10/13/17

Early Buddhist Jhana & Modern Buddhist Vipassana


Although Theravada claims to be the most orthodox Buddhist tradition, modernists within that tradition have promoted vipassana or insight meditation as the Buddha’s unique meditation practice.  In the Pali Canon, however, insight generally comes after mastery of the jhanas. Modern understandings of the word “vipassana” appear to differ from the understanding of the Early Buddhists who transmitted the Sutta Pitaka.

Continue reading

09/2/17

Removing Doubts & Obstacles When The Buddha’s Path Is Blocked


It’s not uncommon for Buddhists to feel like their practice has stalled. Concentration wavers, awareness is lost, doubts arise, and the Buddha’s supreme freedom from samsara seems hopelessly unattainable.  It can be an especially trying time if you’re a solitary practitioner lacking the guidance of a skilled meditation teacher. But it’s also an opportunity to straighten your views and re-affirm your refuge in the Triple Gem.

Continue reading

08/14/17

Buddhism IS A Religion (And It’s No Bad Thing)

….
Newcomers to Buddhism are frequently told that Buddhism isn’t a religion. However, one must employ a very narrow misunderstanding of the word religion in order to exclude Buddhism.  Ancient Buddhist doctrine is suggestive of a polytheistic religion. Deities and devotional rites remain an important fact of Buddhist life as far as many practitioners in the heartlands of modern day Asia are concerned…
Continue reading

05/24/17

Some thoughts on the “historical” Buddha & “authentic” Buddhism

….
One might reasonably expect the long history of scholarly endeavours to have shed some light on the Buddha’s life and teachings.  Unfortunately, the evidence such as it exists is inconclusive and liable to provoke scepticism and hostility even among Buddhists. The historical Buddha remains  an enigmatic figure and it raises a number of questions that need untangling and addressing…

Continue reading

04/30/17

Detail From ‘An Egyptian Feast’ by Edwin Long (1829-1891)

….
Death is a timeless theme common to all religions. The corpse being taken around after the feast is a stark reminder to people to appreciate life as well as the ever present reality of death. The corpse attracts varying reactions, from indifference of the young to the reflective expressions of the older figures…

Continue reading

03/28/17

Is Buddhism Fundamentally Flawed?

….
I don’t always agree with self-declared “ex-Buddhist” Eisel Mazard, nevertheless I do count him among the people who have assisted my own developing understanding of the religion. While giving a very brief description of the “fundamental flaw” Mazard sees in Buddhism I also recommend watching the embedded video to hear it straight from the horses mouth…

Continue reading

02/13/17

Buddhism Without Beliefs?

….
Buddhist cosmological and soteriological beliefs are a challenge for minds steeped in Western culture. We are of course at liberty to reject karma and rebirth as redundant metaphysical theories, but we shouldn’t make the mistake of viewing these traditional teachings as mere religious accretion. Nor should we accept dharma without any references to karma and rebirth as the Buddhadharma – as taught by the Buddha himself.

Continue reading

01/23/17

Should Buddhists Refrain From Eating Meat?

Animal Slaughter (Image Source - Animal Welfare Institute - awionline.org)

….
Anyone wanting to follow in the Buddha’s non-violent footsteps will sooner or later have to examine their beliefs about food and decide for themselves whether or not they align with the dhamma. This essay examines some of the claims that are frequently made by Buddhists who eat meat and Buddhists who don’t.

Continue reading

12/17/16

Cultivating Wholesome Habits That Last

lasting-habits

….
‘Tis the season for resolutions.  The tradition of making a New Year resolution can be a useful one for cultivating the kinds of wholesome habits that the Buddha recommended (generosity, compassion, mindfulness… etc.). Here’s a collection of habit-building tips that can stop any good intentions crashing and burning by the end of January 2017. Merry Christmas everyone!

Continue reading