In a new column for On Being, Sharon Salzberg recounts a story that has become very famous among Western Buddhist teachers and students over the past 25 years. It is her story of asking the Dalai Lama how to work with the experience of "self-hatred," both as students and teachers. The famous part of the story is that his Holiness couldn't even wrap his brain around the question, either because of the intricacies of translation or because he really didn't have any personal experience of the concept of self-hatred. The translation issue has always confused me: there are definitely words in Tibetan that mean hatred, And there are definitely words that mean inward pointing or self-oriented. So self-hatred shouldn't be such a difficult idea to translate, at least not conceptually. Read Sharon's article; It's great. I am really looking forward to Sharon being honored at the Garrison Institute benefit celebration this Friday
"Hello. My name is Ethan Nichtern. The six-fingered man was my father’s best friend. Prepare to read." This week, a lot of friends have asked me if I am really writing a book called the Dharma of the Princess Bride. Really, Ethan? Really? No, but, really? Yes. Yes I am. And FSG is going to be kind enough to publish it in 2017 via their North Point imprint and my editor Jeff Seroy, who thankfully acquired it, seems almost as excited about it as I am. I feel like I accomplished what I set out to do with The Road Home, to write an experiential overview of the Buddhist path in the 21st century. I don't want to be the kind of writer who writes the same book again and again. (more…)
Check out Ethan's new lecture on the Shambhala Podcast, Dealing with Family Karma." Family is the hardest practice, isn't it? Check out what Ethan has to say about that, drawing on his book The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path and lots of ancient and not so ancient wisdom and thoughts on the matter. This Shambhala podcast has lots of great teachers and lectures on it, so you probably just subscribe via iTunes. Enjoy!
I am very much looking forward to teaching my first live webcast course for the Interdependence Project. The course is tonight at 7-9PM eastern time, but you can also follow along anytime by watching or listening to the recording and following the reading list and online discussion board. Check it out. Back in May when I was touring for The Road Home in the Bay Area, I had the opportunity to speak with Justine Willis Toms of the popular and widely syndicated New Dimensions radio. They just released the interview today. It was easily one of my favorite interviews about the new book. Had read the book thoroughly and arrived with almost 30 pages of notes. Talk about an honor to be asked about my book and the Buddhist path by someone who had been so thorough with my work. I hope you can give it a listen. New dimensions
A few days ago, I was interviewed by Chris Taylor of Reuters on "the Dharma of Money." The interview was picked up by Time. Here is the link to the interview. It was an interesting conversation, especially with the stock markets of the world whipsawing wildly these past weeks. I am increasingly interested in what traditions of contemplation and mindfulness have to say about how we place value on experiences, objects, and especially how we place value upon people, and how different people can be worth such incredibly different amounts of money. I would've liked to take the conversation much deeper, but at very least I think it's a conversation that spiritual people should dive into fully, never shying away from. After all, money is the energy that rules our world. Let's talk about it, and if someone says it's an inappropriate conversation, tell them you respectfully disagree. (this is a picture
"Materialism is the belief that “consciousness” is unimportant, that the mind is reducible to the brain, and therefore that the path to happiness involves precise chemical manipulation. Materialists don’t believe in the importance of the mind itself and instead reduce life to the pursuit of pleasure." -From The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of The Buddhist Path One central theme that I took on in The Road Home is that when we don't experience our own consciousness as the basic home of our experience, we fall prey to Materialism, the belief that everything is reducible to dead matter, that sentient beings are only chemical processes, not really "alive." With this in mind, I had the opportunity this weekend to watch two movies that each explore the nature of consciousness: Inside Out and Ex Machina. Both were highly touted by friends I respect, so it was a fun weekend for this Buddhist
All, The Road Home was just given a major shout-out by Vogue UK as one of "10 Healthy Living Books To Read This Summer." You can check out the article at the above link. Above are the book cover as it appears in North America (left) and as it appears in the UK (right). Also, in case you missed it, Ethan and his father David were recently featured in a NY Times article called "A Father And Son Embrace Meditation." That's all the good news for now.
Dear Friends, On behalf of Ethan, who is on his way to speak at the Wanderlust festival about The Road Home, we wanted to make sure you knew about the awesome online course (downloads and discussion begin July 9) that Sharon Salzberg and Ethan will be teaching via The Interdependence Project this July and August, "Dealing with Emotions." Each week will offer meditations, tools, and Buddhist teachings on one key human emotion Again, these courses can be taken at your own pace once you download each lecture. See other news below. All best wishes, Robby Caplan (Ethan's assistant) Dealing with Emotions - An 8 Week Online Only Class with Ethan Nichtern & Sharon Salzberg Sign Up and More Info Here! This course is only available online. Audio lectures will be posted online each Thursday no later than 7pm. The recordings are in mp3 format and may be streamed from the website or downloaded
I came home from a wonderful stretch discussing The Road Home in Colorado and Texas to read the story of Kalief Browder's suicide and to watch a hard-to-stomach video of a white police officer going absolutely bonkers (not in a good way) on African American children at a pool party in Mckinney, Texas. Since I was in Texas when it occurred, and because the incident involved the nostalgic memory of kids at a summertime pool party, the latter struck me even more closely, somehow. Both stories demonstrate the deeply institionalized racism of our society and legal systems. We can see some of Kalief Browder's treatment here (held for three years at Riker's Island without any charge of a crime, mostly in solitary confinement, later to commit suicide), and we can also watch how an officer engages in insanely transparent racism against a group of unarmed kids. But we can also develop compassion,