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Buddhist Geeks Podcast

Buddhist Geeks Podcast

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Buddhist Geeks is a weekly audio show that presents ground-breaking interviews and discussions with Buddhist teachers, scholars, and advanced practitioners. Combining ancient wisdom with modern technology, Buddhist Geeks aims to catalyze a community of practice committed to awakening. Discover the emerging face of Western Buddhism.


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  • Rebel Buddha
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche—a dynamic and engaging Gen X Tibetan Lama who has spent half of his life living in the West—joins us to explore several key points related to the development of a more contemporary Buddhism. We explore some ideas from his newest book, Rebel Buddha, including the idea that there is an essential aspect to Dharma that goes beyond culture, the ways that teachings on emptiness are often confused or misunderstood, and the nature of enlightenment and the possibility of awakening in the here and now.Episode Links:Rebel Buddha ( http://www.rebelbuddha.com )

  • Live the Questions
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined this week by Buddhist teacher Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel to explore some of the topics from her most recent book, The Power of an Open Question. Elizabeth speaks about the nature of questioning, and why questioning is one of the best ways to come in accordance with the way things are.She also explores the qualities of faith & doubt, how questioning fits in with both, and how skepticism and openness are related. We finish the discussion off by looking at how the quality of “not knowing,” that often gets developed through sincere questioning, might manifest in our human relationships. If you’re looking for answers, this may not be the episode for you!Episode Links:The Power of an Open Question ( http://amzn.to/cbeXst )Madyamika Prasangika ( http://bit.ly/1CQJ4Ti )

  • The Lazy Path to Enlightenment
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined this week by author, teacher, and Tibetologist Glenn Mullin. During our conversation with Glenn we focus primarily on a system of teachings in the Tantric tradition called The Six Yogas of Naropa. He speaks about each aspect of the practice—including such practices as sexual yoga, dream yoga, and bardo yoga—and also explains why he thinks the 6 yogas are a perfect compliment for the modern lifestyle.Episode Links:www.GlennMullin.comThe Practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa ( http://amzn.to/cEm5jP )

  • Making Joy Our Default
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    Insight meditation teacher James Baraz joins us to explore the many facets of joy, happiness, and well-being. We begin by finding out how joy became an important part of James’ practice, since in his early years with Buddhism he was, in his own words, “dead serious about practice.” It turns out that part of what helped him break the spell was the Advaita Vedanta teacher, H.W.L Poonja, as well as the teachings that the Buddha himself gave on joy and well-being.We also look at the positive psychology movement, which James pulls from often in his teachings on Joy, comparing and contrasting positive psychology with Buddhist psychology. And finally we discuss what it means to cultivate Joy, and how that cultivation relates to a recognition of Natural Joy (the joy that’s present without any special effort).Episode Links:www.JamesBaraz.comAwakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness ( http://amzn.to/bnPnPR )Authentic Happiness ( http://amzn.to/9DIPlr )H.W.L Poonja ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._W._L._Poonja )Nibanna for Everyone, by Ajahn Buddhadassa ( http://www.scribd.com/doc/265212/Nibbana-for-Everyone )Dvedhavitakka Sutta: Two Sorts of Thinking (Majjhima Nikaya 19) ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.019.than.html )Transcendental Dependent Arising ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/wheel277.html )

  • Living as a River
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    Bodhipaksa is a teacher from the Triratna Buddhist Community, formerly the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. He joins us this week to explore the Buddhist teachings on impermanence and “change blindness.” We also explore one of the central practices that he teaches, called the 6-elements practice—one of the primary methods found in the earliest strata of Buddhist teachings. Finally, we explore the importance of enlightenment in his teaching, what is traditionally called stream-entry, but which he refers to as “entry-level enlightenment.”Episode Links:www.bodhipaksa.comLiving As a River: Finding Fearlessness in the Face of Change ( http://amzn.to/aMZqzN )Dhatu-vibhanga Sutta: An Analysis of the Properties ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.140.than.html )

  • Living in Buddha Standard Time
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We speak with Lama Surya Das this week about what it takes to integrate spiritual understanding into our lives as 21st century citizens. He explores the question of whether our sense of time has sped up in the “over-information age,” and how we can change our relationship to time. He also shares the outlines of what he calls the Six Building Blocks of a Spiritual Life—a post-traditional model aimed at integrating the inner and outer dimensions of life.We conclude our discussion by looking at what he calls, “Positive Buddhism.” Positive Buddhism is a formulation of the Buddhist teachings that emphasize some of the more life-affirming aspects of the awakened life, instead of some of the more life-denying aspects, such as suffering, renunciation, and non-attachment.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, The Tao of Twitter.Episode Links:www.Surya.orgThe Mind is Mightier Than the Sword ( http://amzn.to/cmIOru )Positive Psychology ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_psychology )Awakening the Buddha Within ( http://amzn.to/9HeJJ0 )

  • The Tao of Twitter
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    When it comes to leveraging the technologies of our time, Lama Surya Das is one of the most active American Buddhists around. He blogs, tweets, skypes, hosts webinars, and participates in virtual retreats. And yet he acknowledges that if it were completely up to him, he’d be leading meditation retreats in-person and writing books.We speak with Surya Das on why he has decided to engage these technologies, as opposed to treating them merely as distractions or as “necessary evils,” as so many teachers do. We explore both the upsides and downsides of what he refers to as, “beaming, streaming media.” As he points out during the interview, he feels he has two feet firmly planted in the old tradition, and two feet firmly planted in the new. What happens when someone is immersed in both?This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Living in Buddha Standard Time.Episode Links:@LamaSuryaDas ( www.twitter.com/LamaSuryaDas )www.Surya.orgThe Tao of Twitter: The Spirit in the Machine ( http://bit.ly/9wtD4c )Dzogchen Center ( http://dzogchen.org )

  • Intimacy through Practice
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined this week by Flamenco guitarist and Zen practitioner Ottmar Liebert. Ottmar shares the story of how he broke with his childhood religion of Catholicism, started doing Transcendental Meditation, and then found his spiritual home in the Zen tradition. We also discuss the nature of practice, and compare how it manifests in both music and meditation. We also explore the distinction between solitary practice and performance, seeing what parallels to music we might find in Zen.Episode Links:www.OttmarLiebert.comPetals on the Path ( http://www.ottmarliebert.com/music/album/petals-on-the-path )Letter to a Young Musician #1 ( http://www.ottmarliebert.com/diary/?p=6374 )

  • Non-Meditation and the Nature of Thought
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    “You need not make efforts to create non-conceptuality. You need not regard thoughts as a fault. And so that your practice does not succumb to famine, from the beginning have a bountiful crop. Not searching for a state that is calmly resting, vividly clear, and filled with bliss, bring into your experience whatever arises without taking it up or discarding it.” – OrgyenpaWe’re joined again this week by one of our favorite Buddhist Geeks, Robert Spellman. In our discussion with him, we delve into the often tenuous relationship that meditators have to their own thoughts. Robert shares a profound teaching from a 13th century Tibetan teacher, Orgyenpa, on how to relate to the thinking mind. He also talks about the difficulty in getting personally identified with insights, and explores what is meant by “non-meditation.” For those meditators out there who are interested in having a more empowering and healthy relationship to their own minds, this promises to be a very interesting interview.Episode Links:www.RobertSpellman.comOrgyenpa ( http://www.kagyuoffice.org/kagyulineage.karmapa2.html#Orgyenpa )

  • A Different Way of Approaching Meditation
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined again by meditation teacher Jason Siff to conclude our exploration of the fundamental ideas and practices behind his unique approach of Unlearning Meditation, or what he calls Recollective Awareness.We begin with exploring what recollection, or mindfulness, is and how it can be harnessed through a practice of meditative journaling. Jason continues his deconstruction of the type of prescribed practices which suggest doing something “all of the time” and suggests instead that we find out for ourself what meditation is about and where it is leading. We wrap up the discussion by exploring a different way of developing samadhi, a method that Jason describes as “drifting off in meditation.”This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Unlearning Meditation.Episode Links:Skillful Meditation Project ( http://www.skillfulmeditation.org )Unlearning Meditation: What to Do When the Instructions Get In the Way ( http://amzn.to/c0iBUm )A Mindful Balance ( http://www.alanwallace.org/spr08wallace_comp.pdf )

  • Unlearning Meditation
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    “Meditation instructions that disallow thinking, reflection, or being open to the full range of experience usually imply a distrust of the mind.” – Jason SiffWe’re joined by meditation teacher and author Jason Siff, to explore what happens when meditation instructions and techniques get in the way. Jason explains that meditation instructions and rules contain within them certain limitations, that can lead to impasses in our practice. We explore Jason’s approach, Recollective Awareness, as well as discussing the role that both trust and intention play in untangling these unhelpful meditation habits.This is part 1 of a two-part series.Episode Links:Skillful Meditation Project ( http://www.skillfulmeditation.org )Unlearning Meditation: What to Do When the Instructions Get In the Way ( http://amzn.to/c0iBUm )

  • Bodhisattva, Superstar
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined this week by filmmaker Michael Trigilo, to explore some of the themes from his newest allegorical documentary, “Bodhisattva, Superstar.” Included in our conversation are questions around what it means to be “spiritual but not religious”, what purpose Religion serves and what difficulties come with it, and why anger is such a hot topic in the Buddhist tradition?We also discuss controversy in spiritual communities—with Michael highlighting his own experience of disappointment and disillusionment—and how these controversies and scandals can become opportunities for a more transparent “cultural conversation” to occur. Finally he shares what he hopes both Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike might get from watching this edgy and sophisticated Buddhist documentary.Episode Links:Bodhisattva, Superstar ( http://www.starve.org/superstar/ )“The Buddha” on PBS ( http://www.pbs.org/thebuddha/ )Bewitched, Buddhist, and Bewildered ( http://conceptualart.dreamhosters.com/npr/archives/102 )The Kalama Sutra ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/soma/wheel008.html )

  • The Timeless Tradition of Spiritual Apprenticeship
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    In the last part of our discussion with Buddhist teacher and scholar Hokai Sobol, we wrap up our exploration on some of the important influences and forces that shape Western Buddhism. As part of that we discuss the fluid nature of his consumer-client-colleague model. We also talk about the deep problems that have arisen from adopting traditional models, instead of current ones, and how this has generated a multitude of scandals—including scandals of power, sex, and also of the generational problem of their being so few young practitioners today.Finally, we talk about how to reinvigorate “the timeless tradition of spiritual apprenticeship.” Hokai speaks about what he calls “essential apprenticeship,” and also brings up a couple of questions related to the way that spiritual apprenticeship relates to current cultural forms.This is part 4 of a multi-part series.Episode Links:Hokai Sobol ( www.hokai.info )

