Buddhism and Humanism

We’re back! Using a couple of related listener questions as a jumping off point, we start a conversation about what Buddhism might have to say about (secular) humanism or what humanism might have to say about Buddhism. Apart from anything humanism may have to say about the rejection of a supernatural or religious foundation for

Live show part two: nembutsu and music

In the second installment of our live show, we answer two listener questions. First, we received a question about Shin Buddhist nembutsu practice and the concern that chanting the nembutsu might be something of a crutch, that while making one more calm it might distract us from very real world social problems. We frame this

Seven Masters (part three): is Cthulhu one of the seven masters?

Continuing on in our meandering diversion from a conversation about the Shinshu Seven Masters, this episode starts right where we left off last time in a conversation about the promises and pitfalls of “one Buddhism” or a universal religion. The underlying issue here has to do with problems of difference or “otherness,” something that we

Listener question: where is the Vow?

Inspired by a conversation amongst fans on our Facebook page, we take up the issue of vows in Buddhism. Obviously, we need to start with how vows are understood specifically in the Mahayana context, especially Bodhisattva vows. But these aren’t the only types of vows in Buddhism, and we discuss different types of vows. Some

Live show part four: marriage and politics

In the final episode of our first live broadcast, we tackle more audience questions. To get things started, we field a question about the BCA’s official position on same-sex marriage (a big shout out to Rev. Briones’ officiating at the wedding of George Takei and Brad Altman!). This bounces us around some questions regarding BCA’s

Live show part three: abortion and shinjin

In part of three of the live show series, our first question has to do with Shin Buddhism’s stance on aborted fetuses. Scott cleverly ducks the question but Harry provides some interesting insight into the Japanese ritual of mizuko kuyo (water baby ceremony) and the efficacy of ritual in Shin Buddhist context. Our second question

Live show part two: rants

In the second installment of our Live Show, we start off talking about the distinctiveness of Shin Buddhism and its difference and similarities to other types of Buddhism. This somehow sets us off on a series of rants against, among other things, The Golden Chain and universalistic Buddhism. (Our apologies to Golden Chain or One

First live show: a certain reality

On Friday October 2, we did our first recording before a live studio audience. Setting up in the Kodo of the Jodo Shinshu Center, Harry and I did a little live mixing of our theme music before launching into a regular podcast, this one inspired by a listener question. The question? What’s the Pure Land?

Listener question: where are all the bodhisattvas?

A listener writes in with an extremely interesting question: if Jodo Shinshu claims that when you go to the Pure Land you come back to this world as a bodhisattva, where are all these bodhisattvas?! This begs a lot of questions and raises a lot of issues about Jodo Shinshu Buddhism with the most obvious

Seven Masters (part one): Nagarjuna

Once again, we take our inspiration from you, our listeners! One of our Facebook fans asks about the Seven Pure Land Masters, so we take up the cause with what may be the beginning a seven-part series. In this episode, we talk about Nagarjuna, a seminal figure whose twin concepts, emptiness (shunyata) and the two