Advayavada Buddhism


Archive for the month “November, 2015”

Emptiness, form, and Dzogchen ethics


Moonpaths by the Cowherds

For a hundred years, the West has wrestled with the problem of ethical nihilism. God’s commands once provided a firm foundation for morality; but then he died. All attempts to find an alternative foundation have failed. Why, then, should we be moral? How can we be sure what is moral? No one has satisfactory answers, despite many ingenious attempts by brilliant philosophers.

Buddhism has wrestled with the same problem for much longer: most of two thousand years. According to Mahayana, everything is empty. This means everything exists only as an illusion, or arbitrary human convention. “Everything” must include śīla—codes of religious discipline. (Those are the closest thing Buddhism has to morality.) “Everything” definitely includes people, the main topic of ethics.

For two millennia, authorities have acknowledged an apparent contradiction: why should we conform to śīla if it is empty, illusory, arbitrary, or mere convention? If people don’t…

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Alan Watts – Zen Bones (Complete)

Old ways and new doors

When we listen to music

Zen Flash

We are living in an Eternal Now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded Present.

~ Alan Watts ~

Sojourners Path

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Fear and freedom

On the Paris Bombings: A Word from Voltaire


“Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities, Can Make You Commit Atrocities”—Voltaire

VoltaireVoltaire, the clearest of Enlightenment thinkers wrote those words in his 1765 essay, “Questions sur les miracles.” And they resonate as much now, 250 years later, as they did then.

That’s why I guard against Buddhist extremism and absurdities, like “You do not exist; nothing exists in the absolute sense.” Or the notion that “Nothing I do is inherently good or bad; it just is; everything is ultimately pure.” That kind of doctrinal extremism can lead to “It doesn’t matter if I kill you–you do not actually exist and neither do I. I can do no wrong.” Buddhist extremism has been used in the past to justify Buddhist wars and genocide of other religious minorities. Ambedkar devised a Buddhism that avoided doctrinal extremes, that could not be used to justify hatred and maltreatment of others, whether because…

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The True Story of Thanksgiving

Creative by Nature


The following are excerpts from Richard Greener’s 2010 Huffington post essay The True Story of Thanksgiving. It turns out most of what Americans were taught in school was a myth. If you plan to celebrate please give thanks for all the blessings in your life, and say a prayer for the first Americans that lived here (and were not as fortunate) when European immigrants arrived. 


“The idea of the American Thanksgiving feast is a fairly recent fiction. The idyllic partnership of 17th Century European Pilgrims and New England Indians sharing a celebratory meal appears to be less than 120 years-old. And it was only after the First World War that a version of such a Puritan-Indian partnership took hold in elementary schools across the American landscape.

We can thank the invention of textbooks and their mass purchase by public schools for embedding this “Thanksgiving” image in our modern minds. It was, of course…

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Buddha, the Revolutionary Realist


I’ve been working on some scholars of early Buddhism, Joanna Jurewicz and Richard Gombrich (“What the Buddha Thought). I’ve been reading about the Buddhist concept of the 12 Nidanas. According to some scholars, the Buddhist concept was drawn form the Rg Veda and the Hindu myth of creation. Buddha’s use of the 12 Links was both a commentary and criticism: that if you follow the beliefs of the Brahmins, you are doomed to endlessly repeat this cycle indefinitely. Buddha proposed an alternate pratityasamutpada  to the 12 Links  that is simpler: “because this, that.” Everything has cause and effect, immediately, in this lifetime and beyond. Our karma, i.e. our intentional acts, have effects that ripple out to those distant form us in space and time, even beyond our lifetimes. By declaring that there is no atman, Buddha pulled the plug on the whole Vedic system of cosmology, creation and…

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Upcoming conference: Buddhism in the Global Eye

Global Buddhism Blog

“Buddhism in the Global Eye: Beyond East and West”

The 6th Annual Tung Lin Kok Yuen Canada Foundation Conference, hosted by the University of British Columbia’s Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society (Jessica L. Main, director) and co-sponsored by The Modernization of Buddhism in Global Perspective Project (SSHRC Insight Grant, John S. Harding, Victor Sōgen Hori, Alexander Soucy, co-investigators).

Abstract submission deadline: January 1, 2016
Conference dates: August 10-12, 2016

This conference has been called to re-examine the widely held assumption that modern Buddhism is Buddhism with Western characteristics and to attempt to map out a better paradigm for explaining the modernization of Buddhism. It takes seriously the concept of globalization: Buddhist transformation in Asia and in the West are not seen as distinct but as related, taking place in communication across multiple nodes that cross East-West lines.

Keynote Address: The keynote address…

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The WWWP5K: Your Photos and Stories

The Blog

Last week we asked the community to join us for 5 km of walking, jogging, running, or hiking as part of our annual Automattic Worldwide WordPress 5K. The response was fabulous — check out some stories and photos from bloggers who participated around the world.

Surprises on the trail

With a bald eagle rumoured to be nearby, nature photographer Leola Durant overachieved the 5k, walking 7.57 miles on October 27th. While a great shot of the eagle eluded her, she did capture many beautiful photos of birds and animals on her walk. Our favorite is this fuzzy racoon leaning out of a tree.

Photo by Leola Durant Photo by Leola Durant

From elusive eagles, we go to brazen barred owls. Paula, in addition to reporting on her 3.1 mile run for the event, offers advice to unlucky runners in Lake Stevens, Washington, who might find themselves subject to barred owl attacks…

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