  • Exchanging Dharma: Client and Colleague Mindsets
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined by Buddhist teacher and scholar Hokai Sobol, as we continue exploring the different mindsets that we often take, while exchanging Dharma here in the West. In the last episode he described the Consumer mindset, and in this one goes on to speak about the Client and Colleague mindsets. He explores the healthy and unhealthy versions of each, as well as how each of the three mindsets differ from one another.This is part 3 of a multi-part series. Listen to part 1, The Invisible Forces that Shape Western Buddhism and part 2, Exchanging Dharma:The Consumer Mindset.Episode Links:Hokai Sobol ( www.hokai.info )Herbert V. G?nther ( http://bit.ly/1CQHrVP )

  • Exchanging Dharma: The Consumer Mindset
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined again this week by Buddhist teacher and scholar Hokai Sobol, to continue our exploration of the hidden mindsets and cultural forces that shape Western Buddhism. In this episode Hokai explores a tradition of exchanging knowledge, which is at least 1,000 years old in Europe, that of the “master & apprentice.” Hokai describes the process by which Europeans used to, and in some cases still do, learn a particular trade, by first becoming a novice apprentice, eventually striking out on one’s own as a journeyman, and then finally coming back to become part of the local guild, as a full master of one’s craft. This model, he explains, has striking similarities to the traditional model found in the Asian countries where Buddhism thrived.He then presents a new model for how we might look at exchanging Dharma. This model includes three mindsets, or roles that we take on as Dharma practitioners and teachers, with the first one being the “consumer mindset.” We look at both the immature and mature versions of this consumer mindset, and how as a consumer we tend to approach the exchange of Dharma. In the next episode Hokai completes his contemporary model by describing the client mindset and colleague mindset.This is part 2 of a multi-part series. Listen to part 1, The Invisible Forces that Shape Western Buddhism.Episode Links:Hokai Sobol ( www.hokai.info )Internet access is ‘a fundamental right’ ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8548190.stm )

  • The Invisible Forces that Shape Western Buddhism
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    In the first part of a multi-part discussion with Buddhist teacher and scholar Hokai Sobol, we explore the invisible, and rarely discussed, forces that shape Western Buddhism. In particular what we call “culture” shapes our institutions and communities in ways that we rarely see with clarity.Hokai spends a good bit of this initial discussion exploring the traditional story that has been handed down to us. This story includes the various cultural assumptions surrounding the Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana Buddhist traditions, in the different countries and time periods in which they existed. These norms include the what it means to have a “healthy attitude” (or “right attitude” as it’s often formulated), what the proper teacher-student relationship is, and what hierarchy looks like in these cultures.This is part 1 of a multi-part series. Listen to part 2, Exchanging Dharma – The Consumer Mindset.Episode Links:Hokai Sobol ( www.hokai.info )

  • An Evidence-Based Spirituality for the 21st Century
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined by Charles Tart, one of the founders of the branch of psychology known as transpersonal psychology. Dr. Tart’s life work has to do with putting forward an “evidence-based spirituality for the 21st century.” In this conversation we explore the evidence that he explored for phenomena like reincarnation, as well as the “big five” of telepathy, clairvoyance, pre-cognition, psychokinesis, and psychic healing. With all of these phenomena Charles warns about adopting a “scientistic”—as opposed to scientific—view of reality, which says that none of those things can be real, simply because they don’t fit into the mainstream view of materialism. Instead, he suggests, we should be looking at the evidence and letting it shape our understanding of reality.Episode Links:Charles T. Tart’s Official Website ( http://www.paradigm-sys.com )The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together ( http://amzn.to/9VA93n )Ian Stevenson ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Stevenson )The Division of Perceptual Studies at The University of Virginia Medical School ( http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinical/departments/psychiatry/sections/cspp/dops )

  • Growing Up Versus Waking Up
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined this week by clinical psychologist and Buddhist practitioner John Welwood. John has spent his entire adult life exploring the intersection between Eastern and Western psychological approaches. In our discussion we cover the following topics: the three realms of human experience, spiritual bypassing (a term that John coined), the Buddhist perfections, waking up and growing up as different tracks of human development, and the ways that spiritual awareness can be used in service of psychological growth and well-being.Episode Links:www.JohnWelwood.comToward a Psychology of Awakening: Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Path of Personal and Spiritual Transformation ( http://amzn.to/bKvera )

  • Working with Sexual Energy
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined again by British meditation teacher, Christopher Titmuss, to continue our exploration into the powerful, and often challenging, realm of human sexuality. Christopher shares a couple of stories of monks dealing with sexuality, one a traditional story and the other a story of a 92 year old monk that he practiced with in Thailand. He also explains that if sexual energy, which is a natural part of our humanity, is repressed than it can wreak havoc on how we engage in the world.Finishing up our conversation with Christopher, we ask him if there’s anything he’d like to share with the Buddhist Geeks listeners. He responds with a very interesting caution on not over-emphasizing the development of the mind, over the development of the heart and the vibrancy of our “feeling lives.”This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to Part 1, The Place of the Erotic.Episode Links:www.ChristopherTitmuss.org

  • The Place of the Erotic
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined this week by Insight meditation teacher and engaged activist Christopher Titmuss. Our main topic of exploration is the place of sexuality, eros, and love in the practice of Dharma. Contained within that topic we explore what is often meant by the word ‘desire’ in English, and how that differs from the what the Buddha taught as the source of suffering, tanha (often translated as thirst or craving).Christopher explains some of the historical reasons that Buddhism has not be able to provide many helpful suggestions concerning sexuality, and also challenges what he sees as a common orthodox among Western teachers and practitioners in regards to sexuality and relationships. We conclude our conversation by exploring the importance—in a cultural climate where long-term monogamous relationships are becoming more and more rare—of treating the ending of relationships with greater care. “How,” Christopher asks, “if we are ending a relationship, can we make a transition from intimacy to that of a caring friendship?”This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Working with Sexual Energy.Episode Links:Bodh Gaya Retreats ( http://www.bodhgayaretreats.org )www.ChristopherTitmuss.org

  • The Buddhist Atheist
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    Secular Buddhist teacher Stephen Batchelor joins us to explore some of the ideas presented in his newest book, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. We start off by examining the two Buddhist doctrines of karma and rebirth, using the original teachings of the Buddha, especially the “imponderables” as a touchstone for the conversation. Stephen’s basic claim being that the belief in rebirth doesn’t have sufficient evidence behind it, and it actually takes away from the core practices and teachings of the Buddha. We conclude the interview by exploring the difference between agnosticism and atheism, which Stephen claims can be integrated together into what he calls an “ironic atheism.”Episode Links:Stephen and Martine Batchelor ( http://www.stephenbatchelor.org )Buddhism Without Beliefs ( http://amzn.to/bHGkI7 )Confession of a Buddhist Atheist ( http://amzn.to/9WL5X1 )

  • The Mindful Therapist
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    This week we speak to vipassana meditation teacher, and psychotherapist Trudy Goodman. Trudy completes the story of her early Zen days, and also describes how she transitioned into becoming a vipassana teacher. She also shares some of her training in psychology, wherein she studied with the famous child developmentalist, Jean Piaget in France. She was eventually led her to work with children diagnosed with extreme developmental disorders, and with adults as well. Trudy shares how her practice of meditation was crucial in supporting people in their own therapeutic process, and how the key for all therapists who want to practice some sort of mindful therapy is to really practice and become familiar with their own mind.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Zen, Vipassana, & Psychotherapy.Episode Links:Jean Piaget ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Piaget )InsightLA ( http://www.insightla.org )

  • Zen, Vipassana, & Psychology
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    This week we speak to vipassana and Zen teacher, Trudy Goodman. Trudy shares how she got into both Buddhist meditation and psychotherapy, and uses her story to illustrate the powerful ways that these different methods can compliment one another. Trudy also reflects on the differences between her experience in Zen training with Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn, and her practice of vipassana meditation.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, The Mindful Therapist.Episode Links:Zen Master Seung Sahn ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seung_Sahn )Insight Meditation Society ( http://www.dharma.org )InsightLA ( http://www.insightla.org )

  • The Core of Wisdom
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined again this week by professor and meditation teacher Roger Walsh. This week we dive into his study of the common practices seen in all of the world’s wisdom traditions. He shares each of these practices, and then also explores with us the ancient tradition of Shamanism, which is estimated to be tens of thousands of years old. We explore how ancient Shamanism relates to the neo-shamanism and core shamanism practices being taught in the West today, how Shamanism might have been repressed during recent times, and also the difference between meditation, mental disorders, and shamanistic states.Roger wraps up the conversation by expressing how he sees Buddhism having a unique role in helping us face the unique challenges and opportunities of our day. In this stirring topic he emphasizes the need to harness relevant technological mediums, to understand the difference between Buddhism crossing cultures and crossing eras, and the crucial link between the extraordinary challenges in the world today and the states of mind that Buddhism helps to cultivate.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, A Technology of Transcendence.Episode Links:Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind ( http://amzn.to/dt8mGz )The World of Shamanism: New Views of an Ancient Tradition ( http://amzn.to/buqPaU )The Foundation for Shamnic Studies ( http://www.shamanism.org )

  • A Technology of Transcendence
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    This week we speak with professor and teacher Roger Walsh. Roger shares his journey from being a hardcore neuorscientist and psychiatrist to becoming an avid meditator and mystic. Once Walsh discovered that at the core of all the religious traditions was “a technology of transcendence” he jumped head-long into vipassana meditation–bringing, as he put it, his personality into his practice. Following that he practiced Shikantaza in the Zen tradition, and then also spent many years practicing in the Vajrayana tradition, which he now teaches alongside Lama Surya Das.Roger also explores with us a model of human needs and development, based on Carl Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He points out that Maslow added a level of needs above self-actualization toward the end of his career, that was about the need to transcend the self. He builds on this by saying that with that need has been met, the culmination of spiritual practice is service, otherwise known as the bodhisattva aspiration.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, The Core of Wisdom.Episode Links:Shikantaza ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shikantaza )Lama Surya Das ( http://www.surya.org )Trekch? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trekcho )Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs )

