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Everyday Buddhism 21 - Tibetan Buddhism: There is Only One Dharma

Tibetan Buddhism seems mysterious, intriguing, and sometimes scary. In this episode I talk with Frank Howard of the White Lotus Buddhist Center in Rochester, New York—continuing my series of "Talking with My Teachers"—who explains that it's not as mysterious as it seems and it's certainly not scary! As Frank explains, there is only ONE Dharma and Tibetan Buddhism is a sort of a misnomer. It is Buddhism, containing all Buddhist forms, but also the Vajrayana or Mantrayana path. Like the...


Everyday Buddhism 20 - A Bright Dawn: Conversation with Rev. Koyo Kubose

In this first of a special series of episodes dedicated to honoring my teachers, I have a conversation with the spiritual head of The Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism, Rev. Koyo Kubose. It is with Bright Dawn and my Sensei, I learned how bring Buddhism into the everyday. Listen as we discuss what the Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism and its Lay Ministry program is all about, from Rev. Koyo's perspective ... its historical influences, its mission, vision, and special niche as a...


Everyday Buddhism 19 - Bodhi Day Special: The Grace of Light

Join me for a special episode in honor of Bodhi Day, celebrating Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment. The long nights of December are marked by numerous celebrations using light as a symbol. Bodhi Day can be adopted as a holiday for your own personal or family "culture." Light symbolizes a rekindling of the spiritual impulse and a turning toward awakening, toward enlightenment. Bodhi Day is a time to celebrate our own awakening to the spirit of our Buddha Nature that is lighting our path...


Everyday Buddhism 18 - The 5 Precepts: Gentle Guides Not Commandments

In this episode I'll talk about my uneasy relationship with the 5 Precepts. Do they produce more questions—and more confusion—than answers? Do they cause more suffering than they prevent? I'll explore how, if looked at as rules and "thou shall not's", they set up barriers between Right View and the Dharma I believe the Buddha taught. And they can also separate people from each other and themselves, if they feel like failures. When we work with the precepts, we do so with the understanding...


Everyday Buddhism 17 - Radically Happy: Conversation with Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon

Join me in a conversation with Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon, authors of the just-released book, Radically Happy: A User's Guide to the Mind. In the book and in our conversation, ancient wisdom meets modern methods as we explore the universal search for well-being, for happiness. As Rinpoche and Erric discuss with me, the root of happiness has somehow slipped through our fingers, as we gallop through are always-on, always distracted modern world. And they discuss how their new book...


Everyday Buddhism 16 - Simple Awareness and the Many Forms of Meditation

When we think of Buddhism, we think of meditation. In this episode I will take you on a tour of the many ways to meditate. But at the core of the episode is the simple awareness that all meditation rests on ... and that everyday happiness rests on. Join me as I talk about what simple awareness is. Awareness is simply that and our minds are aware by their very nature, yet that nature is obscured by thoughts and emotions. Simple, clear awareness exists between our thoughts and underneath...


Everyday Buddhism 15 - A Buddha Belongs to the World

Join me as I explore the very earthly foundations of Buddhism itself, as we turn the light of Dharma towards ecology. Siddhartha Gautama asked the Earth to confirm his enlightenment, his Buddhahood. He did not ask for help from heavenly beings. He asked the Earth. In an episode celebrating "Earth Care Week", we'll reflect on climate change and think about our own personal relationship with the earth, as spiritual practice. In giving up grasping at heaven "out there", our home, Mother...


Everyday Buddhism 14 - Protesting? What's in Your Mind?

In the first "Ask Me Anything" Episode, I respond to a listener's question about Buddhist insight into protesting. I circle around this question by sharing thoughts I had from my own life and two Dharma talks I gave in January and July of 2017. Instead of focusing what we're protesting and why, I talk more about what was in my mind and how it made my feel. This is where I think the focus needs to be: "What's in your mind?" Does your urge for speech or action come from an intention of...


Everyday Buddhism 13 - Right Effort: Joyful Balance

In this podcast, we'll look at the sixth part of The Eightfold Path and the first step into the area of meditation: Right Effort. Is your energy, your efforts, positive contributors to making you more content ... and making the people around you more content? If not, maybe you need to bring attention to and tweak your habits a little bit. We'll look at the hindrances to right effort and the obstacles to concentration or destructive trains of thought. It's all about noticing and removing...


Everyday Buddhism 12 - MORE Koans: Bringing Them Into the Everyday

In this podcast, we'll look more closely at koans, poetry, koan practice in general ... and we'll see how to work with one koan, specifically ... to start your practice. We'll look at the koan, "Manjushri Enters the Gate." I will provide an interpretation from Rev. Gyomay Kubose, as well as how I worked with this koan. But each person must bring his own wisdom to a koan. Koan practice IS for everyday life! It is for taking up your everyday — the kitchen or the office — as a koan. How can...


