Meditation is sometimes thought of as a passive relaxation technique. And I’ll admit, those three words together rub me the wrong way. Meditation is, to me, an active, alive way of being, and that is often far from relaxing, though of course it can be. But to think of the full breadth of contemplative practice as “a technique” is doing a great disservice to the change which can occur by realizing there is no distance between you, and living this very life.
Episode 175 • Pro-Active Sila [ 43:20 ] June 29, 2013.
Gary Gach speaks with us today about sila, the pro-social behaviors of Buddhism — Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood.
Recent events around radical, violent activities from Buddhist monastics in Myanmar have stirred some controversy about the validity of Buddhist practice. It seems that Buddhism isn’t really what it’s all cracked up to be if monks are encouraging violence, let alone enacting it themselves. But are they behaving according to the precepts of the tradition? This is a slippery slope as we run the risk of falling into the No True Scotsman fallacy — no real Buddhist would do these things! To really understand what is, and is not, acceptable action for someone identifying as Buddhist, it might help to learn a bit about sila, the ethical conduct portion of the Eightfold Path.
Episode 143 • Finding the New in the Mix [ 48:25 ] November 19, 2012.
With so many different ways of engaging with Buddhism in the West, it’s hard to not only find what resonates most for us, but to even tell what’s what. Is contemporary Western Buddhism a messy goulash, or wonderfully colorful and tangy salad? Are we really doing Rinzai, or is this particular practice Soto Zen? And frankly, does it matter as tradition evolves?
We see practices under various names like mindfulness finding their way into our culture. We see children being taught to rest their mind in the breath in public classrooms, and their parents benefitting from it in the workplace. This ever changing landscape provides a freshness to the practice that interests those who would otherwise not find it, but also opens up the doors to the social change that our traditional forms can help create.