  • Enlightened Society
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    This week we’re joined by the President of Shambhala, Richard Reoch. Along with overseeing the Shambhala organization, Richard is also a long time human rights, activist, and environmental leader. With this unique background, we thought it would be particularly relevant to explore the topic of “enlightened society.” Enlightened society was an idea presented by Chogyam Trunpa, but which he said was originally taught by the Buddha. We explore what Trungpa meant by the term, and how it has evolved over the past few decades in the Shambhala community.We also look at the parallels, between the path of the activist and the contemplative path. With one we are trying to fix ourselves (often), and the other we are trying to fix the world. As Richard says, both are paths where one moves first from a position of arrogance toward one of humility.Episode Links:Shambhala ( http://www.shambhala.org )Kalachakra Tantra ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalachakra )

  • The Most Fundamental Duality
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined again by Zen Master Diane “Musho” Hamilton, this time to explore the most fundamental duality of masculine and feminine. Diane points out that if you have an objection to looking at it in these terms, you can also think of it as the polarity between receptivity and activity or between personal and impersonal. She describes this polarity, how it’s been helpful for her as a Zen teacher, and also how to look at compassion from this perspective.Finally we talk about an approach that goes beyond these dualities, but doesn’t shy away from them. This approach of “not 2, not 1? is characteristic of many Zen teachers and is a way of understanding non-duality in a completely different way.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Integral Zen.Episode Links:www.dianemushohamilton.comHal and Sidra Stone ( www.delos-inc.com )Karl Renz ( http://www.karlrenz.com )

  • Integral Zen
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined by Zen Master, Diane “Musho” Hamilton, to explore an approach to spiritual practice called “Integral Zen.” In our interview we explore several related topics, including the difference between a path of renunciation and one of transmutation. As part of this we also look at the role that the shadow—a term coined by psychologist Carl Jung—plays in our spiritual practice. In addition we examine how different Buddhist traditions have, or have not, incorporated an understanding of the shadow. We also explore the role that community plays in helping wake each other up, and the verticality of the teacher-student relationship. Finally we talk about how she is incorporating, what are called the “3 faces of spirit” into her Zen teaching.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, The Most Fundamental Duality.Episode Links:www.dianemushohamilton.comHal and Sidra Stone ( http://www.delos-inc.com )

  • I Vow to Feed All Hunger
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined this week by one of the pioneers of the socially engaged Buddhist movement, Zen Master Bernie Glassman. Although he grew up in a family that valued social action, after some years of Zen practice he had an experience that amplified his calling to serve those in need. At that point he made a vow to feed all hungers. We speak about the interconnection—and accordingly to Bernie, the inseparability—between contemplative practice and social action.He shares details of many of the projects he has been part of, including the Greystone project in Yonkers, New York, which helped to cut homelessness in that area by three-quarters. He also shares some of the key tenets from the group that he founded, called the Zen Peacemakers. These tenets link together the “not knowing” of spiritual practice with the “loving action” of social engagement, and make it possible for us to turn our spiritual awareness into a vital force for all those in need.Episode Links:Zen Peacemakers ( http://www.zenpeacemakers.org )The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology ( http://bit.ly/bslllz )Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master’s Lessons in Living a Life That Matters ( http://bit.ly/bwjC4R )

  • What Young People Want
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    “We always talk about the Sangha as part of the triple gem, but I think it is the least developed part of Buddhism in the West.” – Sumi Loundon KimWe’re joined this week by Sumi Loundon Kim, author of Blue Jean Buddha and The Buddha’s Apprentices, to explore what young people want from spiritual communities. We explore young people’s need for belongingness, their natural spiritual inclination, and the big questions that they are asking.Sumi, who is in her mid-30’s now, gives several suggestions for how Buddhist communities can engage more effectively with a younger population. She points out that though Buddhist communities tend to be somewhat asocial when compared to other communities, there are many things we can be doing to better reach a new generation of seekers. Many of these suggestions are surprisingly obvious, but few are implemented on a large scale in Buddhist communities.Episode Links:Blue Jean Buddha: Voices of Young Buddhists ( http://bit.ly/aiCOoV )The Buddha’s Apprentices: More Voices of Young Buddhists ( http://bit.ly/abRn7U )I Married a Monk ( http://bit.ly/aw2s6K )

  • I'm Not Babysitting Your Ego
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We finish up our discussion with spiritual teacher Adyashanti, focusing on several topics relevant to contemporary seekers. We start off by exploring his thoughts on questions of power & hierarchy in the student-teacher relationship. Adya’s approach is to put power back on the student, encouraging them to be their own inner authority from the beginning.We also explore a type of writing meditative inquiry practice that Adyashanti has done, and which he teaches others. He explores how this type of inquiry can be used in conjunction with silent meditation practice to eliminate roadblocks on the spiritual path.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Now That’s Zen.

  • Now That's Zen
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined by spiritual teacher Adyashanti to discuss his 15 years of training with Zen teacher Arvis Joen Justi. He shares details from his initial awakening at 25–where he realized that he was what he was seeking–to the end of the search several years later at 31. It’s at that point that Arvis asked Adyashanti to begin teaching, and as he shares with us, his teaching evolved and changed fairly quickly. He shares how it changed, and how he saw it as a natural evolution of his Zen training, rather than an entirely new form.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, I’m Not Babysitting Your Ego.Episode Links:Yasutani Hakuun Roshi ( http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Yasutani_Hakuun_Roshi )Soen Nakagawa ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soen_Nakagawa )

  • Contributing to the Gross National Happiness
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    Richard Brown–a long time Buddhist and contemplative educator–joins us to share some of the details from his recent involvement in helping the small Buddhist country of Bhutan reform their public education system. Bhutan, which since the early 70’s has had as its main goal to increase Gross National Happiness, wants to create an education system that pulls the best from the West. The main principles they’re holding with this reform, include Contemplation, a Holistic approach, Sustainability, Cultural Integrity, and Critical Intellect. They’re aim is to educate their populace in such a way that they’re prepared for the onslaught of some of the more negative aspects of modernity–including the barrage of information and gross commercialization.Richard was a core part of a recent 5-day workshop aimed at starting to plan the reform of their education system. Richard shares many of the details from that workshop, and shares some of the amazing steps that Bhutan has already taken, as a result, to foster the happiness and well-being of their countries inhabitants.

  • Happiness: There's an App For That
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    In this episode we’re joined by Soren Gordhamer, long time tech writer, and author of Wisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected. Soren often writes for the Huffington Post and Mashable (a social media blog) on the relationship between the inner world with technology and social media. He explores with us some of the potential shadow sides of technology, as well as some of the remedies that can be used in balancing our internal life with our external. He suggests that focusing more consciously on our internal world actually puts us in a position where we can use technology, instead of technology using us.Soren also shares some details on a conference that he’s organizing, which will be bringing together luminaries from both the spiritual and technology worlds. His hope is that a conversation between the two can better answer the question of how we live a life of wisdom in the modern world.Episode Links:Wisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected ( http://bit.ly/czcde1 )digital_nation : life on the virtual frontier ( http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/ )4 Steps for Managing Social Media Attention ( http://mashable.com/2010/02/17/social-media-attention/ )The Wisdom 2.0 Conference ( http://www.wisdom2summit.com )

  • The Jedi Mind Training of Concentration
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    In this episode we wrap up our discussion with meditation teachers Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder, two of the only lay Western teachers authorized to teach the jhana system of Pa Auk Sayadaw. They share the deeper purpose of concentration practice, which isn’t to attain any particular states, but rather is to serve as a purification of the mind stream, what they describe as the “thinning of the me.”They describe the 8 jhanas as states that progressively reach toward the unconditioned, with the 8th jhana, neither perception nor non-perception, as a realm that is as close as you can get to the unconditioned without being itself unconditioned. From there emerges no-thingness, then consciousness, space, and finally form itself. They tell their students that orienting toward the unconditioned, or “the force”, is a type of jedi mind training. And we thought we were geeks!We complete the discussion by exploring the vipassana technique of Pa Auk Sayadaw, which is a powerful way of exploring materiality, mentality, and dependent origination, using the jhana states as a super-powered basis for that investigation. Tina and Stephen share their understanding of this practice, and how it leads to liberating insight and awakening.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Mastering the Jhanas.Episode Links:Jhanas Advice ( www.jhanasadvice.com )Practicing the Jhanas: Traditional Concentration Meditation as Presented by the Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw ( bit.ly/d9ucXu )Knowing and Seeing, by Pa Auk Sayadaw ( www.paauk.org/files/knowing_and_seeing_rev_ed.pdf )

  • Mastering the Jhanas
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    This week we speak with Theravada mediation teachers Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder. In 2005, while on a 2-month retreat, they were the first Western lay practitioners (i.e. non-monks) to complete the traditional concentration practices of Pa Auk Sayadaw–a well-regarded Burmese jhana master. The Sayadaw encouraged them to teach what they’ve learned, and they have, as a result, starting leading retreats and have written a book entitled, Practicing the Jhanas.In this episode they share the progressive practice that they did with Pa Auk Sayadaw, which includes all sorts of traditional practices from the Pali Canon. They also make many traditional distinctions, including the distinction between 3 different types of concentration–momentary, access, and absorption–and the way that they distinguish between these types of concentration. They also share some of the traditional benefits that come from concentration practice, and frame the jhanas not as much as something to attain, but rather as a by-product that arises from purifying the mind.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2 (airing next week).Episode Links:Jhanas Advice ( http://www.jhanasadvice.com )Practicing the Jhanas: Traditional Concentration Meditation as Presented by the Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw ( http://bit.ly/d9ucXu )Knowing and Seeing, by Pa Auk Sayadaw ( http://www.paauk.org/files/knowing_and_seeing_rev_ed.pdf )

  • Can Dharma Help Us Turn the Corner?
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    This week we share a public talk given by Integral spirituality teacher Terry Patten and Vajrayana teacher Hokai Sobol, on the question of whether traditional Dharma can (or can not) help us turn the corner in a high-speed world. The talk was given in 2009 at the Boulder Integral Center, and was hosted by Buddhist Geeks. A description from the event:In an imbalanced, accelerating world-in-crisis we face problems that cannot be solved, as Einstein famously said, “from the same level of consciousness that created them.” Many contemporary practitioners have turned to the Dharma as a source of that higher consciousness. But traditionally, the path was described as the way to awaken from the dream of human life, not to improve it. The traditions saw that as futile. But today, we no longer see life as an endless cycle.We have an evolutionary view of ourselves and even of our spirituality. And we have seen the folly of “bypassing” our critical life challenges in an attempt to be “spiritual.” How does the wisdom and clarity of ancient Dharma have relevance and meaning in the midst of contemporary evolutionary challenges? How can spiritual insight and illumination empower us to more effectively meet the emerging challenges of our time?Episode Links:Andrew Cohen ( http://www.andrewcohen.org )The Evolution of God ( http://bit.ly/9IlIpB )Integral Heart ( http://www.integralheart.com )

