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Ron Epstein [28]Ronald M. Epstein [3]Ronald Epstein [2]
  1. Ron Epstein, A Modest Proposal Regarding Genetic Engineering in Mendocino County.
    The new millennium will be ushered in by the biotech century. The earlier we prepare the better. In the short term, we will be affected in these main areas: medical treatment; industrial, agricultural, and forest use; and food. First, let us take a brief look at some problems with the use of genetic engineering in agriculture and in our food. Then I would like to make some simple suggestions about steps we can take to assess the situation here in Mendocino (...)
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  2. Ron Epstein, Mahāmaudgalyāyana Visits Another Planet a Selection From the Scripture Which is a Repository of Great Jewels.
    The following story is about the Venerable Mahā-maudgalyāyana,[2] an enlightened disciple of the historical Buddha Śākyamuni. Mahā-maudgalyāyana travels to a distant solar system, to a planet which is inhabited by giant people, and on which there is also a Buddha with disciples practicing under his guidance. The story, which brings to mind Swift’s Gulliver in the land of the giants, is remarkable in many respects. The Buddha and Mahā- maudgalyāyana both probably lived during the fifth and sixth centuries BCE. In (...)
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  3. Ron Epstein, Remembrance and Gratitude.
    After having been invited to the United States by some disciples from Hong Kong, the Master established a Buddhist Lecture Hall in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1962. In 1963, because some of the disciples there were not respectful of the Dharma, he left Chinatown and moved the Buddhist Lecture Hall to a first-floor flat in a run-down Victorian building on the edge of San Francisco's Fillmore District and Japantown. The other floors of the building contained individual rooms for rent with (...)
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  4. Ron Epstein, The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra.
    Reversing the light to shine within, Avalokiteshvara Enlightens all the sentient beings, thus he is a Bodhisattva. His mind is thus, thus, unmoving, a superior one at peace. His total understanding of the ever-shining makes him a host and master. When the six types of psychic powers become an ordinary matter, Then even less can the winds and rains of the eight directions cause alarm. Rolling it up retracts it and keeps it secretly hidden away. Letting it go expands it (...)
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  5. Ron Epstein, The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua Brings the Dharma to the West.
    The Venerable Master's vision was as vast as the Dharma Realm, and he taught and transformed all beings without regard to path of rebirth, country, ethnic origin, religion, and so forth. There are two countries, however, where he had special affinities in this life: China and the United States. Although the majority of his disciples are Chinese, history will probably remember him primarily for his work in bringing the teachings of the Buddha to the people of the West.
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  6. Ronald Epstein, The So-Called Lay "Sangha" in America.
    Many of America's new Buddhists are spreading the idea that they are a "sangha" and that their lay "sangha" movement is the correct adaptation of Buddhism to the American scene. Where does this peculiar and dangerous idea come from?
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  7. Ron Epstein, A Buddhist Perspective on Animal Rights.
    I want to relate to you two striking examples of animals acting with more humanity than most humans. My point is not that animals are more humane than humans, but that there is dramatic evidence that animals can act in ways that do not support certain Western stereotypes about their capacities.
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  8. Ron Epstein, Animals for Dinner - a Karmic Tale.
    "Oh, no, no," she replied. "You don't understand. My husband and I are in a terrible business. The monk here, who is my spiritual teacher, told me that we should sell it or we will face horrible karmic retribution, but we just can't seem to extricate ourselves. I just try to create a little merit to help us, but I know it is not enough.".
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  9. Ron Epstein, A Panel Discussion on the Interior Life.
    When Dharma Master Heng Shun called to invite me to speak, he didn’t tell me that I was supposed to speak on the interior life. If he had, I would have said no, because here we have so many experts on the interior life, who are real professionals. I think that’s one of the great contributions of Buddhism to the world. It is a professional curriculum in the interior life. Although we have explorers of the interior life in the West, (...)
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  10. Ron Epstein, Ananda's Search for the Mind in Seven Locations.
    The first series of doctrinal arguments in the Surangama-sutra (T. 945) is concerned with the Buddha's refutation of seven hypothetical locations for the mind proposed by Ananda.The arguments are the first step in the development of the teaching of the entire work. A synopsis of the arguments follows.
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  11. Ron Epstein, "Another Voice: Religion and Measure H" By.
    Measure H is confusing to many people, because the scientific issues involved are complex, and few have the necessary scientific background to analyze them themselves. When those of us of more advanced years were growing up, the university scientific community for the most part was independent and objective, today even the best universities are dependent upon multinational corporations for their funding. Many scientists even have to go out and fund-raise for major portions of their own salaries. Nowhere is the situation (...)
