I've recently talked to John Peacock, scholar and Associate Director of The Oxford Mindfulness Centre. His studies of the earliest Buddhist writings have revealed to him a very human Buddha and a very different Buddhism than we know today.
David Chapman has opened a new series of articles entitled "Reinventing Buddhist Tantra." If you're not familiar with David's work so far, especially the series on Consensus Buddhism, please look at the "Consensus: Outline" - for the whole Consensus series, look here. The new series on Buddhist tantra is exciting in that it jumpstarts a curious discussion on possibilities for a 21st century tantric Western Buddhism.
If everyone was miraculously awakened now, most would wish they could restore factory settings.
If you suck at meditation, do not despair. There are other ways. Some more challenging, some more fun.
As if yesterday, 20 years ago I enjoyed the work of Rick Fields and his narrative "How the Swans Came to the Lake", copious writings of Sangharakshita, and later in 2002 the "Westward Dharma" edited by Prebish and Baumann. Reading on Buddhism in the West makes you think of Western Buddhism. 20 years later, and in many ways, too little has changed.
Shingon is an esoteric school of Mahayana, and Mahayana is a bodhisattva doctrine. Bodhisattva is interested in awakening others and himself equally. The general classification of the bodhisattva stages, according to the exoteric teachings, is as follows...