Why Buddhism, part two: with special guest, Mushim Ikeda

Here’s part two of our conversation with Mushim Ikeda of the East Bay Meditation Center. We jump right in from where we left off in the last episode, trying to answer the question of “Why Buddhism?” (Spoiler alert: it’s gotta do with the ego.) A lot of our conversation meanders around different experiences in the

Why Buddhism, part one: with special guest, Mushim Ikeda

Today is part one of a three-part series of episodes featuring our very first special guest star, Mushim Ikeda. Mushim is a Buddhist teacher, author, mentor and the community coordinator and a core teacher of Oakland’s East Bay Meditation Center. Mushim helps us unpack what may seem like a very basic question: why Buddhism? There’s

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

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

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.

Karma: part one

One of the many words from Indian philosophy that has found its way into modern English, the concept of karma is often equated with a kind of fatalistic good (or bad) fortune. Our conversation today covers a lot of ground, from popular (mis)conceptions of what karma means to the relationship of karma to reincarnation and

the Buddha: part two

Our second conversation on the Buddha, and what “the Buddha” means, we begin by talking about the Buddha in a specifically Pure Land Buddhist context. In particular we talk about Shinran’s take on the Buddha, Dharmakara, and Amida. Shin Buddhist thought is both a part of Mahayana thought and somehow separate. We explore some of

the Buddha: part one

What is the buddha? What are the ways people have conceived of the Buddha? Was he just a person? Teacher? Doctor? Historical figure? A transcendental super-human soteriological reality? All of these and more?! These are but some of the questions we raise in our discussion of the Buddha. Siddhartha Gautama, the eternal Sakyamuni Buddha, Buddha-bodies