  • The Zen of Zen History
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    James Zito is a Buddhist film-maker, and the director of a newly released documentary on the history of Zen Buddhism, Inquiry Into the Great Matter. James joins us to discuss his new film, focusing primarily on what he learned while making the film. He shares some specifics on the lives of the famous Zen masters, Daito Kokushi and Ikkyu Sojun. While quite different, each masters reflected very important aspects of Zen Buddhism.We conclude our discussion, exploring the state of Zen in Japan today, which compared to times in the past several hundred years, has declined greatly. Will traditional Japanese Zen be able to exist in a hyper-modern Japan, and as it spreads across the world?Episode Links:Inquiry into the Great Matter: A History of Zen Buddhism ( http://historyofzendvd.com )Vajra Video ( http://www.vajravideo.com )

  • Unifying Developmental Enlightenment with Timeless Realization
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined again this week by Kenneth Folk, a long-time Theravada practitioner and meditation teacher. Kenneth completes his harrowing spiritual story, all the way to the point, where he says that he, “got off the ride and was done.” He speaks about how uncommon it is, in Western Buddhist circles, to believe that enlightenment is possible, a phenomenon that his teacher Bill Hamilton described as the “mushroom culture.”Kenneth then goes on to describe two different ways of understanding enlightenment: one as a developmental process, much the way his path is described, and then two, as a timeless realization that’s available at any moment. After his awakening, Kenneth went on to explore the timeless realization through the direct teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, the Dzogchen teachers of Tibet. He found that the direct and developmental teachings could be integrated, and that integration led him to what he calls the “3-speed transmission”. Listen in to hear about the 3-speed transmission, and how one can shift between levels, all the while supporting a deepening sense of awakeness and non-distracted-ness.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Ordinary People Can Get Enlightened.Episode Links:Kenneth Folk Dharma ( http://www.kennethfolk.com )

  • Ordinary People Can Get Enlightened
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We’re joined this week by Kenneth Folk, a long-time Theravada practitioner and meditation teacher, who describes in exquisite detail his spiritual journey. It began in earnest at the age of 24, when having done several hits of LSD, he had a life-altering experience that put him squarely on the path of seeking. Several years later, he really began gaining some traction, when he met his teacher Bill Hamilton, who claimed that enlightenment was something that could be systematically attained by applying a technique.By dedicating himself completely to those techniques, and through doing years of intensive meditation practice in the West and in Asia, Kenneth claims that he went through a gradual development through the various “stages of enlightenment,” described in the literature of Theravada Buddhism. Listen in to hear Kenneth describe these stages, as well as the many things he learned along the way. And listen in to next week’s episode, to hear Kenneth complete his story.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to Part 2, Unifying Developmental Enlightenment and Timeless Realization.Episode Links:The Progress of Insight ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/mahasi/progress.html )Mahasi Sayadaw ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahasi_Sayadaw )Kenneth Folk Dharma ( http://www.kennethfolk.com )

  • The Mountain of Spirit
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    This week we’re joined by Zen-inspired dharma teacher, Michael McAlister. Michael is the leader of the Infinite Smile sangha, just east of Berkeley, in what Michael calls, “the hard edge of suburbia.” After many years of Zen practiced with the San Francisco Zen Center, Michael set up to teach a form of dharma that wasn’t bound by tradition.Some of the topics we discussed with Michael include climbing the mountain of spirit–a stirring and ancient metaphor for the spiritual journey, the 7th, 8th, and 9th spiritual senses, and finally the things that Michael has learned while endeavoring “to integrate a relevant spirituality with 21st century living.”Episode Links:Ken Wilber ( http://www.kenwilber.com )Awake in This Life: A Guide for Those Climbing the Mountain of Spirit ( http://bit.ly/6B44Zf )

  • Feminine Zen
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    Grace Schireson is a Zen master in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and is the abbess of the Empty Nest Zendo in northern California. She joins us today to explore some of the main themes in her recently released book, Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens, and Macho Masters.Among the topics we discuss are what the traditional stereotypes of females in Zen have been, and the recently discovered literature on women in Zen who did not fit these stereotypes. We then look at the unique way these women practiced Zen and how what they learned can be applicable to us today. We finish the discussion by speaking about feminine spirituality in general, and the prevalence of the “great mother” in all of the world’s wisdom traditions.Episode Links:Empty Nest Zendo ( http://www.emptynestzendo.org )Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens, and Macho Masters ( http://bit.ly/5jlS2D )

  • Returning to the Marketplace
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    This week we speak with Zen Master, Genpo Roshi, about the relationship between money and spirituality. It’s a hot topic and one that he is incredibly passionate about. He shares the details of a successful new fundraising campaign that his community puts on called the Big Heart Circle or 5/5/50. 5/5/50 stands for five people for five days, and at the cost of a $50,000 donation do a retreat with Genpo. He shares with us the specifics behind that retreat, including how the money is used, and responds to those people who find what he’s doing offensive.He also shares his observations on how he, and many other spiritual practitioners, disown their own ambition, competitiveness, and greediness in a way that causes it to come out in extremely pernicious ways. The key, to him, is to re-own those parts of ourselves that we can be of benefit to all sentient beings, and just as in the 10 ox-herding pictures, re-enter the marketplace with gift bestowing hands.Episode Links:Big Mind – Big Heart: Finding Your Way ( http://bit.ly/JRp9q )Big Mind Zen Center ( http://bigmind.org )

  • Eddies in the Stream
    Wed, Jul 22, 2015


    We conclude our uber-geeky conversation with neuropsychologist and dharma teacher Rick Hanson this week, exploring what might be happening in the run-up to the transforming moment of nirvana. In the Theravada tradition of Buddhism the moment or nirvana (or nibbana as it’s called in that tradition), and even the period leading up to it, is spiritually transformative. Using one common map of the experiences leading up to nirvana–the 8 jhanas–Rick explains what he thinks might be happening in the brain as it approaches the “event horizon” of nibbana.He also uses the metaphor of eddies in a stream to explain the way that experience arises on a moment-by-moment basis, through the firing of neural coalitions in the brain. He also explores the parallels between the eddies of experience and self in our subjective experience with the material world.This is part 3 of a three-part series. Listen to part 1, A Crash Course in Applied Neurodharma and part 2, Self is a Network Phenomenon.Episode Links:Wise Brain ( http://www.wisebrain.org )Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom ( http://bit.ly/J4gPr )

  • Self is a Network Phenomenon
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    We’re joined again by Neuropsychologist and Theravada teacher, Rick Hanson. This time we explore the Buddhist proposition of anatta, or selflessness, from the point of view of neuroscience and the brain. Rick explores whether a self actually exists using the following 4 core attributes of how a self is often defined:1. It is unified & coherent2. It is stable & enduring3. It is independent4. It is the whole of experienceLooking at current research on how the self manifests in the brain, as what Hanson calls a “network phenomenon”, he deconstructs each of these four attributes, arguing that “self is not special inside the brain.”This is part 2 of a three-part series. Listen to part 1, A Crash Course in Applied Neurodharma and part 3, Eddies in the Stream.Episode Links:Wise Brain ( http://www.wisebrain.org )Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom ( http://bit.ly/J4gPr )

  • A Crash Course in Applied Neurodharma
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week, we’re joined by trained Neuropsychologist and Theravada Buddhist teacher, Rick Hanson, to explore what he calls “applied Neurodharma.” We begin by exploring the 1st noble truth of suffering, but from the perspective of evolutionary neurobiology. In other words, why does it appear that we’re hard-wired to suffer, and what are the mechanisms behind it?And just as in the 4 noble truths, where we start with the diagnosis and end with a prescription, after exploring the 1st noble truth, Rick shares some suggestions for training the mind to overcome some of the hardwired tendencies we have to fixate on the negative. These suggestions come both from the Buddhist tradition, as well as directly from what we know of the distributed nervous system (and the Brain) from modern-day neuroscience.This is part 1 of a three-part series. Listen to part 2, Self is a Network Phenomenon and part 3, Eddies in the Stream.Episode Links:Wise Brain ( http://www.wisebrain.org )Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom ( http://bit.ly/J4gPr )

  • Work, Sex, Money, Dharma
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Martin Aylward continues his discussion with us how we can bring forth a more relevant, relational, and potent form of contemporary dharma practice. He begins by exploring the tendency for Western practitioners to rely too much on retreat practice, instead of on the juice that comes from their daily lives, and the need to work more skillfully with our everyday experience.In particular he highlights the areas of money and sex, as being areas of our lives that have a lot of charge, and yet are usually nominalized in dharma teachings. In 2010 Martin will be leading a special urban-based retreat (or sandwich retreat) entitled Work, Sex, Money, Dharma that deals specifically with these parts of our human experience, in the hopes that we can create a practice of awakening that includes every aspect of our lives.This is part 2 of a two part series. Listen to part 1, Freestyle AwakeningEpisode Links:Le Moulin Meditation Centre ( http://www.dharmanetwork.org )Work, Sex, Money, Dharma ( http://worksexmoneydharma.com )

  • Freestyle Awakening
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    The theme of distinguishing between the Buddhist teachings and forms which lead to awakening, and those forms that are culturally inherited and perhaps unsuited for our current Western context, is an ongoing one on Buddhist Geeks. This week, we continue this exploration with Dharma teacher, Martin Aylward.Martin, who lives in southern France, where he runs and teaches as Le Moulin Meditation Centre, has been actively exploring what it means to translate Dharma to the West. He recognizes that we’re still quite early in that process, but is a pioneer when it comes to adapting the forms of Buddhism to the West. His use of technology and emphasis on relational dharma, as well as what calls “Freestyle” or “DIY Awakening” is a striking attempt at making Dharma more relevant for the lives of Western, engaged, lay practitioners.This is part 1 of a two part series. Listen to part 2, Work, Sex, Money, Dharma.Episode Links:Ajahn Buddhadasa ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhadasa )Le Moulin Meditation Centre ( http://www.dharmanetwork.org )Work, Sex, Money, Dharma ( http://worksexmoneydharma.com )

  • Investing in the Future of American Buddhism
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    We continue our discussion with Shambhala acharya, Judith Simmer-Brown, about how we can strategically invest in American Buddhism so that it survives in the long-term. We explored the first three areas of importance in-depth in part 1, which included the translation of core texts, the development of a monastic lineage, and the appointment of dharma heirs.In this part of the discussion we flesh out the details of the fourth area, which is royal patronage. Judith speaks about how, given a lack of that kind of support, most dharma teachers and organizations turn whole-heartedly to the market to sustain them. And with that come all sort of issues–including the pursuit of fame and fortune. We finish the discussion, going back to the question of whether we’ll be able to develop a monastic community in the West, and why that’s important to the healthy development of Buddhism in America.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, The Survival of American Buddhism.Episode Links:Naropa University ( http://www.naropa.edu )Tassajara Zen Center ( http://www.sfzc.org/tassajara/ )Gampo Abbey ( http://www.gampoabbey.org )

