The Zen Studies Podcast

Recent Episodes

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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Arising of Buddhism Part 2: New Religious Developments in India Around 500 BCE

At the time of the Buddha around 500 BCE, social and economic changes had paved the way for new schools of religious thought and practice. In this episode, I talk about these new religious movements, including Buddhism - particularly, their major spiritual questions and how they answered them. This gives you a sense of how Buddhism compared to the other new religions of its time, and how the Buddha’s approach differed from those of his contemporary spiritual teachers.

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Arising of Buddhism Part 1: Historical and Religious Context in India

The first episode in my “Buddhist History and Seminal Texts” series, about the historical and religious context for the beginnings of Buddhism in India around 500 BCE. I give you a brief overview of the history of civilization in India, and a sense of the dominant religious traditions of northern India from around 2000 BCE through the time of the Buddha. Then I describe the period of social and economic changes starting around 800 BCE that apparently paved the way for new schools of religious thought and practice, including Buddhism.

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Zazen Part 2: How to Deal with Thinking, Stay Engaged, and Maintain a Practice

If you’ve tried zazen (or any other kind of meditation), you’ll know that even if you really want to meditate, and you fully intend to be present without agenda for the whole period of meditation, you’re still liable to get caught up in thinking – usually many, many times over the course of a meditation period. What can you do about it? In this episode, I cover how to deal with stimulus-independent thinking during meditation, how to stay engaged and energetic while doing a practice that’s essentially doing nothing, and how to maintain a zazen practice over time.

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Zazen (Seated Meditation) Part 1: What Zazen Is and How to Do It

Zazen, seated meditation, is the central practice of the Zen school of Buddhism. This episode is about what zazen is and why we do it. I also give you instructions for how to do zazen, including physical posture and what to "do" with your mind. After listening, you'll have everything you need to give zazen a try.

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