling to 25 countries and editing […]

By Dan Zigmond


Books in Brief Winter 2012

Anyone who knows Huston Smith from his classic work, The World’s Religions, is in for a surprise with And Live Rejoicing: Chapters from a Charmed Life—Personal Encounters with Spiritual Mavericks, Remarkable Seekers, and the World’s Great Religious Leaders (New World Library, 2012, $15.95, 248 pp. paper). While Smith’s first memoir, Tales of Wonder, outlined the […]

By Emma Varvaloucas

Web Exclusive

Dying & Death Resource Guide

Books and teachings on dying and death take up a weighty shelf in the library of contemporary Buddhist literature and this resource guide is not intended as a list of those works. Rather, what follows are particularly practical sources of information on end-of-life, death care and funeral issues in the U.S. and other western countries, […]

By Tricycle


Featured Contributors Winter 2012

Dick Allen (“After a heavy, clinging snow”) is the current poet laureate of Connecticut, a position he’ll hold until 2015. Allen has studied Buddhism for over 50 years, since meeting Alan Watts one quiet autumn afternoon at Syracuse University, where Allen took the country’s first undergraduate credit course in Zen Buddhism in 1960. Allen is […]

By Tricycle