Welcome to the
Zen Studies Podcast!
Study Buddhism Online for Free
- New episodes weekly!
- Listen to episodes in order in specific categories:
- Start at the beginning: Listen to all the episodes in order – or read the content instead!
- Subscribe via email to be notified of new weekly episodes (see sidebar to sign up)
- Subscribe via a podcatcher (like iTunes) to have the audio delivered to your podcast app (see sidebar)
- Browse and see what interests you! See Categories, Recent Posts, Series, look through the Index, or type a topic of interest in the search box.
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 currently spend 15-20 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!
This is the second of two episodes on the practice of formally making vows – typically taking refuge and precepts – and becoming a Buddhist as a lay person, in which I introduce you to two more ways of approaching lay vows in Buddhism. As promised, I’ll describe the practice at two different local Buddhist centers in my area – one Theravadin, and one Vajrayana, and wrap up by talking about what motivates people to take this step.
Many religions have initiation rituals in which adherents formally commit themselves to their tradition – baptism, confirmation, and Bar or Bat Mitzvah, for example. Buddhism has its own initiation rituals which usually involve “taking refuge” in the three treasures (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha), but beyond that vary widely. I introduce this tradition and then describe this ritual at my own Zen center. Next week I’ll describe rituals at a local Theravadin center, and a Vajrayana center.
In this episode I introduce the Buddha’s teaching of the three poisons. According to the Buddha, the root of all evil – that is, all unskillful, selfish, harmful actions of body, speech, and mind – is greed, hate, delusion, or some combination these three negative states. Taken together, these are called the “three poisons” and are our unhelpful response to things we like (greed or craving), things we don’t like (hate or aversion), and our fundamental – mistaken – belief in the inherent existence of self.