Listener questions: no-self and universal Buddhism

Prompted by another listener question, we start off clearing up some issues about the “no self” or “anatman” doctrine in Buddhism. Does it mean “no soul”? Short answer, yes with an if; long answer, no with a but. In short, there is a world of difference between the question of a soul in a Christian

Listener questions: about us

And we’re back! After a long winter’s break, the DharmaRealm podcast launches its second year “on the air,” so to speak. Prompted by a listener question about why Buddhism “works” for us, we talk about how we each came to discover Buddhism and Shin Buddhism in particular. Harry talks about his experiences growing up in

Reincarnation: part two

In our second conversation about reincarnation, we start off discussing the how the current Dalai Lama’s position is predicated on the belief that he is the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama and how his reincarnation and the reincarnation of other Lamas creates a certain amount of consternation for the government of the People’s Republic

Reincarnation: part one

In the first of two episodes on the endlessly entertaining topic of reincarnation, we start off talking about whether reincarnation really is even a part of Buddhism (we say yes!) and pop-cultural ideas about rebirth (we reject them!). But getting into the nitty-gritty of it all, we discuss how reincarnation can be possible even with

Listener questions: practice

In our first “listener response” episode, we tackle the question of how to practice Shin Buddhism (or any kind of Buddhism) if you don’t live near a community. Our take on the issue begins, appropriately enough, on the Internet and how the Web can be a great source of information. But, of course, the Web

No self

In this month’s first episode, we decided to take on the difficult Buddhist concept of “no self” or anatman. It can be a frightening prospect to give up the idea that any of us have a permanent self, but don’t be afraid! It’s good to wrestle with these ideas and come to a deeper understanding

Suffering: part two

We return to the topic of suffering and start off with the many nuanced meanings of the term. We get into some deep Abhidharma stuff and talk about how all dharmas are marked with impermanence and early Buddhist conceptions of suffering and the nature of samsara. This leads us to a nice little conversation about the relationship between samsara and nirvana which eventually leads us to hearty debate about “basic Buddhism” and what Shinran really knew. We wrap it all up with an insightful commentary on the trap of attachments that cause suffering.

Suffering: part one

We’re back! And we’re talking about suffering! We start with the problem of translation — duhkha as suffering, unrest, un- or dis-satisfactoriness, and so forth. Basically, something’s not quite right. How does this fit in with the Four Noble Truths? What is the cause of suffering? What are the different types of suffering? Today we

Karma: bonus!

Surprise! During our “karma sessions,” we had a lot to say. So we’ve got a short little bonus podcast to wrap up our conversation about karma, the Sharon Stone gaffe, and how karma causes earthquakes. No, no, karma doesn’t cause earthquakes! But we do we do talk about whether or not China’s ruling party has

Karma: part two

In the second installment of our conversation on karma, we start with a critique of Sharon Stone’s comments on karma, the Chinese government, and earthquakes, exploring the problems with her essentialist claims. We don’t linger there long, though, and wander off to discuss good versus evil karma and whether or not those who do intentionally