July 30, 2015

In “Being Peace” Thich Nhat Hanh writes:

 

“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud there will be no water; without water, the trees cannot grow; and without trees you cannot make paper. So the cloud...

July 28, 2015

In a previous meditation I wrote about rebirth and why I don’t think it’s something we need to be concerned about.  Now, I know what some of you were thinking, “But what about Karma?  If we’re not reborn how does positive and negative karma affect us?”  Good question,...

July 26, 2015

When we think of a Tea Ceremony we normally think of an hours long Japanese ritual that is as little understood in the West as it is under-appreciated.  But this is a ceremony that grew up within Japanese culture as a way of mindfully experiencing the act of drinking t...

July 22, 2015

I don’t know...  I’m a Pragmatic Buddhist and so I accept verifiable knowledge if it can fall into at least one of three types of evidence: personal experiential knowledge, cross-cultural social consensus or the testimony of appropriate authority.  If you’ve looked int...

July 21, 2015

Once, a monk presented the following verse to the Sixth Patriarch, composed by the Chan Master Wo Lun.

Wo Lun has ways and means

To cut off the movements of many thoughts

When the mind does not rise in reaction to circumstances

The tree of enlightenment will steadily grow.

...

July 17, 2015

I think every time I teach about anatman I get some variation on this question.  Most of the questions arise from a misunderstanding of the term and meaning of ‘anatman’.  The Buddha lived in a time and place where the soul - termed atman in Sanskrit - was considered t...

July 15, 2015

I’m reading another book by Alan Watts (highly recommend him to everyone) that brought up an interesting distinction between faith and belief.  This is an important distinction for Pragmatic Buddhism and one that we discuss within the Order from time to time.  Are we a...

July 15, 2015

This is a question that comes up often, especially among new members of our Order.  First let me say that we - like Western Soto Zen - use ‘monk’ to define both male and female members of the Order of Pragmatic Buddhists, so there is no distinction among us between ‘mo...

July 14, 2015

So is Pragmatic Buddhism really Buddhism?  Is any Western Buddhism?  Is any “Secular” Buddhism?  To me the answer to all of these is not only a resounding ‘YES’ but an emphatic ‘and they are precious gifts to the heritage of Buddhism.’  I’m going to talk specifically a...

July 13, 2015

 

Actually, most philosophers agree that Buddhism is the most pragmatic of religions.  Usually they point to the passage in the Kalama Sutta when the Buddha tells the people of the Kalamas:

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by l...

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