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The Pitfall of Spiritual Achievement

People who start a spiritual path do so because they are seeking. Those who aren’t have no real need for spiritual practice. This seeking may be for existential understanding, resolving internal conflict, finding purpose or myriad other deficiencies in our understanding and engagement with the universe.

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BUDDHISM AS A THERAPY INTERVENTION

Over the years , as a Buddhist practitioner and minister; as well as a Licensed Social Worker; I have been very disheartened when I hear people talk about “Buddhist Therapy.” It is because it is never Buddhist AND therapy. When I read the literature over the years, I have seen many great Buddhist scholars talk about […]

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Buddhist Society of Pittsburgh 4th Annual Vesak

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Who Is Meditating If There Is No “I”?

A meditator asked me, “If we are not dualistic, made of mind and body, then what is observing in mediation?” What a simple question that leads to a very challenging answer. “Who is the observer if we are observing that there is no ‘I’?” In order to answer this question we must look at how […]

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U.S. Army's first Buddhist chaplain, Thomas Dyer

Motivation for Enlightenment

I was speaking with a fellow minister of my order and I asked him what work he was doing. He is working as an Army Chaplain and he replied “I am reminding an infantry company to remain mindful and to bring the spiritual into their training. It’s an uphill battle.” Of course, he is a […]

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Four Noble Truths and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

How do you spend and use a gift of something priceless? If there is a single word that sums up the wisdom of Buddhism to me, it is the word “impermanence.” To not only understand impermanence but embrace it is the sword that cuts the Gordian knot of ignorance and unravels all the aversions (fears) […]

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Choosing a Buddhist Tradition

Hi Sumitta Given my respect for you, and my curiosity, I would like to ask your opinion on the books Radical Acceptance and, especially, Buddhism without Beliefs by Steven Batchelor . I’m still inquiring into what form of Buddhism to follow. If you have time, I would like to ask you a follow up question later. […]

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The Buddhist Freud

As a graduate student in clinical social work, I spend a lot of time reading the theories of psychology. As a serious Buddhist practitioner, I read a lot of Buddhist philosophy and the Pali Canon. Eventually, you come across those moments when you feel like a Reese’s peanut butter cup commercial: “Hey, your Buddhism is […]

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Evolution of the Buddhist Mind

Looking at ourselves biologically, I have to ask “how did we evolve to creatures that suffer (i.e. dukkha)? Certainly, if evolution creates being best suited for its environment, then the concept of suffering must somehow be linked to what is needed for our species to survive. How could Darwin translate Buddhism?

Now this is a pretty big subject, but here is one small part of how neuroscience and Buddhism meet for greater understanding why we the way we are. [CLICK ON TITLE FOR FULL STORY]

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The Science of “Why We Suffer”

What was sticking to the roof of my mouth like peanut butter was the question“why dukkha?” I know what you are going to respond, “Sumitta, we have dukkha because we have unwholesome craving.” But that is my point. Why do we have craving? Not just the Buddhist answers of “ignorance.” That requires a fully evolved brain.

Why did we evolve into a being of craving? Why did we evolve into a being of emotionality? Why have we not evolve through Darwinist evolution into creatures beyond unwholesome craving? What is the scientific explanation of “why we suffer?” [CLICK ON TITLE TO READ FULL STORY]

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Can You Be A Buddhist Christian?

I visited my my family this weekend for a picnic. They live in Chicago. I live almost eight hours away and other family members live even farther. It is rare to get us all together and so I felt compelled to show. I had to deal with many questions of my Buddhist faith. Most of my family is heavily invested into their Christianity and to them, the concepts of any other faith are considered false.

So how do you speak with a Christian that is trying to understand that Buddhism a wholesome practice for everyone? [CLICK ON TITLE TO READ THE FULL STORY]

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AudioBoo– AudioBuddhism

I have discovered something better than twitter. It is called Audioboo! It allows me (and you) to create quick 5 minute podcasts straight from my iPhone. Plenty of time to get in a quick thought.

Like Twitter, you have to learn brevity, but that is probably a good thing too. So if you are interested in signing up and getting more Applied Buddhism audio…we will be putting all the audio podcasts on AudioBoo now.

And you can get them directly on your iTunes like any other podcast!feed://audioboo.fm/users/55922/boos.atom

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If I am not Special, Then Who Am I?

I spend a lot of time talk with individuals and groups about Buddhism. Not only does it provide me an opportunity to share the dhamma, but I find it helps me discover aspects to develop in my own practice.

For example, recently a friend of mine has been struggling with her personal suffering: career, love life, personal sense of happiness, etc. At one point she said to me, “I think I should write a book and call it ‘If I am not special, then who am I?’”

What a brilliant title! “If I Am Not Special, Then Who Am I?”

This got me to thinking of an appropriate response. Why do so many of us feel the need to be special? Why is it the ego (the identity of ‘self’) is part of our natural progression before developing the wisdom of the Dhamma? [CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

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When is Suffering A Good Thing?

Trying to explain Buddhism to non-practings Buddhists can sometimes be a challenge. Nevertheless, it can also be a truly fruitful experience, because it requires you to reflect and answer questions that perhaps get unmindfully conditioned in the brain.

Speaking to a friend of mine about Buddhism, she stated, “ If Buddhism is about non-attachment then I would rather suffer. I enjoy my attachment to things like my family and friends. I may find some suffering from owning a car, but I enjoy my car more than I suffer from it.”

The world is made up of what we use and what gets in our way.

Her statements were true. I honestly believe and practice my Buddhist faith, but I enjoy my family and my pleasure in the suffering I endure with my clinging to them. I do practice unconditional love and acceptance of metta, but that is not the only love I have for them. I have that attached love of a parent and son. [CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

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Pittsburgh Steelers 2005. Photo by Joshua Hudson

Isn’t Suffering Good?

Sumitta, In my opinion, in order to understand suffering you must experience it. So we need to suffer to live and grow. Isn’t this true? __ Dear Dhamma Follower, This is an interesting question. But the first thing we must do is understand what we mean by the word “suffering.” The Pali word (the language […]

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