  • The Survival of American Buddhism
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week, we’re joined by Shambhala acharya and Naropa University professor, Judith Simmer-Brown. She joins us today to discuss four areas, which she learned about while at Colombia University in the late 60’s, that help determine whether or not Buddhism will take root in a new country. These four are:1. The translation of core Buddhist texts into English2. The development of a monastic lineage w/ American lineage holders3. The training and appointment of dharma transmission holders4. Royal patronage, or financial support from within the countryAfter describing each area of focus, Judith goes into depth as to how we’re doing with the first three areas, today in America. She shares her reflections, while also raising some provocative questions, as to how we’re doing with building a sustainable infrastructure for Buddhism to prosper in the West. Next week, we’ll finish the conversation by exploring the 4th area in depth, and speaking about how we can best invest in the future of American Buddhism.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Investing in the Future of American Buddhism.Episode Links:Becoming Whole: Lineage and Gender in American Buddhism ( http://bit.ly/1VrfRUW )The Scholar-Practitioner: Joining Theory and Practice ( http://bit.ly/1Vrggqu )

  • Turning Your Back to the Buddha
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Insight Meditation teacher, Rodney Smith, joins us to explore the topic of “urban dharma”–seeing that the transformative potential of one’s life and relationships are on equal footing with silent, more passive forms of meditation. Rodney critiques the common tendency to elevate silent retreat practice above all other aspects of practice. As part of that exploration he also shares a moving story from his time studying with the famous Advaita teacher Nisargadatta Maharaj.Rodney concludes by exploring what it might it mean to be a “Buddhist revolutionary,” updating and contemporizing the Buddhist teachings, while “turning one’s back to the Buddha and moving forward…”This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Stepping out of Self-Deception.Episode Links:I Am That ( http://bit.ly/1gfAD2 )Dharma Talks by Rodney Smith ( bit.ly/1TOJ5LH )Seattle Insight ( www.seattleinsight.org )Lessons From the Dying ( bit.ly/40F0Gh )

  • Stepping out of Self-Deception
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Rodney Smith, the founder of the Seattle Insight Meditation Society, joins us today to discuss several fascinating topics. We start with an exploration of how the Big Bang and the origin of life on Earth (some 3.8 billion years ago) and spiritually significant events. We also discuss the overall compatibility between Buddhist teachings and these new found scientific findings.Finally, Rodney shares with us a powerful mathematical analogy for understanding the spiritual path, that of fractions. The numerator of the fraction represents the appearances of things, and the denominator represents the undifferentiated wholeness underlying appearances. Rodney shares how spiritual practice, and the process of dying, can both help us cross the fraction line.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Turning Your Back to the Buddha.Episode Links:Dharma Talks by Rodney Smith ( http://bit.ly/1TOJ5LH )Seattle Insight ( http://www.seattleinsight.org )Lessons From the Dying ( http://bit.ly/40F0Gh )

  • Buddha in a Cup of Tea
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week, we’re joined by Kenneth Cohen, a well-known qi-gong master. Along with his training in the Taoist qi-gong and tai chi chuan, Kenneth has a strong connection to the Zen tradition and to the Japanese tea ceremony.In this episode, he shares with us some of the history of tea (the camellia sinensis plant), its long-standing relationship to the Buddhist tradition, his own training with Japanese tea master Millie Johnstone, and the wonderful profundity of drinking a simple cup of tea.Episode Links:www.KennethCohen.comTao Te Ching ( http://bit.ly/1UysbC )The Way of Qigong ( http://bit.ly/1P0BiP )

  • The Mechanisms of Kensho
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    "A perception, sudden as blinking, that subject and object are one, will lead to a deeply mysterious wordless understanding; and by this understanding will you awaken to the truth of Zen." – Zen Master Huang-poThe above quote, taken from James Austin’s newest book Selfless Insight, is a description of kensho, an "initial awakening" to the true nature of things. We continue our discussion, this week, with James Austin about the importance of both kensho and satori in the Zen tradition, and his hypothesis as to what is happening in the brain, leading up to and during these events. We also discuss the vast importance of the thalamus, which Austin describes as a type of gateway of perceptual experience.Finally, Austin makes a strong distinction between both the absorptions and various types of quickenings that can precede kensho or satori, but that are not the same as them.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, This is Your Brain on Meditation.Episode Links:Selfless Insight ( http://bit.ly/QRGFu )Zen and the Brain ( http://bit.ly/KxYDq )

  • This is your Brain on Meditation
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week we speak with academic nuerologist and Zen practitioner James Austin. Austin, who wrote the well-known book, Zen and the Brain, joins us to explain some of the physical mechanisms underlying both attention and the way we process reality. In terms of attention, he shares with us a very descriptive difference between “top-down” and “bottom-up” modes of attention. He also shares the difference, from the perspective of the brain, between self-centered (egocentric) processing and other-centered (allocentric) processing.He also shares the ways in which these two are related to the different forms of meditation that are commonly seen in the Buddhist tradition. Although sometimes technical, his descriptions are extremely interesting for those who have an interest on the intersection between meditation and the brain.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, The Mechanisms of Kensho.Episode Links:Selfless Insight ( http://bit.ly/QRGFu )Zen and the Brain ( http://bit.ly/KxYDq )

  • A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week with speak with the author of Saltwater Buddha, Jaimal Yogis. Jaimal, a Zen surfer and journalist, wrote Saltwater Buddha to chronicle his late teens and early 20’s as he learned to surf and delved into Zen. He shares with us some of the highlights from this time of his life, and also shares what a powerful metaphor the ocean has been for his spiritual life, especially given his passion for surfing. He also shares some prescient observations about what it’s like being a young Buddhist, and what he notices that is different about the young generation of up-and-coming practitioners.Episode Links:Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to Find Zen on the Sea ( http://bit.ly/3gkIZX )

  • Reflections on 21st Century Dharma
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    In this episode we have a round-table discussion, with members from the NYC-based Interdependence Project, on issues surrounding 21st century dharma in the West. Both Buddhist Geeks and the Interdependence Project tend to attract younger practitioners in their 20s & 30s.So, in this dialogue, where the oldest of us is 31, we take on some interesting questions about how Dharma is changing in the West, what challenges we face in the future, the economics of dharma, and the implications of a generation who are so interconnected with technology and culture. Listen in to hear a genuine conversation between young practitioners who are trying to find their way as Buddhist practitioners in the 21st century.Episode Links:The Interdependence Project ( http://theidproject.com )Free: The Future of a Radical Price ( http://bit.ly/2seHGB )Buddhism & Money: Does Priceless Mean It’s Free? ( http://bit.ly/ukzoG )Nellie Tinder ( http://www.nellietinder.org )

  • Artificial Wisdom
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    We’re back again with Artificial Intelligence researcher and Zen-dabbler, Ben Goertzel. We continue our exploration of some of the major themes in his non-fiction story “Enlightenment 2.0?. This precipitates a conversation about whether consciousness is a result of the mechanisms of the brain, or whether it is fundamental. And connected to that, what are the ethical implications of creating an artificial intelligence, if we do indeed see it as having BuddhaNature?Finally, Ben shares what he has discovered while exploring the notion of “artificial wisdom”–including what difference there is between intelligence and wisdom. He also talks about the seeming incompatibility between intense scientific thinking and enlightenment, and how that might be rectified by creating a more wise and intelligent super-mind.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Enlightenment 2.0.Episode Links:Artificial Wisdom ( http://bit.ly/2sVNQu )Enlightenment 2.0 ( http://www.goertzel.org/new_fiction/Enlightenment2.pdf )The Multiverse According to Ben ( http://multiverseaccordingtoben.blogspot.com )www.goertzel.org

  • Enlightenment 2.0
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week we speak with Ben Goertzel, an artificial intelligence researcher and Zen-dabbling spiritual seeker. Ben shares with us his introduction to Zen and his on-going relationship to spiritual practice. He also explains what is meant by “strong artificial intelligence” and AGI (artificial general intelligence) and explains why he thinks a fully functioning AI may be as little as a decade away.Finally, we explore the overlap between his work as an AI researcher and his experiences with Zen and other spiritual practices, through discussing a story he wrote entitled, “Enlightenment 2.0? about an enlightened AI being who determines that it is possible to construct a more enlightened mind, what Ben calls a “super mind”, but isn’t sure whether or not it is possible for us.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Artificial Wisdom.Episode Links:Enlightenment 2.0 ( http://www.goertzel.org/new_fiction/Enlightenment2.pdf )The Multiverse According to Ben ( http://multiverseaccordingtoben.blogspot.com )www.goertzel.org

  • Meditation is Good for Your Life
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    In this episode we speak with Karma Kagyu teacher, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. He starts off by telling us about how he got into formal Buddhist practice, at the tender age of 9. He also shares some of his initial challenges with anxiety, and how he was able to work with it on his first 3-year retreat. Rinpoche also shares some suggestions for meditators who are fairly new to the path, suggesting that they focus on 1) Wisdom & 2) Method. In addition to that he speaks about what makes a good teacher and whether or not it is vital to practice in a particular lineage.We finish our interview with Rinpoche discussing the importance of Joy on the Buddhist path, and of what he calls “Boundless Joy.” Tying in with that he shares what it was like participating in the meditative research conducted by Dr. Richard Davidson, and what the results of that study were.Episode Links:Sitting Quietly, Doing Something ( http://happydays.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/sitting-quietly-doing-something/ )The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness ( http://bit.ly/8Se7E )Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom ( http://bit.ly/UcxEb )The Yongey Foundation ( http://www.mingyur.org )

  • The Erotic Embrace of Life and Meditation
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    We’re joined today by Vidyuddeva, a young Zen teacher who spent 5 years in monastic training with Zen Master Steve Hagen. Vid is now a teacher in his own right, and teaches with both the iEvolve Practice Community as well as with the Integral Spiritual Center (founded by Ken Wilber).In this episode, Vid shares with us how he came to the dharma, and how it eventually led to his time as a Zen monastic. He also turns the table on the Geeks and begins questioning us as to what the significance is between meditation and life. Listen in to hear more from this young & dynamic voice of wisdom.Episode Links:Dharma Field Zen Center ( http://www.dharmafield.org )Buddhism Plain and Simple ( http://bit.ly/ZjJFK )iEvolve: Global Practice Community ( http://www.ievolve.org )

