Welcome to the
Zen Studies Podcast!
Study Buddhism Online for Free
- Three new episodes every month
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How Can the Podcast Be Free?
I offer most of the content on the Zen Studies Podcast for free, because I want the Dharma (Buddhist teachings) to be available to everyone. Plus, I enjoy creating episodes – audio and text – about this ancient, incredibly rich spiritual tradition.
However, we all need to make a living, and I spend 10-12 hours a week on the podcast. Members support the podcast with a small monthly pledge. If you want to help me keep generating great content, consider becoming a member!
Active receptivity is what we're aiming to cultivate in zazen, and throughout the rest of our practice. Despite the emphasis on what we’re not doing in zazen, it should be a lively, energetic activity as opposed to a passive one. It may be helpful to think of putting aside our physical and mental activities in order to become incredibly quiet and receptive. We are not separate from the universe, and therefore we are not alone – and, as Zen masters have taught through the ages, even insentient beings are constantly speaking the Dharma. It’s like we’re surrounded by the music of a whole symphony that we usually can’t even hear because of our internal and external chatter. Perceiving that “symphony” is nourishing and supportive, and can be strong motivation for wholehearted zazen.
Recent events show how deep a divide has developed within the United States. Those guilty of crimes need to be held accountable, but how do we repair the social fabric of our nation? It may help to renew cultural respect for the value of decorum: Dignified behavior according to social standards for what demonstrates a basic respect for one another’s humanity and acknowledges our mutual dependence. I discuss the teachings on decorum in Buddhism, and how critical it is to social harmony.
Dissatisfaction can lead to Bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is a Buddhist term literally meaning “awakened mind” that can translated as “the mind that seeks the way.” It’s the part of us which aspires to free ourselves and others from suffering – arising, ironically, from dissatisfaction. We think, “There must be a better way,” or, “There must be more to life than this.” Then we arouse the determination to find out, and this propels us down the path of practice. Therefore, it is critically important for you be dissatisfied with your life.