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 — … [Read more...]

After Trauma & Loss: What (Not) To Say

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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 … [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 Generation M. 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 … [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 … [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 … [Read more...]

REVIEW: “Buddha Standard Time” by Lama Surya Das

(Lama Surya Das, Buddha Standard Time: Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now, HarperOne, 2011, 216 pages.) What time is it? Who decides? If I look at a cell phone, I am told 'AT&T Standard Time' or 'Verizon Standard Time.' To counterbalance or double-check this industry-approved time standard, I could look at my watch for a time that I calibrated myself, but I haven't worn a watch in more than a decade, and I don't know how to read a sundial! Moreover, I learned in high school … [Read more...]