  • Erik Curren: The Buddhist Politician
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Erik Curren is a business leader, community activist, author, Buddhist meditator, and politician—who is running for state legislature in Virginia during the 2010 election period. We were contacted by Erik’s campaign manager, who told us that Erik’s Buddhist background was causing a backlash of religious intolerance from some camps, including his fellow Democrats. We spoke with Erik about the importance of religious freedom in American politics, as well as about the way that the Bodhisattva ideal impacts his work as a politician.Finally, we speak with Erik about his first book, Buddha’s Not Smiling, which explored some of the issues behind the current controversy between the two young men who both claim to be reincarnations of the 16th Karmapa–the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu school. It turns out that there is corruption and misunderstanding in Tibetan politics, just as there are in American politics.Episode Links:OnBeing: Liberating the Founders ( http://www.onbeing.org/program/liberating-founders/122 )Buddha’s Not Smiling : Uncovering Corruption at the Heart of Tibetan Buddhism Today ( http://bit.ly/UnLD6 )

  • Buddhist Chaplaincy, Buddhist Youth
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week we’re joined by Reverend Danny Fisher–a Buddhist Chaplain and author. Danny shares with us his reasons for becoming chaplain, where the notion of chaplaincy or service to others comes from in the Buddhist tradition, and what it’s like to undertake a Buddhist-based divinity program.In the 2nd half of our conversation we ask him about his take on the challenges and opportunities that young Buddhists encounter. Being an emerging voice for young Buddhists, and a popular Buddhist blogger, Danny shares with us some of his thoughts on what it’s like being a young Buddhist today.Episode Links:Girimananda Sutta ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.060.than.html )University of the West – Buddhist Chaplaincy Program ( http://bit.ly/1TOH8yZ )

  • Buddhist History 101
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week we speak with esteemed scholar, and the former professor of Buddhist Studies at UC Berkely, Dr. Lewis Lancaster. Lewis shares with us the important history of the Buddhist tradition, focusing in particular on the unique attributes of Buddhism that made it the first “world religion,” a religion that is able to detach from it’s original homeland and language and travel wide and far.We also discuss the recent history of Buddhism transitioning to the West, and how Buddhism continues to morph and change through time. Listen in for a great dose of geeky history!Episode Links:Buddhism in a Global Age of Technology ( http://youtu.be/cX2f6QHkU-I )Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative ( http://www.ecai.org )

  • Buddhism and the Evolution of Religion
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Zen teacher Norman Fischer—a teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi—joins us again to speak about the religion, evolution, and Buddhism’s unique role in both. The conversation begins with an overview of American sociologist Robert Bellah’s schema on the evolution of religion throughout the ages. We then discuss the important role that Buddhism can play in the evolution of religion in the West.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to Part 1, Buddhism May Need a Plan B.Episode Links:Robert Bellah ( http://www.robertbellah.com )Everyday Zen ( http://www.everydayzen.org )

  • Buddhism May Need a Plan B
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    As Buddhism transitions to the West, we see that it is doing so in a couple different ways. Some forms look more like their original Asian roots, while others are secular and non-Religious in their presentation. Zen teacher Norman Fischer, an early 2nd generation teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, calls the more traditional forms part of “Plan A” and the more secular forms, “Plan B.”In this interview we discuss with Norman the importance of Plan B approaches, like Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction. We also discuss his personal experience teaching Plan B at places like Google. Finally, we explore how the livelihood of trained and competent meditation teachers may rely heavily on Plan B approaches.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Buddhism and the Evolution of Religion.Episode Links:Why We Need a Plan B ( http://bit.ly/1TOGMs0 )Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction ( http://www.mindfullivingprograms.com/whatMBSR.php )Everyday Zen ( http://www.everydayzen.org )

  • Peter Fenner on Entering into Natural Meditation
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week, I speak with non-dual teacher and former Tibetan monk, Peter Fenner. Peter was a monk for nearly a decade before he disrobed, realizing that the Buddhist practices he was engaged in weren’t leading him to what he was looking for. He then looked to Western psychotherapeutic technologies, and in the process developed a non-dual teaching that relates in part to Madhyamika, Advaita Vedanta, and Western psychology.He calls this approach Radiant Mind, and in this episode we speak with him about the various aspects of his teaching, from a type of deconstructive inquiry based on dialoguing with him, to the formless “practice” of natural meditation. Listen in to hear more about this type of “fruition or results” based spiritual path.Episode Links:radiantmind.netLandmark Forum ( http://www.landmarkeducation.com )Radiant Mind: Awakening Unconditioned Awareness ( http://bit.ly/4a8bZQ )

  • Natural Wakefulness
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week we speak with Shambhala acharya and cultural anthropologist, Gaylon Ferguson. Gaylon speaks about the view of Natural Wakefulness, in short that innate wisdom is there from the beginning. We also discuss the four foundations of mindfulness as they were taught by Chogyam Trungpa, and the differences between emphasizing naturalness and training on the spiritual path.We wrap up by exploring how cultural anthropology and the study of religion fit in with being a practitioner of the dharma. And since Gaylon has done and taught all three, he has a distinctly interdisciplinary approach that you’ll probably find quite interesting.Episode Links:Turning the Mind Into an Ally ( http://bit.ly/19BJgj )The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of Religion ( http://bit.ly/11SuEG )Natural Wakefulness: Discovering the Wisdom We Were Born With ( http://bit.ly/MbrIM )

  • Pop Buddhism & Satori Porn
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week we speak with Gen-X Zen teacher Brad Warner, author of the newly released Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate. We talk a little bit about his book, which leads to a critique of what we might call “Popular Buddhism.” We then ask Brad about an article he wrote called, “Satori Porn”, where he argues that descriptions of enlightenment that make it sound like an experience just aren’t that helpful for students. Even so, at the end of the episode he tries his best to talk about enlightenment, while not describing it in terms of experience.Episode Links:Zen Wrapped In Karma Dipped in Chocolate ( http://bit.ly/ZZOxS )Hardcore Zen ( http://amzn.to/1TOGnG7 )Sit Down and Shut Up ( http://amzn.to/1TOGotw )

  • Insights at the Edge
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    We’re joined again by Tami Simon–founder of the spiritual media company Sounds True and senior student of Vajrayana teacher Reggie Ray. This week we ask her about her new podcast series, Insights at the Edge, where she has been interviewing many of the best spiritual teachers in the world. Jokingly, Tami said that she wanted to name the show, “Grill the Guru.” Even though that was a joke, there is some truth in it, and she uses her opportunity with these different teachers to ask them tough questions about their lives.We also ask her about some of the people that have impacted her the most during her decades of being around, and working with some of the brightest spiritual teachers of our time. She shares stories from some of her favorite luminaries, including Quaker teacher and activist Parker Palmer, Julia Butterfly Hill, Adyashanti, and finally “the living now gate,” Eckhart Tolle.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, You Will Get the Dharma You Need.Episode Links:Eckhart Tolle TV ( http://www.eckharttolletv.com )Geneen Roth: No Situation is Unworkable ( http://bit.ly/1TOG2TT )Insights at the Edge Podcast ( apple.co/1TOFNrL )Sounds True ( www.soundstrue.com )

  • You Will Get the Dharma You Need
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    In this episode we speak with Tami Simon–founder of the spiritual media company Sounds True and senior student of Vajrayana teacher Reggie Ray. Tami shares us with us the intimate details of her initial meeting with Reggie, and the amazing results that followed. She also describes what she has learned from beginning to teach the dharma to others, while also making a vow to only teach that which she truly knows.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Insights at the Edge.Episode Links:Dharma Ocean ( http://www.dharmaocean.org )Meditating with the Body ( http://bit.ly/1TOFIV5 )Insights at the Edge Podcast ( http://apple.co/1TOFNrL )Sounds True ( http://www.soundstrue.com )

  • Dharma Music Can Sound Like Anything
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week we speak to the Buddhist-inspired musician Ravenna Michalsen. She explains why dharma music need not sound the way we think it should (think monks chanting in Asian in a cave). Instead, Ravenna’s music crosses musical genres and stretches our notion of what dharma music is. We also discuss the life and teachings of Machig Labdron, one of Tibet’s most famous female masters and the inventor of the Ch?d lineage of practice. At the end of the interview we end with a song from Ravenna’s album Dharma Song called “Ki Ki So So.”Episode Links:Women of Wisdom ( http://bit.ly/BZTyo )Mindful Music ( http://www.tricycle.com/insights/mindful-music )

  • The Evolution of the Mind and Life Dialogues
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week, Adam Engle, the business mastermind behind the Mind and Life Institute, joins us to discuss both the evolution of the project as well as its larger impact. The first Mind and Life Dialogue was held in Dharamsala, India in 1987 with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Since then, Adam says, it has done more than any other organization to help “legitimatize the scientific study of meditation.”Listen in to hear more about how they’ve gone about creating an active collaboration between scientists and contemplatives, and what kind of fruit that collaboration has borne.Episode Links:Educating World Citizens for the 21st Century ( http://www.educatingworldcitizens.org )Mind & Life Institute ( http://www.mindandlife.org )

  • The Great Work of Western Magick
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Alan Chapman is a Western magick practitioner, and the author of the newly released book, Advanced Magick for Beginners. Alan found his way into the field of Chaos magick through the work of Aleister Crowley and since has worked with a powerful technique called “the Holy Guardian Angel,” which very much like the guru yoga techniques of the Vajrayana schools, allows one to surrender to an external guide on the path to enlightenment.Alan shares with us the details of the Western occult tradition, including its core purpose of enlightenment, which he calls “the great work” of magick. He also connects some of the spiritual practices of magick with the Buddhist maps and models. Finally, he shares with us some of the details of a project he has recently launched called Open Enlightenment, whose purpose is to promote a transparent and open discussion surrounding the nature of enlightenment throughout the world’s mystical traditions.Episode Links:The Baptist’s Head ( http://www.thebaptistshead.co.uk )Advanced Magick for Beginners ( http://bit.ly/2v5mMu )

  • The Mystery of the Mind: Ten Zen Questions
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Dr. Susan Blackmore–a psychologist and long-time Zen practitioner–shares with us the discoveries that she made while writing her latest book, Ten Zen Questions. Listen in to find out what she discovered after many, many hours of asking questions, such as: “Am I conscious now?”, “What was I conscious of a moment ago?”, & “There is no time. What is memory?”Also, listen in to hear how she feels this type of exploration, often called Koan training in the Zen Buddhist tradition, can illuminate and inform the traditional scientific study of consciousness.Episode Links:The Headless Way ( http://www.headless.org )Ten Zen Blog ( http://tenzenbookblog.wordpress.com )Dr. Susan Blackmore ( http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk )Ten Zen Questions ( http://bit.ly/bxloL )

