Tag: Morality

Practical Zen: An Approach to Secular Ethics

[This is a talk more or less as I gave it at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture on October 23, 2016. It is based on a chapter in Rethinking Religion: Finding a Place for Religion in a Modern, Tolerant, Progressive, Peaceful and

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The Boxes We Live In

One of my favorite sayings, which was from my first Zen teacher, is “We all live in a box, and the walls of the box consist of who we think we are and what we think life should be.” There

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What We Don’t See

Of all the conceits common to humankind possibly the most insidious is that any of us are entirely rational. And often the most irrational people are those who brag about how rational they are. Even if a person’s basic reasoning

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Deluded About Enlightenment

This is a follow up to the post before last, about the death of Joshu Sasaki. The New York Times published an article about it, and apparently not all of the Roshi’s former students acknowledge that what he did was

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Flaws and Zen Teachers

The death of Joshu Sasaki Roshi at the age of 107 was noted in several major U.S. newspapers, but I haven’t heard much about it in the U.S. Zen community, possibly because many would like to forget him entirely. James

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Why Law Shouldn’t Be Based on Morality

There’s a common argument that law ought to be based on morality, but I disagree. While there is a huge amount of overlap, law and morality operate on slightly different planes. I wrote about this in Rethinking Religion, but I

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The Basis of Morality

One chapter in Rethinking Religion is devoted to rethinking morality. Many religious people insist — absurdly, to my mind — that there can be no morality without religion. Secularists have taken up this challenge and have devised various non-religious moral

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