What Is “The Fourth Turning of Buddhism”?

FourthTurningBook

Ken Wilber (1949-) is a contemporary American philosopher who has written a host of books related to what he calls his Integral Theory. And in general I find many of his frameworks for thinking about the world both helpful personally as well as particularly relevant for navigating our pluralistic, postmodern world. As the name “Integral Theory” implies, Wilber seeks to integrate the best of all available sources of knowledge and experience related to any given field. If you are interested in lea … [Read more...]

Becoming a Buddha, not a Buddhist

Dharma

This post is the second in a four-part series on “A Journey with Four Spiritual Guides: Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and Ramakrishna.” Looking ahead briefly to the next post, liberals sometimes get anxious when Jesus is mentioned because of the many ways his message has been manipulated, abused, and used to harm others. As the old exasperated prayer goes, “Jesus, save me from your followers!” However, in my next post I hope to offer some different, potentially surprising angles on Jesus — "Rabbi Yeshu … [Read more...]

After Trauma & Loss: What (Not) To Say

This summer I took a unit of CPE ("Clinical Pastoral Education"), which is a continuing education program that helps reflect on becoming more compassionately present to others. My experience reaffirmed for me the old saying that, “Intention does not equal impact.” In other words, even with the best of intentions, the impact of our words and deeds may unintentionally wound another. Along those lines, the following are a few highlights from my CPE training offered in the hope that others may also f … [Read more...]

Embracing Pluralism, Building Bridges, and “Common Action for the Common Good”

Eboo

“I am large, I contain multitudes.”  (Walt Whitman)“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah.” (Rumi) —Epigraphs to Eboo Patel’s Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim,  the Struggle for the Soul of a GenerationM. Scott Peck in his bestselling book The Road Less Traveled writes that one “somewhat oversimplified” definition of sanity is the ability to be in touch with and to cope with reality. Conversely, one definition of insanity is being out of touch with or being unable to co … [Read more...]

Pragmatic Buddhism, Westernized Dharma, 21st-century Sangha

buddha

When I was about fifteen years old, I accidentally ran into some of the classic early meditation experiences described in the ancient texts and my reluctant spiritual quest began. I did not realize what had happened, nor did I realize that I had crossed something like a point of no return, something I would later call “The Arising and Passing Away.” I knew that I had had a very strange dream with bright lights, that my entire body and world had seemed to explode like fireworks, and that aft … [Read more...]

Top 10 Best Podcasts of 2011

(1) NPR: Religion – A few years ago my car radio was almost always tuned to NPR. More recently I have taken to listening selectively to my favorite NPR segments. Since I’m a huge religion nerd, I love being able to listen to the religion-themed excerpts of “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” and other NPR programs without necessarily having to listen to each of those hour-long shows each day.(2) Homebrewed Christianity - An astonishing number of great interviews with world-class theol … [Read more...]


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