The Buddhist Review

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Winter 2014

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In This Issue


people sweeping debris after the Indian Ocean tsunami for article on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy


Sea of Sorrow

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, a psychologist who volunteered to help survivors in Thailand recalls her staggering confrontation with death and considers how a Buddhist country coped with the truth of impermanence.

by Ronna Kabatznick | photographs by Philip Blenkinsop


Brief Teachings

The Role of Faith

As a factor of the Buddhist path, faith (saddha) does not mean blind belief but a willingness to accept on trust certain propositions that we cannot, at our present stage of development, personally verify for ourselves. These propositions concern both the nature of reality and the higher reaches of the path. In the traditional map […]

By Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

Brief Teachings

The Benevolence of the True Teachers

Such is the benevolence of Amida’s great compassion, That we must strive to return it, even to the breaking of our bodies; Such is the benevolence of the masters and true teachers, That we must endeavor to repay it, even to our bones becoming dust. ♦ Hymns of the Dharma-Ages, 59.

By Shinran
illustration of a woman who appears to be (metaphorically) on fire for article on karmic retribution

Brief Teachings

Black Fire

During the Gembun era (1736–40), a fire broke out at the neighboring Numazu post station. I sent two of my monks and our old servant Kakuzaemon to find out what was happening. Kakuzaemon came running back, gasping for breath, and made the following report. “Ahh, there is nothing as terrifying or as hateful as fire! […]

By Hakuin

Brief Teachings


God’s joy, wrote Rumi,
moves from unmarked box to unmarked box. I remember my sister’s husband,
 after her stroke, complaining
“Liz is a box. It says
 on the outside Liz, but she’s not there, not the Liz I married.” “Is she simple,” our daughter wondered, noting how the sheer
weight of loss
 had rendered my sister speechless. But […]

By Margaret Gibson

Brief Teachings

Being No One

When you wake in the morning, you may notice a brief period when you’re between sleep and waking, when you’ve left the dreams of the night but haven’t yet entered into the identities and plans of the day. The gap may be extremely small, but if you pay attention you can catch it and prolong […]

By Stephan Bodian

Brief Teachings

The True Self

What is the true self? It’s brilliantly transparent like the deep blue sky, and there’s no gap between it and all living beings. ♦ From The Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo. Reprinted by arrangement with Wisdom Publications, Inc., 

By Kodo Sawaki Roshi

Brief Teachings

Understanding Understanding

Consider, for a moment, the word understand and its synonyms. To stand under. Something is “there” above us and we are below, underneath, looking up. We reach “up” and try to “grasp” it, “catch” it, “capture” it. The origin of the synonym comprehend is “to seize or lay hold of, to hang on to.” And […]

By Lisbeth Lipari
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