Why I Am Writing The Dharma of The Princess Bride

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"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…)

My Interview with Novelist Ruth Ozeki on the Interdependence Project Podcast

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This year, I will be having more conversations with incredible people for the Interdependence Project podcast at the intersection of mindfulness practice, dharma, and modern life. Recently, I was able to have an amazing interview with bestselling novelist and zen priest Ruth Ozeki. The iTunes podcast link is here and the website link is here. Her novels  A Tale for the Time Being, My Year of Meats, and All Over Creation have won major awards and moved a huge group of people, myself included. I was able to sit down with her at IDP in the East Village for a truly great dialogue on writing, meditation, the internet era, the nature of time, magical realism and cyber-bullying, among many other things. For folks in the NY area, Ruth will be teaching a daylong writing retreat at Brooklyn Zen on Sunday, April 26. I'm sure, from spending time with her, that that

Podcast: Career, Livelihood, and Dharma

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A new podcast lecture on Career, Dharma, and Right Livelihood by Ethan is up on Shambhala's podcast, "Meditation in The City." Apparently, people like it: Right livelihood podcast. Hit me right between the eyes. Thanks @ShambhalaNYC http://t.co/qrIUiPOwSO — Gerald Lee (@GEvolving) April 13, 2014

Fire Your Ninja Assassin

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Despite all of the teachings to the contrary, it still seems like most of us, even those of us with committed Dharma practices, still fall into the trap of trying to avoid, dissolve or destroy difficult emotions. It's not so much that we want to go to war with our own thoughts and emotions, it's more like we want to hire a ninja assassin to take our difficult thoughts in the middle of the night, to quietly slit the throat of our feelings when no one is watching.

The Best Graduation Speech Ever?

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My dear friend Abigail  sent me this New York times reprint of George Saunders' speech at the 2013 Syracuse University commencement. I've read and heard some great graduation speeches before, but his speech, with great humor, is some of the best spiritual advice I've seen, anywhere. It is always quite tricky to claim that something not explicitly dharmic is somehow "Buddhist," but his three "Darwinian confusions" could very easily be taken from Madyamaka (Middle Way) philosophy. It's a pretty amazing read. What it brought up for me is the need for our intention to be incredibly simple in daily life. We need some rallying cry, some mantra, some contemplation that we can return to when we lose our Northstar moment by moment. Perhaps kindness is the best mantra. (Follow Ethan on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)

The Shambhala Principle: WE Made This World, We Can Change It

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Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has just published his fourth major book, The Shambhala Principle, and I've been lucky enough to spend a good deal of time reading and rereading my now-wrinkled advanced readers' copy over the past few months. I love it. It adds a needed volume to the growing canon of core Shambhala teachings available in print. It weaves together the view of contemplative practice  with a deeply societal message. (more…)

New Podcast Available

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Here is a new free podcast on the interdependence Project website. It's a recording of a talk I gave about the practice of forgiveness on last September 11th in Seattle at the NalandaWest Center. hope you enjoy. I'm going to try to update my website daily, so please check that the daily updates. If you are in NY, hope to see you tonight at the Shambhala Center for the Weekly Dharma Gathering, or Thursday night for the beginning of the Shambhala curriculum course.

First Photo of The Sakyong’s New Daughter: Are Women the Future of Buddhism?

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The wife of my teacher Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Khandro Tseyang (also known as the Sakyong Wangmo) just gave birth to their 2nd daughter, Jetsun Yudra. Here is the first public photo of the couple with their new daughter. So this is a pretty wonderful day for them and anyone involved in the Shambhala community. May all be basically awesome for them, and may Jetsun Yudra feel welcome and at home on Earth. (more…)