Category: Life

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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Stuck in the Void

[This post originally appeared on About.com Buddhism on September 30, 2013. It sort of goes with the last post, on “Dark Nights and Dukkha Nanas.”] I’ve written a review of  Nothing Is Hidden: The Psychology of Zen Koans, a new

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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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My Heresy on Spiritual but Not Religious

“Spiritual but not religious” has become a new orthodoxy. In some circles one cannot say anything positive about “religion,” even in a generic way, without being informed one is behind the times.  Religion = bad. Spiritual = good.  Religion is

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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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The Misuse of Mindfulness

Back in the Jurassic Age when I was a college student, a boyfriend decided he was going to live a completely spontaneous life. He would make no plans but simply do what he felt like doing at the moment, he

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