  • The Dharma Overground
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Daniel Ingram, Theravada meditation teacher, joins us today to discuss the online community he and Buddhist Geeks host, Vince Horn helped create, The Dharma Overground. Daniel shares how the Dharma Overground has been a grand experiment in discussing practical, down-to-earth, and empowering dharma out in the open and the results of that experiment thus far.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book.Episode Links:The Dharma Overground ( http://www.dharmaoverground.org )Interactive Buddha ( www.interactivebuddha.com )Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha ( bit.ly/E1tF )

  • An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Daniel Ingram, a Theravada meditation teacher and one of our most popular guests, joins us again to discuss his recently published book, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. In discussing the book we dive into some of the more foundation distinctions he makes, including that of the three trainings. Daniel claims that the trainings in morality (or ethics), concentration (or meditation), and insight (or wisdom) are distinct trainings, each having their own unique gold standard. He explores each of these gold standards and pays particular attention to the gold standard of insight, which has to do with seeing the three characteristics of experience—impermanence, suffering, and not-self.Listen in for some geeky, technical, and hard-hitting dharma from one of today’s little known, yet extremely profound, American dharma teachers.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, The Dharma Overground.Episode Links:Interactive Buddha ( http://www.interactivebuddha.com )Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha ( http://bit.ly/E1tF )

  • Western Buddhism: Megatrends & Scandals
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Lama Sarah Harding, Tibetan translator and student of the late Kalu Rinpoche, joins us again to discuss some of the major trends in Western Buddhism. Having taught a class on “Buddhism in America” for the past several years, Sarah is uniquely positioned to share some key insights on this topic. We cap the conversation off discussing the regular, and unfortunate, occurrence of scandal within different Buddhist communities in the West, and what some of the major causes seem to be.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, The Traditional 3-Year Retreat: Intensive Training for a Nonexistent Job.Episode Links:Zen Masters: Dressing the Donkey with Bells and Scarves ( http://bit.ly/1TOEOYQ )The Darker Side of Zen: Institutions Defining Reality ( http://bit.ly/1TOEOrF )

  • The Traditional 3-Year Retreat: Intensive Training for a Nonexistent Job
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Lama Sarah Harding, Tibetan translator and student of the late Kalu Rinpoche, joins us to discuss the experience of doing a traditional 3-year retreat in the Tibetan tradition. She was part of a small group of people, who in the mid 70’s did the first 3-year retreat held for Westerners.Listen in to find out more about the practices one does during the traditional retreat, what the biggest challenges can be, and what the benefits are (especially when compared with shorter periods of practice).This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Western Buddhism: Megatrends & Scandals.Episode Links:Jamgon Kongtrul’s Retreat Manual ( http://bit.ly/3oIyzG )

  • The Buddha Didn't Have a Credit Card
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Insight Meditation teacher, Diana Winston, joins us to discuss an extremely relevant topic: Buddhism & Money. We explore whether or not spirituality and money are incompatible (as they are often seen) and if not how they might go together.Diana shares with us some of the original, though not so well known, teachings that the historical Buddha gave on money. She also discusses why both Buddhist teachers and practitioners should work with money and become familiar with it, and recounts her own journey with spiritual practice and money and how she has been able to bring the two together.Episode Links:The Dighajanu Sutta ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.054.than.html )Hooked!: Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume ( http://bit.ly/1IjV3V )Wide Awake: Buddhism for the New Generation ( http://bit.ly/S7BlN )

  • Different Types of Jhana: Sutta, Vishudimagga, & Vipassana
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    We continue our discussion with insight meditation teacher and author, Richard Shankman. In this episode we continue to dissect the different kinds of samadhi and their respective fruits–what in the Theravada tradition are called jhana (or “meditative absorption”). According to Shankman there are two ways of approaching the attainment of jhana, one as was taught in the original canonical texts of the Theravada, the Pali Suttas, and the other from the later commentaries on the Buddha’s teachings, the Vishudimagga. As a result we get two different forms of jhana–one called Sutta jhana and the other called Vishudimagga jhana. This two-fold understanding, though geeky, shines light on the different methods of practicing both samadhi and vipassana meditation and offers a unitary model for understanding the two together.We also briefly touch on a term called “vipassana jhana,” which is used by notable Burmese and American insight meditation teachers, and relate the development of insight (via vipassana) to these two jhana systems. For those folks who have experience practicing or studying in the Theravada tradition you will likely find your understanding of the tradition deeply enriched. For those in other traditions you will almost certainly find this an interesting glimpse into the detailed intricacies of a one of the oldest Buddhist traditions of meditation.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, The Power of Samadhi.Episode Links:The Visuddhimagga ( http://bit.ly/18bagN )The Pali Suttas ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sutta.html )richardshankman.orgThe Experience of Samadhi: An In-depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation ( http://amzn.to/1TODIMI )

  • The Power of Samadhi
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Richard Shankman–a teacher in the insight meditation tradition and the author of the recently released book The Experience of Samadhi–joins us to discuss the various teachings and approaches to what in the Theravada tradition is called samadhi or concentration meditation.During this episode Richard shares some of his personal background with samadhi practice and also explains two different forms of deep samadhi, called jhana in the Theravada tradition–one from the time of the Buddha as captured by the Pali Suttas and another which arouse hundreds of years later and which is captured in the authoritative text, the Visuddhimagga. Listen in to find out about these different forms of deep concentration and absorption, which are a hallmark of the Theravada tradition of Buddhism…This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Different Types of Jhana: Sutta, Vishudimagga, & Vipassana.Episode Links:The Visuddhimagga ( http://bit.ly/18bagN )Mahasi Sayadaw ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahasi_Sayadaw )richardshankman.orgThe Experience of Samadhi: An In-depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation ( http://amzn.to/1TODIMI )

  • Vajrayana in Plain English
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    In this episode, we continue our dialogue with Shingon teacher Hokai Sobol. We begin our conversation by dropping a difficult question on Hokai, asking him how the Vajrayana traditions (both the Japanese and Tibetan) can maintain relevance in our post-modern and rapidly changing world. He suggests that we must develop a “Vajrayana in Plain English,” one that is germane to the particularities of this time and space.And as the 1st generation of Buddhist teachers and leaders near retirement-age, now is the only time that we have to do so. Listen in to hear his take on making the Vajrayana not only more relevant, but on it becoming a pioneering force and cultural leader in today’s world. This includes the way that Buddhist teachings, practice, & even creative expressions are presented. It includes nothing less than a bold transformation of the tradition.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Japanese Shingon: The True Word School.Episode Links:Hokai.infoMindfulness in Plain English ( http://bit.ly/a7Z4L )

  • Japanese Shingon: The True Word School
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    In this episode we are joined by one of our favorite Buddhist Geeks, Hokai Sobol. Hokai who is a teacher in the Shingon Buddhist tradition–a form of Vajrayana found in Japan–joins us today to speak about the Shingon school. Hokai shares with us a brief history of Shingon tradition and its main teacher Kukai, the artistic dimension of Shingon, and also begins to explain the basic teachings and practices of the lineage.Similar to the Tibetan Vajrayana approaches Shingon harnesses things like mudras (gestures), mantras (sounds), and mandalas (visualizations)–which lines up with the three-fold Body, Speech, & Mind. Speaking about mantras specifically Hokai brings us through the three distinct dimensions of mantra practices and shows us how we can understand and practice with the basic mantra of “om”-“ah”-“hum.”This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Vajrayana in Plain English.Episode Links:Hokai.info

  • Embodied Zen
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    “Meditation is the royal road to the unconscious.” – Carl JungGerry Shishen Wick, Roshi joins us today to finish the discussion on koan training, Rinzai and Soto Zen, and on a method of training he uses to help people deal with certain psychological issues–called the Great Heart Way. He sees all of these methods as leading toward a more genuine and embodied Zen.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Koan Training and the Different Styles of Zen.Episode Links:The Great Heart Way: How To Heal Your Life and Find Self-Fulfillment ( http://bit.ly/16ZWG7 )Great Mountain Zen Center ( http://www.gmzc.org )The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Zen Koans ( http://bit.ly/la3Lt )

  • Koan Training and the Different Styles of Zen
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Gerry Shishen Wick, Roshi is a dual-lineage holder of both the Soto and Rinzai schools of Zen. His teacher Maezumi Roshi passed along both lineages, and so we take this unique opportunity to ask Roshi to compare these two different approaches. He talks about shikantaza (Just Sitting) and also about koan practice–sometimes referred to as logical paradoxes.He explains that the koan system includes many different kinds of koans, each with different purposes. Some are meant to reveal the oneness of reality, while others are point to the multiplicity within that oneness. He also discusses the difference between “live words” and “dead words,” and why that distinction is so important in the practice of Koan training.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Embodied Zen.Episode Links:The Three Pillars of Zen ( http://bit.ly/dTTbS )Great Mountain Zen Center ( http://www.gmzc.org )The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Zen Koans ( http://bit.ly/la3Lt )

  • Joseph Goldstein on The Science of Insight
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Joseph Goldstein–one of the primary figures in the development of the Insight Meditation movement–finishes up his conversation with us by sharing his perspective on the recent cross-pollunation of the Buddhist meditation with scientific investigation. He shares some of the recent studies that he has contributed to–including an in-depth study at the Insight Meditation Society–and also discusses a few research possibilities that he has recommended to scientists. Finally he shares an interesting idea he had for creating a “virtual bardo machine.”This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Joseph Goldstein on the Benefits of Long Term Practice.Episode Links:Mind and Life Institute ( http://www.mindandlife.org )One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism ( bit.ly/kELk5 )Insight Meditation Society ( www.dharma.og )

  • Joseph Goldstein on the Benefits of Long Term Practice
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Joseph Goldstein–one of the primary figures in the development of the Insight Meditation movement–joins us today to discuss the unique benefits of long-term practice. He touches in on the need the train the mind, and hence the need for long periods of dedicated training. He also shares some of the background and vision behind the long-term retreat facility that he helped start called the Forest Refuge–a place where people can come and do long, self-guided retreat practice.Finally, we touch in on the future of the insight meditation tradition, and really the development of Western Buddhism in general.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Joseph Goldstein on the Science of Insight.Episode Links:The Forest Refuge ( http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/forest-refuge )One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism ( http://bit.ly/kELk5 )Insight Meditation Society ( http://www.dharma.og )

