I loved this hour long interview that Jonathan Fields recently did with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Long interviews like this are somewhat rare, and it allows the Sakyong to really get into some of the great themes of his new book The Shambhala Principle as well as for us to see a personal and intimate look at his life and teachings. I'm really excited to be on faculty for his teaching visit to NYC Nov 8-9!
Over the weekend, I read this fascinating UC-Berkeley study about the trend of Americans moving surprising quickly away from organized religion. Among Americans under the age of 30, the trend is happening even more quickly. It seems, increasingly, we are looking for secular, rather than religious answers to our problems. Since I've always been a pretty non-religious person, this trend definitely resonates with me. As I have stated before, I firmly believe that Buddhist meditation, philosophy and psychology should not be viewed as religious practices. I simply don't believe that they meet the conventional criteria. Of course, there are many different views on this matter, all with valid thoughts behind them. Many of the different viewpoints arise from the fact that the word "religion" is so hazily and differently defined by different people. But in my view and approach, I don't think there is a way of defining Buddhism as
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…)
(follow Ethan on Facebook or Twitter) It seems so important to talk about working with guilt. In this new podcast from the Interdependence Project, I got to talk about the Four Powers, a simple Mahayana and Vajrayana teaching on how to develop healthy remorse for past mistakes without falling into the unhealthy traps of guilt and shame. From the website: "Recorded live at IDP in NYC in February 2013, Shastri Ethan Nichtern discusses the nature of guilt, why it's so prevalent in our culture, and how we can transform it from a hindrance into a support for our practice and intentions." You may subscribe to IDP podcasts at this link or via iTunes at this link. The Interdependence Project is supported by the generosity of its Members. Become a member or make a donation today!"
(follow Ethan on Facebook or Twitter) During my talk last night at the Shambhala Center of New York, we discussed the notion of how meditation and the Shambhala Buddhist teachings can affect our understanding of systems and culture. There is no escape from society; our practice eventually has to address cultural issues because our culture is literally sewn into the mind we encounter on the cushion. I even managed to work in a mention of the movie The Devil Wears Prada and actually made it relevant to this discussion of cultural and societal dharmic issues. So I was proud of that. :) (more…)
-cross posted on the Interdependence Project blog - -follow Ethan on Facebook or Twitter- Big News: A new study from the University of Toronto claims that meditation makes individuals more politically liberal in their outlook and actions. Although it is just one study, this research is incredibly interesting, and brings sharply into focus some of the work on which the Interdependence Project is based. (photo of IDP sangha during Occupy Wall Street in 2011) (more…)
Hey friends, my latest free recorded podcast talk from a few months back, "What is Enlightened Society?" was just posted on the podcast of Shambhala NYC. A few other talks are also available at the main link. For a more in-depth online study experience, I am looking forward to teaching a six week course with two Buddhist psychologists in a few weeks, "Spiritual Awakening NOT Spiritual Bypassing" at the Interdependence Project. Should be a really awesome course, with a really great group. Glad we can make this stuff available online, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to find sangha in person. Enjoy! (Follow Ethan on Twitter and Facebook)
(Follow Ethan on Facebook or Twitter) OK, It's been a full year so far. The new book took a lot of work. Teaching is always a pleasure. It's been draining and exciting. Now I'm taking Kermit's lead and taking the next 9 days to deepen my practice. Partially, I have to, since I have certain practice requirements to attend annual group retreat with my teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche each year. As I discussed last night, having a teacher is a great thing, because they keep you honest and accountable for your practice. Partly, I want to go. My schedule will consist of two long meditation sessions each day, some shorter ones, a yoga practice, and reading. I will be leaving the social network behind. Retreat, especially a solitary one, is an amazing practice of self-care. I can't wait. Of course, if you haven't done a group intensive retreat, I'd start