Category Archives: American Pilgrimage

Web-diary of my journey across the United States in search of spirituality.

Meditation in New York City: Can Buddhism Thrive in the Heart of Capitalism?

Recently I was writer in residence at the Zen Center of New York City. I would rise early in the morning for zazen, then return at night to meditate once more. For the rest of the time, I wandered the … Continue reading

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Why Faith is Essential for Conquering Demons

Every time I’ve gone on long meditation retreats, I’ve had very intense dreams, and sometimes nightmares. I don’t know why this happens. I suspect it’s because I’m penetrating deeper levels of the mind, unlocking demons. This happened every night while … Continue reading

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On Spiritual Quackery

In Buddhist America, I have encountered a certain personality type over and over again. I’m not sure what the right word for it is: narcissist? quack? fundamentalist? Or simply one who is overenthusiastic, pretending to be, or believing they are, … Continue reading

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How I Meditated as a Hermit on a Californian Mountain

From September 1st to September 14th I did not see another human being. I lived in a hut high in the Santa Cruz mountains among the redwoods, and meditated for 8 hours a day. My companions were deer, squirrels, woodpeckers, … Continue reading

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A Vipassana Course

There are times when I despair of meditation. There are so many problem in the world, so much call for action, and yet I spend 20 or 30 days every year in silence, ostensibly doing nothing. This is the story … Continue reading

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