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  12. Ron Epstein, "Another Voice: Some Common Sense About Measure H" By.
    Measure H reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to propagate, cultivate, raise, or grow genetically modified organisms in Mendocino County.” It goes on to exempt any GMOs associated with medical treatment and any GMOs that come into the county through commerce. Genetic modification in the sense in which it is defined in the ordinance refers to genetic engineering, not conventional breeding or hybridizing. GMOs cannot be produced conventionally.
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  13. Ron Epstein, Buddhism and Biotechnology.
    The topic of this panel is "Biotechnology: Boon or Bane for Spiritual Development." It has very often been said that we are on the threshold of the biotech century, and I am sure that all of you are very clearly aware that genetic engineering is going to totally reshape life on this planet in many ways: economically, politically, scientifically--particularly in terms of medicine, and also environmentally. Most important for all of us is what the relationship of this incredible technology will (...)
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  14. Ron Epstein, Buddhism and Measure H: Banning the Growing and Raising of Genetically Modified Organisms in Mendocino County.
    I would like to thank the Sangha for inviting me to speak with you tonight. Some of you may be wondering what Measure H has to do with the Buddhadharma and why we are taking time during the period for sutra lectures to discuss it. I think it's very important to remember that all dharmas are Buddhadharmas, and that the Venerable Master Hua taught us that we have a responsibility towards the country in which we are living. (...) This is one of the few places in the world where we can freely practice Buddhism without interference or oppression from the government. This is a democratic country in which the principle of freedom of religion is practiced. In order to protect freedom of religion and to maintain the democracy in this country, all the people in the country, including us-both lay Buddhists and monastic Buddhists-must act responsibly. If you are a citizen, you have the responsibility to vote intelligently. If you are a teacher, you have a responsibility to teach the students how to be knowledgeable and responsible citizens of this country. And if you are student, you should learn what it means to be a responsible citizen. And if you are in none of those categories, you still have a responsibility to do whatever you can to lessen the suffering of all the sentient beings in this country. That is why it is important that you understand about Measure H and its relationship to the Buddhadharma. (shrink)
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  15. Ron Epstein, Bridging the Gulf Between Monastics and Laypeople.
    The monastic and the layperson are both individuals whose individuality is empty of essential, permanent reality. To the extent that they hold to individual identity, they are deluded. To the extent that they grasp dharmas, such as, ‘I am a nun or laywoman on the Path,’ they are also deluded, but that is an attachment that can lead to non-attachment, and ultimately to enlightenment. The Buddha said.
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  16. Ron Epstein, Clearing Up Some Misconceptions About Buddhism.
    The historical Buddha Shakyamuni denied the divine authority of the Brahmins, the Hindu priestly class. He set up a system of taking refuge with the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) in which a member of the Buddhist monastic community becomes the representative of the Three Jewels and the teacher of individual lay Buddhists. He also set up lineages of enlightened masters, who were entrusted with the task of carrying on the authentic teachings.
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  17. Ron Epstein, Ethical and Spiritual Issues in Genetic Engineering.
    The choices I will be talking about have to do with biotechnology and genetic engineering, choices which we are currently not making consciously because we really don't know what is going on. I would like to tell you what is going on in these areas, and then talk about how we might approach this matter in ethical ways.
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  18. Ron Epstein, Ethnic Buddhadharma?
    Although there are people from the north and people from the south, there is ultimately no north or south in the Buddha nature. The body of the barbarian and that of the High Master are not the same, but what distinction is there in the Buddha nature?
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  19. Ron Epstein, Ethical Dangers of Genetic Engineering.
    From the very first milk you suckle, your food is genetically engineered. The natural world is completely made over, invaded and distorted beyond recognition by genetically engineered trees, plants, animals, insects, bacteria, and viruses, both planned and run amok. Illnesses are very different too. Most of the old ones are gone or mutated into new forms, yet most people are suffering from genetically engineered pathogens, either used in biowarfare, or mistakenly released into the environment, or recombined in toxic form from (...)
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  20. Ron Epstein, Genetic Engineering: A Buddhist Assessment.
    What might it be like to be a Buddhist in a future world where your life started with your parents designing your genes? In addition to screening for unwanted genetic diseases, they would have selected your genes for sex; height; eye, hair, and skin color; and, if your parents are Buddhists, maybe even for genes that allow you to sit easily in the full lotus position. Pressured by current social fads, they may also have chosen genes whose overall functions are (...)
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  21. Ron Epstein, Genetic Engineering: A Major Threat to Vegetarians.
