Episode 166 :: David Webster :: Dispirited: How Contemporary Spirituality Makes Us Stupid, Selfish and Unhappy

David Webster Author and teacher David Webster joins us to speak about his book, Dispirited: How Contemporary Spirituality Makes Us Stupid, Selfish and Unhappy. What happens when we have the ability to pick and choose components from various religious traditions, and try to integrate them into our practice? This cafeteria spirituality as it’s sometimes called,…

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Cultivating Compassion

This is to be done by one skilled in aims Who wants to break through To the state of peace: . . . As a mother would risk her life To protect her child, her only child, Even so should one cultivate a limitless heart With regard to all beings. Khuddakapatha 9, trns Thanissaro Bhikkhu…

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Out of the Food Chain to Compassion

I’m struggling with aversion. In recent years, I’ve become really bothered by how humanity has just taken over the planet without regard to habitats, and the needs of other animals. I’ve noticed this more¬† because of my photography hobby, where I get out to take nature photos and pix of animals. A few years ago,…

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Why Do We Keep Practicing?

I had an email exchange recently with a gentleman who asked some very good questions, and thought it might prompt some helpful discussion here on the site. Names and identity details were removed. Email One To: Webmaster I just got through listening to your interview on Books and Ideas podscast. I … attended the local…

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Making Peace in my Own Backyard

I sat and just allowed myself to feel the emotion of anger roiling within my body, tightening my stomach, clenching at my throat. While there was this rush of excitement, the anger itself in the body was distinctly uncomfortable, disconcerting.

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Episode 165 :: Leigh Brasington :: Sutta Jhanas

Leigh Brasington Leigh Brasington joins us to speak about what the Pali canon suttas have to say about practicing the jhanas. In traditional Theravadin Buddhism, there’s this thing called the Eightfold Path. It is the process by which we abandon the fetters, those pesky things that lead us to regular encounters with dissatisfaction in life.…

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On Gutting on Happiness

What really makes us happy? In a New York Times online post, Catholic philosopher Gary Gutting looks with a somewhat jaundiced eye on the nascent discipline of “happiness studies”.* He gives four conditions for happiness, which make for interesting reading and contemplation, particularly from a Secular Buddhist perspective. They are: good luck, fulfilling work, sense…

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What are the Three Marks of Existence?

The Three Marks of Existence is important in Buddhism, because it means we start to see things, situations as they really are. Everything is impermanent, suffering is a part of existence (for living things anyway), and nothing exists in and of itself, without dependencies. The three marks of existence is not an idea or theory…

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Episode 164 :: Sebene Selassie :: New York Insight Meditation Center

Sebene Selassie Sebene Selassie, Executive Director of New York Insight Meditation Center, joins us to speak about organizational models in contemporary Western sanghas. Times change. We’re not in Deer Park or Vulture’s Peak two and a half thousand years ago, we’re in Central Park and Pike’s Peak in the twenty-first century. What people do, what…

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Secular Buddhism, Thin and Thick

There is an important split in the way many of us approach Secular Buddhism. Some of us want a “big tent” form of Secular Buddhism that welcomes believers from any and all faith backgrounds who are looking for a way to incorporate meditative practice within the context of their own views about religion, salvation, God,…

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