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,

Good and Evil

Okay. Some big questions this time around, none of which we’re gonna answer but we have a good time talking around the issues. Does (Shin) Buddhism give us a way to act? Are there guidelines on how to be good and avoid evil? Is it right to even judge persons as good and evil or

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

Social Justice, part two

One of the issues that came up in our last conversation was the idea of “original enlightenment,” or the idea that from an enlightened point of view, everything’s equal. Today we take up some of the consequences of this view; do we use this idea as a way to minimize, dismiss, or disregard the experiences

Social justice, part one

Is the BCA silent on issues of social justice? For many, it might seem like there’s no Shin Buddhist public voice in the American  discourse on Buddhism and social justice. We’ve been asked several times about this, so today is part one of a larger conversation about Shin Buddhism and social justice. We start by

How to do Shin Buddhist practice

We’re back! And we’re taking up a listener question about practicing Buddhism when you’re not near a Shin community, so we’re calling this one “how to do Shin practice?” This is an important question; what is our practice? How do we do the practice? Harry breaks it down into external and internal aspects where the

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Buddhism and music, part three

We round out our conversation about music by focusing on Shin Buddhism, starting with Shinran. It’s clear chanting was an important part of early Shin communities, and many of Shinran’s wasan (poems) have come down to us as songs still sung today. We take a brief detour to talk about Herbie Hancock before getting into

Renunciation and Family

“Won’t somebody please think of the children!” This week we take up the tension in Buddhism between the ideal of monasticism, the renunciant, the solo practitioner who goes off in search of awakening versus the reality of home life, laity, and family. Our conversation is inspired, in part, by a post last fall over on

Tradition and Change

Prompted by a listener who’s interested in how Buddhist teachings and practices change over time, in this episode we take up the tension between maintaining tradition versus adaptation to new circumstances. Whereas one could argue that we should look to Shinran as the final authority on what the orthodox Shinshu teaching or practice should be,