Meditation and this Human Body: Two Recent TED Talks

These are two talks that are really about 'everyone' - everyone social that is. Everyone that has to deal with people, and stress, and stuff, and managing all of that people-stress-stuff on a daily basis. The first, with some remarks below the video, is: Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are Not only do you get the great (funny, memorable) examples - such as President Obama shaking a British police officer's hand and then (then Prime Minister) Gordon Brown going up to the officer, … [Read more...]

3 Reasons to Welcome the ‘tt’ in St. Patty’s Day


I'm not sure what it is. Perhaps something in my Irish-English-Polish(Jewish)-Scottish heritage and dirt-road, blue sky, tumble-weed, Montana upbringing, but I just don't understand a lot of .... how should I put it? Conservatism? Orthodox traditionalism? Now, today is St. Patrick's Day. This has always been a fun holiday for my family as yesterday (March 16th) is the birthday of my father, Patrick James Whitaker (where I get my Irish/English). Montana has a pretty large Irish population, … [Read more...]

Buddha’s Middle Way on Technology


On Monday I had a wonderful evening at an event bringing academia and the community together, featuring none other than my wonderful girlfriend, Ms. Emily Rhodes (and four other speakers). The event was called "Whose street is it, anyway?" and it brought together the Bristol Faculty of Arts and the People's Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC, check out their blog), a local neighborhood group fighting to bring control of their area back to the people. In terms of starting a much needed … [Read more...]

Two Videos you MUST see today

Video - earth

From the video: We are traversing a terrain, which we as a species and as a planet overall have not seen before. We are facing an ecological crisis that has the capacity to tremendously alter life on earth. Today we have not only an ecological crisis. We also have a kind of story crisis. That is to say there is something very wrong with how we understand who we are and our relationship with the earth. Where are you? Where is your mind? Here: Or here: And maybe this will help: See … [Read more...]

Better than Zizek: a critique of Contemporary Spirituality (and many Buddhists) worth investigating

I just finished listening to a podcast interview of my friend David Webster on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting). Knowing Dave, I know that he is a bit (at least) of an admirer of the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. My own view of Žižek is not a secret. One of my most popular blog posts last year was a discussion of Žižek, who had recently given a lecture that was, in title at least, about Western Buddhism: "Zizek waxes on about Zionism, Sex, Gangnam Style, Justin Bieber, the Pope, and … [Read more...]

The philosopher Kant, a Buddhist Saint, and Happiness


In my regular bits of avoidance and procrastination tonight (I have a lecture tomorrow that I desperately do not want to write or give), I came across an old blog post that brought a smile to my face.  Below is a slightly revised edition, complete with comments. You can see the original from 2007 here. I came across a fairly obscure essay by Kant today, entitled: “You must Be Well Occupied To Be Happy.” It is extracted from his Lectures on Ethics, a book of notes of Kant’s students … [Read more...]

Nietzsche meets the iPhone

one second film - BBC

The BBC has a story this week titled "Can filming one second every day change your life?" (click for video) It makes for a useful meditation for the new year. The story features Cesar Kuriyama, who began filming one second of each day at the age of 30. What began as a one year project promises to be a life-long occupation. As he states in the video, "Trying to make the best movie possible is making me live the best life possible." This brought to mind one of my favorite philosophers, … [Read more...]

Kumare: Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoga, and more

Kumare, or Kumaré (or Kūmāré), is a movie about American spirituality on the fringe. However, the more we look into American spirituality, the more we see that the 'fringe' is growing. Fast. The old stalwarts of American religion: the Catholics and the Protestants, are increasingly disenfranchising their members, thus steering themselves into a future of ineffectual obscurity. Denying women's rights, protecting child-molesters, blaming the deaths of children on homosexuality, the list could … [Read more...]

Are you a Buddhist Wanker (Jerk)? – (Humor)

Self-described Spiritual Wanker Mark Walsh takes us through diagnosing a spiritual wanker and some potential cures. It reminded me a bit of my recent review of the wonderful book, Dispirited (blog here). Walsh criticizes 'spiritual' people for using insider language, dropping Tibetan, Sanskrit, (and he even mentions Pali!), when common English terms would clearly suffice, and more importantly, the normal English terms would be understood by everyone. I like the video because he is humble … [Read more...]

Finding Happiness, one photo at a time


There is an old zen story that I'll happily pass on (albeit perhaps in a disfigured form) for you: A monk is wandering in China and comes across a royal caravan. The king, seeing the monk, stops the caravan in order to question him. "Who is your teacher?" asks the king from his carriage. "My teacher is Gautama, the Awakened One," replies the monk without looking up. "What is his teaching?" asks the king. "Cease to do evil. Cultivate good. Purify the mind," says the monk. "This … [Read more...]