Month: September 2014

Are We Not Who We Are?

I read recently that success in today’s world requires that we all be brands. As in products that are packaged, marketed and sold. The right “personal brand” will help you present yourself and create a good impression, the article said.

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Religion and Science: Four Perspectives

The 14th Dalai Lama is said to have said, “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” I agree with the quote, but I also think it’s not that revolutionary. Buddhism has made a

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Sam Harris vs. Islam

Sam Harris is very sure that Islam created ISIS, and he criticized President Obama for saying otherwise: As an atheist, I cannot help wondering when this scrim of pretense and delusion will be finally burned away—either by the clear light

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Saying Too Much

In Zen — and I’m sure this is true of other Buddhist traditions as well — students are sternly warned not to talk about a kensho or “enlightenment experience” to everyone and his uncle. It’s fine to discuss these things

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Names and Labels

Many years ago, I “got into” Zen through Taoism, particularly the collection of verses called the Tao Teh Ching (or Daode Jing). Early Zen appears to have been influenced by Taoism, so it wasn’t much of a leap. Now I’m

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The Christian Conceptual Box

One of the challenges in explaining Buddhism to people amounts to breaking through the Abrahamist — and mostly Christian, in the U.S. —  conceptual box into which people compulsively shove all things “religious.” I discussed conceptual boxes in the last

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The Limits of Language

I understand psychologists are studying languages to understand how the languages we speak shape our perception of reality. This Psychology Today article provides a basic if probably superficial explanation. Having spent the past several years soaking my head in ancient

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Have Some Fries With the McJesus

Victoria Osteen, co-pastor with her husband Joel of the massive Lakewood Church of Houston, is catching flack for something she recently said that was posted on YouTube. Here’s the juicy bit: When we obey God, we’re not doing it for

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Killing the Spiritual but Not Religious Buddha

Sam Harris is coming out with a new book called Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, as if the world needs another “spiritual but not religious” book. I did a search in Amazon books for “spiritual but not

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Surrender Has No Goal

In the last post I talked about the differences between surrender and submission. I’m basing much of this on a new book by Zen teacher Barry Magid, Nothing Is Hidden: The Psychology of Zen Koans. I want to discuss this

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