A type of Buddhism that grew out of Mahayana early in Buddhist history and calls itself the “diamond” (vajra) vehicle (yana), emphasizing the use of tantra (esoteric ritual) as the fastest and most effective path to enlightenment. The most well-known and widely practiced form of Vajrayana today is Tibetan Buddhism, of which the Dalai Lama is the most famous practitioner.
- 19 - The Heart Sutra Part 1: Introduction to the Most Common Mahayana TextThe Heart Sutra is probably the best-known Buddhist text in the world. It's less than 250 words long and considered to present the essence of Mahayana Buddhism. However, its meaning – and its attraction to Buddhists – may not be immediately evident! In this episode, I first recite the Heart Sutra for you and give you a brief overview of its history to provide you with a little context. Then I start working my way through the text line by line, offering definitions of terms, explaining references, and giving you a sense of the teaching being conveyed. I'll finish the line-by-line analysis in the next episode.
- 28 - Q&A: The Teaching of Rebirth and Too Much Thinking During ZazenThis week’s episode is a Q&A session, based on listener’s questions I’ve received by email. I’ll start out with a series of questions about the Buddhist teaching of rebirth, and end with a question about how to deal with a busy mind during zazen, or seated Zen meditation.
- 29 - Six Realms of Existence Part 1: Introduction and the Heaven RealmIn this episode, part 1 of 3, I explain the Buddhist teaching of the Six Realms of Existence, also known as the Wheel of Life, or the Wheel of Samsara. I share the rich mythology and imagery of this teaching while explaining how it can be a useful teaching for everyday life independent of a belief in literal rebirth. In this first episode I introduce the overall teaching and talk about the Heaven Realm.
- 15 - To Study Buddhism Is to Study the Self (and Why That’s Not Selfish)Liberation from self-concern is central to all forms of Buddhism, although the methods used to achieve that liberation differ widely. In this episode, I present a classic Zen teaching on not-self: Zen Master Dogen’s statement that “to study Buddhism is to study the self” and "to study the self is to forget the self."
- 31 - Six Realms of Existence Part 3: Hungry Ghost and Human RealmsIn this third episode of a 3-part series on the Buddhist teaching of the Six Realms of Existence, I describe the Hungry Ghost and Human Realms. I continue offering a traditional, mythological account of the realms, followed by a section about how to practice with each realm as a particular mind state you might experience in the course of your daily life.