Everyday Buddhism 11 - Koans: Reaching the Limit of Thought

Up for a fun challenge? In this podcast, I talk about my love of Zen Koans, as one of the rarest practices for 'messing with' your conceptual mind and shaking your false trust in the stability of what we think is 'knowledge.' A koan is, in essence, a problem that can't be solved by the intellect. In trying to understand it, you run up against the limitations of thought and, hopefully, tap into a direct and non-verbal awareness of reality. Most people think of koans as riddles or puzzles...


Everyday Buddhism 10 - Right Livelihood is What You Think About What You Do

In this podcast, we'll look at how we can move from thinking about work as what we are ... or as something we're 'stuck with' ... or as something we are 'becoming' on our progression up the ladder ... to how and who we are being with our work. Are we authentic? Are we mindful? Work is THE golden opportunity to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. We spend most of our waking hours at work. This is where we are presented with all the tough choices about right view, right intention, right...


Everyday Buddhism 9 - Right Action is not REaction

When you consciously try to build mindfulness into your day, what you notice is that sometimes NOT speaking and NOT acting is the best possible action … the RIGHT Action. Our culture, we are hard-wired to respond to everything that happens to us, or around us, with either activity or speech. It is nearly impossible to deprogram ourselves from that. Even in situations where there is absolutely nothing we can do, we still impulsively try to do or say something. But sometimes non-action is...


Everyday Buddhism 8 - Mindfulness Discussion with Meg Salter

Mindfulness has become mainstream, but it is still confusing or unreachable for some who try to begin a mindfulness practice. What is it? Meg Salter takes the "woo-woo" out of it. Mindfulness is not some magic light bulb that goes off and you're magically transformed, as Meg explains. You're still the same old person...only a slightly better version. And guess what? It's not all about sitting cross-legged on a $200 cushion. Listen to Meg describe the "real benefit" of mindfulness: when...


Everyday Buddhism 7 - Right Speech: "Zip It!"

In this podcast we're going to talk about "Right Speech" or why we should consider just "zipping it." Talking. We're always talking. Even when we're listening we're talking ... mentally creating our responses. And, now, with endless social media forums and "drive-by" Twitter and Instagram talking, it's a constant stream of yap, yap, yap. Sharing our opinion of everything with everyone. Learn about the 4 practices of right speech ... Oh, and why Buddhas have big ears and small mouths,...


Everyday Buddhism 6 - Got Intention? AKA How to Be Less of a Jerk

In this podcast we're going to talk about "Right Intention" or how to be less of a jerk. Trying to be less of a jerk requires action ... not just thinking. We typically have trouble self-correcting, because we do things habitually or from a reactionary pattern. We never actually see ourselves doing them, until we complete the action. Being mindful is the process needed to accomplish change. Discover the "magic power" of equanimity and learn about Thich Nhat Hanh's 4 practices of right...


Everyday Buddhism 5 - Discussion with Noah Rasheta

In this podcast I'm talking with Noah Rasheta of the Secular Buddhism podcast and author of the books: Secular Buddhism and No-Nonsense Buddhism for Beginners: Clear Answers to Burning Questions About Core Buddhist Teachings. Noah has a great story to share about a crisis of faith, existential angst, and a wondering if everything was falling apart. You won't be disappointed in his story of how he discovers how you can be comfortable in uncertainty through his exploration of Buddhist...


Everyday Buddhism 4 - What Does Buddhism Say About...?

In this episode, as a fun diversion, I'm going to talk about "the Buddhist answer to everything. And the answer is: "Maybe." A loose quote from The Lankavatara Sutra: "Things are not what they seem; nor are they otherwise” … which is really saying things are as we label them and we label them as perceive them at the moment. But someone else may perceive them in a different way and we, also, may very probably perceive them in a different way, at a different time, under different...


Everyday Buddhism 3 - The Slippery Self

In this podcast, we'll look at the Buddhist concept of "No-Self", or Anatta, I introduced in episode 2. Where is your "self"? Is it something you can describe? It's hard to describe or identify as a discrete and non-changing thing, yet we sometimes cling to ideas of self that cause us to be stuck and miserable in life. Do you wear an internal label that "brands" you forever in your own mind, your own sense of identity? Are you trapped wearing the label of chronically ill? Victim? Old and...


Everyday Buddhism 2 - What is Your WHY?

This episode is about finding your WHY. How do you feel about your life? Is it motivated by a big story, something bigger than yourself and your own little ego-driven, perceived wants and needs? The Buddha offered his followers an opportunity to become part of a big story. Being part of a big story is the answer to your WHY. It's a story of how our afflictions are met with a noble response. Do you complain about everything? Your aches and pains, your busyness, the weather? In our culture...