The Zen Studies Podcast

Traditional Buddhist Teachings, Practices & History Click here for recent episodes

Welcome to the Zen Studies Podcast!

Curious about Buddhism, meditation, or Zen? Already a Zen or Buddhist practitioner, but want to learn more?

The Zen Studies Podcast is for you!

Most of the audio files you’ll find online about Zen and Buddhism are recordings of live classes and talks. These can be great, but recordings made specifically for podcast listeners – like the ones you’ll find here – are more engaging, directed, and information-packed.

Life of Shakyamuni Buddha Part 1: Source Texts, and Birth Through Homeleaving

Buddhism began when Siddhartha Gautama experienced a spiritual awakening over 2,500 years ago in India, and became an “awakened one,” or Buddha. Over the course of two episodes, I tell the story of the Buddha’s life from birth to death, while carefully explaining the sources of information we have about his life – because that’s an important part of the history, too!

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What Is “Zen Practice” Anyway?

If you’ve spent any time in a Zen community, or reading Zen books, you will have encountered the term “practice” countless times. Buddhist teachers throughout the centuries have told us to “practice” diligently. Students of Zen are called “practitioners” and we talk to one another about our “practice.” What Is “Zen Practice,” anyway? In this episode I present three important meanings of “practice,” and how you can define practice in a traditional sense (Zen teachings, methods, conventions, etc.) or an experiential sense (how you face your life right here, right now).

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Shakyamuni Buddha’s Enlightenment: What Did He Realize?

According to tradition, Buddhism began with the Buddha’s enlightenment. This was the spiritual awakening of one man, Siddhartha Gautama, somewhere between 528 and 445 BCE, who afterwards was called the “Buddha,” or “awakened one.” He then taught others what he realized, along with the methods he used to achieve that realization, and those teachings have been passed down to the present day. What exactly did Siddhartha comprehend in his enlightenment?

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It-with-a-Capital-I: The Zen Version of God

Zen Buddhism is a non-theistic religious tradition. However, it’s not entirely correct to say that there is no God in Zen. While we don’t conceive of, or worship, an omnipotent personification of the Divine, at the heart of our tradition is the teaching that reality itself is luminous, precious, and infused with compassion. We don’t ascribe an agenda, personality, or gender to That-Which-Is-Greater, but we long to live in harmony with It, and personally experience intimacy with It. These longings infuse our spiritual practice with meaning.

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Dharma Talk – Beyond Mindfulness: The Radical Practice of Undivided Presence

In this episode I present an alternative to mindfulness practice. I do this because I believe the concept of mindfulness – at least the way it is typically understood – may limit our spiritual development. It can become a dualistic trap that causes us to reject much of what we are as human beings. I call this alternative, “The Radical Practice of Undivided Presence.”

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