Zen

  • Stephen Batchelor in Insight Journal: You don't have to believe in rebirth to be a Buddhist Paid Member

    Not many things in life are free, but there are exceptions. One of them is Insight Journal, the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies publication edited by the center's co-director Andrew Olendzki. You can either order the hard copy or, if you're eco-conscious, download it. Of course, it's always a great help to offer dana—a donation—when you do. The organization supports itself through its paid courses and the generosity of its members and friends. This issue features a piece by Stephen Batchelor on his doubts about (or nowadays, his outright rejection of) rebirth—and he finds what he feels is support in Pali Canon. Years ago we featured a debate between Stephen and Bob Thurman on the topic—Stephen played skeptic, of course, and Bob the true believer. But nowadays Stephen isn't particularly interested in arguing the point and is more likely to reflect on how he came to his beliefs and his ever-evolving understanding of the Buddha's teachings. Here's an interesting excerpt from the Insight article: I am not in any way suggesting that the Buddha rejected the idea of rebirth, or did not believe in it..there is just too much in the Canon to say the Buddha was even agnostic about this. But there is another strand of text that seems to not quite fit that very well. I think the Pali Canon actually has multiple voices within it, not a single, monolithic voice. You get contradictory perspectives introduced all the time, which is part of the very richness of that literature. In the Kālāma Sutta the Buddha says, don’t just accept what I say because I am your teacher, because the tradition says it, or because it seems to be reasonable. At the end of that text, he speaks about the four solaces, or rewards, that come from the practice of the Dhamma. One solace says, if there is indeed another life, if there is, indeed, a law of karmic cause and effect, then, after death, you will be reborn in a happy realm and benefit from the results of your present karma. The second solace says, if there is no future life, if there is no law of karma, then, too, by practicing the Dhamma you will live happy and content, here and now, in this world. That is very striking: the Buddha seems to be saying what really matters is not what may or may not follow after death, but the quality of your experience, here and now in this very life. Admittedly, this passage occurs once, whereas rebirth and karma occur everywhere. Nonetheless, it looks oddly out of place. For that very reason, it is probably original: It would have been in no orthodox tradition’s interest to have added it later. Even more to the point is “the declared and the undeclared” in the Mālunkyovāda Sutta, Majjhima 63: More »
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    Marc Lesser on accepting paradoxes Paid Member

    Marc Lesser, executive coach and Zen teacher, wrote the article "Do Less, Accomplish More" for Tricycle for our Fall 2009 issue. Doing less while accomplishing more sounds like a paradox, right? Well, Lesser has a new article up on the Huffington Post called "Accepting the Paradoxes in Your Life." He writes: More »
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    Seeing the Footprints Paid Member

    I'm a sucker for Oxherding pictures, and Genju's from 108zenbooks are very beautiful. Below is the picture and caption—You can read the original post here. Finding traces of the Ox A commenter on yesterday's post suggested we write a bit about each step. That commentary can be found on 108zenbooks, but maybe starting tomorrow we'll include a just a bit more information for people unfamiliar with the pictures to follow along. Thanks for the suggestion! [Image: 108zenbooks] More »
  • Martine Batchelor on Breaking Bad Habits, Week 3 Paid Member

    It's Week 3 of Martine Batchelor's Tricycle Retreat, "Break Your Addictive Patterns." Martine, a former nun in the Korean Zen tradition, teaches meditation techniques to free the mind from the deep and well-worn channels in which it usually dwells. Meditative techniques can open up untapped mental resources and allow us to creatively engage our problems and find new solutions and move us away from limited reactions that keep us locked into the same old patterns. More »
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    Guess Who's Buddhist? Rob Schneider! Paid Member

    You may know him as the goofy sidekick in Adam Sandler's movies, or as the star of lowbrow comedies like "The Animal" and "Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo," but when it comes to his Buddhist practice, Schneider isn't joking. In a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle Schneider spoke about being a Zen practitioner and the middle way: For 13 years I've been into Zen Buddhism; I only understood it a few weeks ago," says Rob Schneider. "The idea is simple: 'Nirvana,' from the Sanskrit, just means 'breathe out.' You get to a place in your life where you go (sighing with great pleasure) 'Aaaahhhh.' More »
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    Searching for the Ox Paid Member

    There are many beautiful renditions of the classic Ox Herding Pictures online (plus a newish book on the subject featuring art from the late composer John Cage.) But today, 108zenbooks begins a journey of her own with the first picture, Searching for the Ox, reproduced below. (She'll continue over the next nine days with the remaining nine.) searching for the Ox Genju makes no promises that she (or you!) will be enlightened by the tenth and final picture, but it's all about the journey, not the destination, right? [Image: 108zenbooks] More »