Sensual Pleasure Versus Spiritual Pleasure in Buddhism

This is Ajahn Brahmali, talking at the Buddhist Society of Western Australia about much of the same territory that I covered in two recent posts:Beyond Happiness: Buddhism and Human Flourishing Happiness, Kant, and BuddhismIt has been a theme in my work in the past and is developing into a somewhat major theme in my academic work currently - that  we need to get clear about the kind of pleasure we are after - I prefer the word 'happiness', but no single term is going to be perfect … [Read more...]

Buddhism’s Dalai Lama nods to Secular Ethics

Dalai Lama - meditating before Jesus

While murder, bullying, exploitation and scandal regularly make news, when thousands of children receive their mother’s care and affection every day it isn't reported because we take it for granted. We may be subject to negative emotions, but it’s possible to keep them under control, to cultivate a sense of emotional hygiene, on the basis of human values that are rooted in that affection - what I call secular ethics. - H.H. the Dalai LamaPatheos is currently inviting writers to submit "What D … [Read more...]

Buddhism has the Rope and the Snake, Christianity has Jesus and the Pug

Look closely... who is it that you see?

Well, they're not exactly equivalent, but bear with me.Who... or what, do you see in the image above?Yes! Wow! Oh, wait?! Ewwww. Really?Here's the whole image:As much as I love Jesus, I'm just as happy to see that its a pug! (And I'm sure my pug-loving girlfriend will agree.)Ahhh, just look at that face. A bit blurry, but anyhow....That is just one of (apparently many) photos of dog's rear quarters that amazingly resemble what some people would swear is a miraculous … [Read more...]

Grabbing hold of life

grab ahold of life

Watching this video I heard Māra creeping up in the form of voices of naysayers, and looking around the world today their is no shortage of such people: the young and nihilistic, the old and crotchety, the middle-aged beer-bellied bad-mustached cop with the pepper spray. Such people are inescapable as we go through life. Anything of value that you do will be met by people who don't want you to do it. Whether it's due to their own insecurities, or ideologies, or anything else, simply remember: i … [Read more...]

Buddhism and Mental Illness

clifton suspension bridge bristol 2013

President Obama has declared May "Mental Health Awareness Month." At the announcement the President said (thanks to Adrian Warnock for posting this): “Today, tens of millions of Americans are living with the burden of a mental health problem. They shoulder conditions like depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress and bipolar disorder — debilitating illnesses that can strain every part of a person’s life. And even though help is out there, less than half of children and adults with diagn … [Read more...]

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 areNot 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 c … [Read more...]