Suspension of Disbelief

We’re not done with TRON yet! Well, sort of we are. We use TRON — film, art, music, anything really — as a jumping off point for discussing the suspension of disbelief. What is it about our expectations or preconceptions that sometimes get in our way, that keep us from appreciating certain kinds of films?

Buddhism and TRON

We’re going to talk about Buddhism and sci-fi again! Get ready for several episodes about sci-fi, movies, music, the creative process, and Buddhism. In this episode we talk about TRON: Legacy, a movie that probably only the two of us and, like, three other people ever saw. But it’s got specific and explicit Buddhist references.

Startling Superficial Soteriological Similarities

Inspired by a listener question, we explore some of the superficial similarities between Pure Land Buddhism and the monotheistic religions. After considering the difficulty of really knowing the historical origins of Mahayana Buddhism and Pure Land Buddhism, let alone what sort of connections may have existed between South Asia and the Near East, we think

Episode 51: We’re back!

It’s been six months since our last episode. Where’ve we been? What did we do all summer? Now that we’re back in the “studio,” we recap some of the stuff we’ve been working on and promise to release new episodes this fall. After a short chat about what it’s like to be a professional Buddhist,

Buddhism, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness

Hey! This is our fiftieth episode! This week, we take up our conversation from last time about aspects of American culture and their intersection with Buddhism — this time, talking about freedom. What does freedom mean in an American context? And how is this more political understanding different from or similar to soteriological concerns of

America, Buddhism, and Individualism

Inspired by a Dharma Talk at the BCA National Council Meeting, Rev. Harry starts us off by suggesting that individualism is a point of contact between Buddhism and American culture. This seems somewhat counterintuitive given that individuality seems at odds with Buddhist ideas of interdependence, no-self, or non-attachment to the ego. But we think there

A Buddhist view of History

For some reason, we thought we’d start talking about the Seven Masters. But we get immediately sidetracked by Herbert Güenther, a Buddhist scholar who wrote about the Madhyamaka and Yogacara schools of Buddhism. Interestingly, his discussion of the development of these schools isn’t exactly historically accurate from a Western point of view — but it

Ichinen-sanzen (part two)

In this episode, we continue our conversation on ichinen-sanzen, but take the conversation up a notch. We’re wrestling with some difficult issues in Buddhist philosophy; namely, if we understand samsara to be the realm of delusion and defilements and nirvana to be a purified realm, how do we reconcile this dichotomy with a generally non-dualistic

Ichinen-sanzen (part one)

Rev. Harry brings up the complex idea of ichinen sanzen — three thousands things in a single thought moment — from Tendai (Tiantai) Buddhism. In short, ichinen sanzen says that each thought moment contains within it all of existence — wait, what? How does all of existence exist within each thought moment? Whose thought moment?

Buddhism and belief

Inspired by a listener question/discussion on Facebook, we tackle the issue of belief in (Shin) Buddhism, specifically when it comes to Pure Land imagery. Are we expected to believe in it in some substantive, literal sense? Or do we take it as metaphorical? Symbolic? Symbolic of what exactly? We start by suggesting that wrestling with