02/19/18

Do We Really Exist? Believing That The Self Is An Illusion Does Not Eliminate The Fear Of Death


Buddhism teaches that the soul or ‘self’ is not a permanent entity but a combination of material and mental phenomena in constant flux. Researchers hypothesized that believing the soul or self to be illusory would mitigate the seemingly natural human instinct to fear death, and monastic Buddhists would be more generous and less afraid of death than lay Buddhists, Hindus and Christians. But their study published on 22 January 2018 apparently found otherwise…

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01/17/18

There Is No Scientific Buddhism


The dominant paradigm in science is that mind is an emergent property of the brain whereas Buddhism sees mind as forerunner. If Buddhists want science to recognise the Buddha’s claims about the mind then Buddhism has to play by the rules of science. The burden of proof is upon Buddhists to devise experiments that show beyond reasonable doubt that purely mental activity can be detected and measured independently of matter. Until then, any talk of “Scientific Buddhism” is meaningless.

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12/31/17

Two Truths, Many Practices


The history of Buddhism ever since the Buddha’s teachings were first written down (c. 100 BCE) has been one of re-working his teachings to fit the different needs of different people living in different countries at different times. Consequently we have lots of early sermons (i.e. suttas or sutras) attributed to the Buddha – not just one sermon or a few sermons that we can cling to as good for every changing circumstance…

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11/3/17

Mythology, Cosmology & Rituals In Early Buddhism


To see the Buddha “as he really is” we should explore some of the major episodes in his many lives and appreciate how Buddhist mythology, cosmology, and rituals, relate to one another. We’ll be less likely to view these doctrines as “popular Buddhism” – degeneration from reason (philosophy) to religion (mythology). Their truth isn’t a matter of historical/factual correctness – it’s a matter of the presence or absence of suffering when we internalise the message and strive to live up to it.

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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.

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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.

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