Study v. Practice

Somewhat in response to a listener question, we dive into the question of practice versus academic study. Is there a difference between academic study and the practice of Buddha? Is one more valuable than the other? Does academic study undermine religious/Buddhist practice? Or can academic study be, in itself, practice? Well, if that’s the case,

Episode 100

Hooray! It’s been ten years since we started this show, and this is our 100th episode! We hit the highlights in this one, themes and topics we’ve touched on several times over the years, including how to practice Shin Buddhism at a distance from a sangha or community. Years ago we tossed out the idea

No-self and Identity

In today’s episode, we respond to a listener question about the possibility, in Shin Buddhism, of reconciling the concept of no-self (anatman) and personal identity (especially in regards to race). To do that, we need to break down the concept of no-self and argue that it’s not necessarily a rejection or negation of any type

Buddhism and Social Justice

For our first full episode of 2018 we tackle a listener question about Buddhism and social justice, jumping off from the tension between accepting things as they are and the urge to stand up to inequality and social suffering. Of course, it wouldn’t be us if we didn’t unpack those terms and dig deep into

Pure Land Diversity

In response to a listener question, we discuss the variety of Pure Land practices outside the Shin and Japanese traditions. We begin by noting that Honen and Shinran set up distinct schools and institutions devoted to a single Pure Land practice (nenbutsu) whereas across the Buddhist world, Pure Land is best understood not as a

Diversity of Buddhist Teaching

Following up on our conversation from last time, we tackle a list of listener questions that we thought would be simple but took us off in really different directions. The first question is whether or not Japanese Buddhist traditions rely on the Pali canon — yes? no? maybe? we don’t know! We (well, really, Scott)

Japanese Buddhism

In response to a bunch of listener questions that we thought would be pretty straightforward, we bring you several episodes to discuss, first, the differences between Japanese Buddhist schools of Jodo Shu, Jodo Shinshu, and Nichiren. What unites these traditions are their founders’ experiences in the Tendai tradition and eventual dedication to a single path

Tariki, Jiriki (Shin and Zen, part three)

Just gonna say it up front: Harry’s on fire in these episodes, saying some profound stuff! In this final installment of our reflections on Shin and Zen practice, we take up the issue of other-power/self-power. We dive right into the deep and complicated issues about the nature of the self, what’s at stake in the

Shin and Zen Practice, part two

We take up the issue from last time, wandering around the historical circumstances of exclusive practice, Kamakura-era Buddhist schools, deal with how the context in which one practices matters, ritual efficacy, heresy, and whether there’s really a difference between zazen and nembutsu. We don’t really answer the question of whether or not one can combine

Shin and Zen Practice, part one

Hey! Check out that new theme song! We finally get around to doing some recording and answering some listener questions, this one about the possibility of combining Shin and Zen Buddhist practice. We dance around the issue for a while, meandering through the minutia of particular ritual styles, before getting to some of the historical