New Year Resolutions Buddhist Style

Much of Buddhist practice focuses on mindfulness in the here and now, but as 2012 approaches many of us look at the year ahead. Mr. Gotama said not to fixate on the past or future, and we all know from experience how that can get you lost in a mental ball of string. But intention…

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Episode 97 :: Adam Tebbe :: Sweeping Zen

Sweeping Zen founder Adam Tebbe joins us to speak about contemporary issues in Buddhism.

Many of you have heard me say in the past, “Question with confidence.” That is, we should foster the development of an environment to have open and free inquiry into our beliefs, even those deeply cherished. That idea, question with confidence, was put very well long ago by Thomas Jefferson, who said, “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.”

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Episode 96 :: Tim Gard :: Pain Attenuation Through Mindfulness

Tim Gard speaks with us about a new study just released on pain attenuation through mindfulness.

Hi, everyone. As we mentioned in last week’s episode, we’re fortunate this week in having the author of a new study just released. This study helps shed some light on what happens in the brain when we feel pain, what happens in the brain when we feel pain while in a mindfulness state, and how this is different than what we see in placebo responses to pain. We also examine some of the subtle differences between studies of this kind, and why these distinctions matter.

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The Double-bind of Guru Devotion

Stephen Schettini was asked by a correspondent about his insights on the guru-disciple relationship and the suitability/pitfalls of such a model in the modern age. He was asked, “How did you cope with rejecting those relationships in your own life; and now with your role as a teacher how do you approach this?” First, the…

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Episode 95 :: Britta Hölzel :: Mechanisms of Mindfulness

Dr. Britta Hölzel speaks with us about her recent paper about the potential mechanisms of mindfulness.

What are the mechanisms of a mindfulness state? A recent paper suggests, as a starting point of discussion, that four significant components may be Attention Regulation, Body Awareness, Emotion Regulation, and Sense of Self. As we look at the positive benefits of meditation, it is valuable for us to hypothesize about these qualities of the process, as that can help us think creatively about new areas for scientific investigation.

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The Importance of Compassion without Buddhism

One of the many things I like about the company I’m currently working for is that our CEO uses the following words repeatedly in his All Hands meetings: Mindful, Awareness, Compassion. He speaks of communicating with each other through compassion, being mindful to the needs of others, and staying aware of our cultural needs within the company, and the greater community outside of the company. All of this is spoken without mention of Buddha or Buddhism, and is completely secular.

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Episode 94 :: Sue Blackmore :: Skepticism, Meditation, and Consciousness

Professor Sue Blackmore joins us to speak about meditation, consciousness, and her move from belief in the paranormal to skepticism.

It is fairly well-known that I’m a skeptic. Not to be confused with a cynic, or a denier. As host of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast, Dr. Steven Novella of the New England Skeptical Society, has described:

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Meditation Only?

“Therefore, Ananda, you should live with one’s self as an island, one’s self as a refuge . . . . And how does a monk live like this? Here Ananda, a monk abides contemplating the body as body, earnestly, clearly aware, mindful . . . and likewise with regard to feelings, mind and dhamma.  And…

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