    Imagine a world in which as part of their basic substances tomatoes contain fish and tobacco, potatoes contain chicken, moths and other insects, and corn contains fireflies. Is this science-fiction? No, these plant-animal hybrids already exist today and may soon be on your supermarket shelves without any special labeling to warn you. Furthermore, in a few years the types of these genetically engineered "vegetables" are sure to increase and may very possibly also include human genes. If you are a vegetarian, (...)
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  22. Ron Epstein, Imitating Death in the Quest for Enlightenment.
    The bare bones of the story of Bodhidharma, that strange, bearded, wide-eyed fellow who brought the meditation school of Buddhism that we know as Zen to China, are well known. He sailed from India to Canton and then proceeded to the court of Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty, who asked the Patriarch how much merit he had accumulated from sponsoring the building of temples, the copying of Buddhist scriptures, and the ordination of monks. When Bodhidharma replied, "None," the emperor (...)
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  23. Ron Epstein, Pollution and the Environment: Some Radically New Ancient Views.
    It is very easy to get the feeling here in our local community that we have reached an impasse on pollution and many other environmental issues. The lines are clearly drawn, and all too often loud name-calling drowns out the little meaningful dialogue that is actually taking place. My purpose tonight is to present some ways of looking at environmental questions that are very old, yet which may represent fresh approaches to many of us. Perhaps some of the ideas can (...)
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  24. Ron Epstein, The Inner Ecology: Buddhist Ethics and Practice.
    Buddhists call Buddhism the Buddha Dharma: the Dharma, a collection of methods for getting enlightened, taught by a Buddha, a Fully Enlightened One. Buddhists refer to themselves as people who have taken refuge with the Three Jewels: 1) the Buddhas or Fully Enlightened Ones, 2) the Dharma or methods taught for reaching enlightenment, 3) and the Sangha or community of Buddhist monks and nuns, called Bhikshus and Bhikshunis. In formally becoming a Buddhist one becomes a disciple of a Buddhist master, (...)
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  25. Ron Epstein, The Professor Requests a Lecture From the Monk in the Grave.
    I greatly enjoy meeting with all of you today, because I see you are all especially capable and intelligent young people. In the future you certainly can help America to be even better; you can cause its glory to be even greater. Today I would like to thank Professor Lancaster very much for inviting me here to meet with all of you. I fully see this professor's methods, by which he is able to cause your knowledge to increase daily. So, (...)
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  26. Ron Epstein, The Shurangama-Sutra (T. 945): A Reappraisal of its Authenticity.
    What I would like to do in the next few minutes is to outline very briefly some of my research on the authenticity of the Shurangama-sutra. Although the material is rather complex, I'll do my best to omit what is tedious without sacrificing important points. However, it will be necessary to omit most of the details just in order to get through the material.
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  27. Ron Epstein, The Transformation of Consciousness Into Wisdom.
    (Originally published in Vajra Bodhi Sea , Jan., Feb., Mar., 1985. Copyright by Vajra Bodhi Sea. Permission is granted for single copies made for personal use. Comments and corrections may be sent to the author's e-mail address: namofo@pacific.net.).
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  28. Ron Epstein, Why Genetically Engineered Food Should Be Labeled.
    Genes are the fundamental chemical codes that determine the physical nature of all living things, from the tiniest single-celled organism to human beings. Genes make up the DNA, the cell-level master plan which determines how the organism is going to develop in all ways that are not environmentally influenced.
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  29. Ron Epstein, Why You Should Be Concerned About Genetically Engineered Food.
    Genes are the fundamental chemical codes that determine the physical nature of all living things, from the tiniest single-celled organism to human beings. Genes make up DNA, the cell-level master plan which determines how the organism is going to develop in all ways that are not environmentally influenced.
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  30. Ronald M. Epstein (2013). The Ambiguity of Personhood. American Journal of Bioethics 13 (8):42-44.
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  31. Ronald M. Epstein (2006). Mindful Practice and the Tacit Ethics of the Moment. Advances in Bioethics 10:115-144.
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  32. Ronald Epstein (2003). Ethics Journal of the American Medical Association November 2003, Volume 5, Number 11 Clinical Case 2. Ethics 5 (11):2.
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  33. Ronald M. Epstein, Diane S. Morse, Geoffrey C. Williams, P. LeRoux, A. L. Suchman & T. E. Quill (2003). Clinical Practice and the Biopsychosocial Approach. In Richard M. Frankel, Timothy E. Quill & Susan H. McDaniel (eds.), The Biopsychosocial Approach: Past, Present, and Future. University of Rochester Press.
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