  • Tibetan Buddhist Lineage in the West
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Reginald Ray, Tibetan Buddhist scholar and teacher, is back with us this week to discuss some pretty big topics. We explore the break that he made, several years ago with the Shambhala tradition, and the larger implications of becoming a Western teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Connected with that we explore the whole issue of Westerners not being regularly empowered to be teachers, and several of the factors involved in that dynamic. We also touch on whether or not Westeners make the best practitioners, and what seems to keep them from going deep.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, The Forest Dwelling Yogi.Episode Links:Dharma Ocean ( www.dharmaocean.org )Your Breathing Body – Vol 1. ( bit.ly/1HOKNVR )Your Breathing Body – Vol 2. ( bit.ly/1HOKR81 )Touching Enlightenment ( bit.ly/ia0sJ )

  • The Forest Dwelling Yogi
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    “Enlightenment is found in the Body and nowhere else.” – famous Dzogchen sayingWe’re joined in this interview by Reginald Ray–author of numerous books on Tibetan Buddhism and teacher in the lineage of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. In this episode we discuss the forest dwelling meditator, a category of practitioner outside of the normal lay / monastic dichotomy. In particular we look at the role that retreat–both group and solitary–plays for the type of practitioner that does intensive retreat but is not a full-time practitioner. We also discuss Reggie’s teaching emphasis on the shamanic aspect of Vajrayana Buddhism, particulary the role that the body plays in awakening.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Tibetan Buddhist Lineage in the West.Episode Links:Naropa University ( http://www.naropa.edu )Buddhist Saints in India ( http://bit.ly/ixNr8 )Civilized Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetan Societies ( http://bit.ly/mJeGn )Dharma Ocean ( http://www.dharmaocean.org )Your Breathing Body – Vol 1. ( http://bit.ly/1HOKNVR )Your Breathing Body – Vol 2. ( http://bit.ly/1HOKR81 )Touching Enlightenment ( http://bit.ly/ia0sJ )

  • Enlightenment for the Rest of Us
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Shinzen Young joins us again to discuss the possibility of a new way to deliver classical enlightenment to the masses. He discusses the classic delivery systems, which included monastic and lay life. He then builds on that to show a hybrid two-fold delivery system that would incorporate his artificial intelligence system with virtually led home retreats. This Home Practice Program is what is currently being offered at BasicMindfulness.org.Finally Shinzen discusses the “crowning glory” of his mission to unify Western and Eastern technologies, and that is to help nurture the emergence of a “neuro-scientific paradigm for classical enlightenment.” This paradigm could help lead to the emergence of technologies which have the potential to bring classical enlightenment to the masses and hence make large-scale social and individual change. Though Shinzen doesn’t think he’ll see these changes in his own lifetime, he does believe that he can do a lot to help train the future scientists who will.This is part 3 of a 3-part series. Listen to part 1, Shinzen Young: The Hybrid Teacher & part 2, Building a Dharma Successor.Episode Links:Shinzen.org: The Science of Meditation in Action ( www.shinzen.org )Basic Mindfulness: Home Practice Program ( www.basicmindfulness.org )

  • Shinzen Young: The Hybrid Teacher
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Shinzen Young, professional meditation instructor and geek-extraordinaire, joins us today to share his unique journey as a contemplative. From discontinuing his PhD studies to become a full-time shingon practitioner to taking up Japanese Zen and finally discovering the mindfulness practices originating from Theravada Buddhism, Shinzen has gone deep with several contemplative techniques.In addition to his training in the contemplative traditions of the East, Shinzen took time to train himself to become a relatively qualified mathematician and scientist so that he could one day be poised to bring together the best of the East (contemplative practice) with the best of the West (the scientific method). The hybrid of which, he thinks will yield a comletely unique fusion. Listen in to hear more from this incredibly gifted and incredibly geeky meditation teacher.This is part 1 of a 3-part series. Listen to part 2, Building a Dharma Successor and part 3, Enlightenment for the Rest of Us.Episode Links:Shinzen.org: The Science of Meditation in Action ( http://www.shinzen.org )Basic Mindfulness: Home Practice Program ( http://www.basicmindfulness.org )

  • Building a Dharma Successor
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Shinzen Young, professional meditation instructor and geek-extraordinaire, continues his discussion with us on the unique approach he has taken to combining the best of the scientific approach with the best of the contemplative modalities of the East. The result of this combination appears to be a delivery system for enlightenment that uses an interactive and algorithmic approach to guiding a student in their practice. In short, instead of appointing a human dharma successor, he is trying to build one.Listen in to find out more about this artificial intelligence system, which he refers to as “virtual Shinzen,” and how it might revolutionize the way that dharma teaching is done!This is part 2 of a 3-part series. Listen to part 1, Shinzen Young: The Hybrid Teacher & part 3, Enlightenment for the Rest of Us.Episode Links:Shinzen.org: The Science of Meditation in Action ( http://www.shinzen.org )Basic Mindfulness: Home Practice Program ( http://www.basicmindfulness.org )

  • Hollow Bones Zen
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Jun Po Roshi, an American Zen Master in the Rinzai Zen tradition, joins us again this week to discuss the limitations of Japanese Zen as it enters contemporary American culture. He also shares the way that his Hallow Bones Zen community has re-organized the core teachings of the Buddha in their five training elements:Sacred stewardshipPhilosophical re-indoctrinationEmotional maturity & integrityConscious embodimentGenuine insightThese five training elements are a re-working and re-presentation of the original 8-fold path, but one that was designed specifically for our time and place.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Psychotropics and NeuroLinguistic Zen.Episode Links:Hollow Bones Zen School ( http://www.hollowbones.org )

  • The Zen Tree Fort in the Sky
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Ken Wilber coined the terms “ascending” and “descending” to describe two possible orientations to spiritual practice. The ascending path has to do with transcending the world, leaving samsara behind, and fusing with the infinite. The descending path has to do with finding spirit in the world–in the midst of everyday life. Both approaches are important, and both have been clearly highlighted in Stuart Davis’s journey as a Zen practitioner.Listen in to hear Davis’s radical flip-flop between these two approaches. Where Davis once found himself sitting up in his “Zen tree fort in the sky” he now finds that “the mystery” is most intimately connected with being a father & husband. Lastly, Davis shares with us a very strange and powerful connection he has with crows (yes, the animals), who apparently are an important symbol in the Zen tradition.This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Stuart Davis: Bodhisattva Rocker.Episode Links:Stuart's Crow Paintings ( http://www.stuartdavis.com/paintings )StuartDavis.comSex, God, & Rock ‘n Roll ( http://www.sexgodrocknroll.com )

  • Psychotropics and NeuroLinguistic Zen
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    Jun Po Roshi, an American Zen Master in the Rinzai Zen tradition, joins us to discuss his fascinating history with psychotropic drugs, including a form of LSD, called Clear Light, that he helped to create and distribute a long time ago.We also speak with him about his new form of Koan practice that uses NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP) techniques to help anchor spiritual realization in one’s linguistic structures.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Hollow Bones Zen.Episode Links:Hollow Bones Zen School ( http://www.hollowbones.org )

  • Stuart Davis: Bodhisattva Rocker
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    This week we’re joined by prolific musician, artist, writer, & comic Stuart Davis. Davis, a long-time Zen practitioner, shares with us his background as a creative and the resulting unique understanding that he has of the Bodhisattva’s path.Specifically, we discuss his current creative projects, including a language called IS that he is in the process of developing & and a spiritual talk-show that he’s hosting entitled Sex, God & Rock ‘n Roll. We also cover the topic of re-incarnation, and the spiritual tutelage he has received from his wife Marci. We hope you enjoy this interview with one of the most creative, absurd, and hilarious Zen-artists we know!This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, The Zen Tree Fort in the Sky.Episode Links:StuartDavis.comSex, God, & Rock ‘n Roll ( http://www.sexgodrocknroll.com )

  • The Dhamma Brothers: Vipassana Meditation in Prison
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    We are joined this week by Jenny Phillips, Director and Producer of the newly released documentary, The Dhamma Brothers. The Dhamma Brothers gives an in-depth look at how a trial program of vipassana meditation courses radically transforms the lives of inmates in a the maximum-security prison facility in Alabama.In our interview with Jenny we explore the story behind the film, her intentions for creating it, and the potential ramifications of introducing these powerful meditation practices into an environment where genuine positive transformation is almost unheard of. Put another way we discuss what happens when “East meets West, in the Deep South.”To find out more about the movie and to watch the trailor please visit: www.dhammabrothers.com.Episode Links:Interview with Jenny Phillips on Oprah’s Soul Series ( http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Jenny-Phillips-on-Oprahs-Soul-Series-Webcast )Doing Time, Doing Vipassana ( http://www.karunafilms.com/dtdv/dtdv.htm )The Dhamma Brothers Film ( http://dhammabrothers.com )

  • The Particularities of Awakening
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    The Geeks of the Round Table are back, continuing our discussion of Judy Lief’s article Glimpses of Awakening. We speculate on the language and culture surrounding enlightenment both here in the West and in various countries in the East–including Japan, Burma, and Thailand. We also speculate on how likely it is that people can have initial breakthroughs in their practice (the first glimpses of enlightenment) and how useful it would be to have an empirical, longitudinal study that tracked these kind of breakthroughs. And if you make it all the way to the end of this dialogue you’ll hear something that has a %99 chance of getting you enlightened, right there on the spot. :::wink, wink:::This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, The Buzz Lightyear Model of Enlightenment: To Infinity and Beyond.Episode Links:Episode Links:“Glimpses of Awakening” by Judy Lief ( www.lionsroar.com/glimpses-of-awakening-2/ )The Zen Center of Las Cruces ( www.zencenteroflascruces.org )

  • The Buzz Lightyear Model of Enlightenment: To Infinity and Beyond
    Tue, Jul 21, 2015


    In this episode we bring back the Geeks of the Round Table segment. Joining us is one of our regulars Duff McDuffee, and a new geek to the lineup, Mike LaTorra. Mike is the resident teacher of the Soto Zen Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico.During this conversation we discuss an article written by Shambhala Acharaya Judy Lief entitled, Glimpses of Awakening. We discuss the ideals surrounding awakening, and use the classic three trainings model (of ethics, concentration, & wisdom) to explore what enlightenment is about.This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, The Particularities of Awakening.Episode Links:“Glimpses of Awakening” by Judy Lief ( http://www.lionsroar.com/glimpses-of-awakening-2/ )The Zen Center of Las Cruces ( http://www.zencenteroflascruces.org )

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