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Mindfulness and "Religion"

Mindfulness and “Religion”

Last night at the weekly zazen thing in Silverlake (LA hipster ghetto) someone asked me about aspects of mindfulness that are present in non-Buddhist traditions. At first I didn’t understand the question, but we talked some more later and  I think I got it, so I’ll paraphrase. We we could use the word “mindfulness,” derived from the […]

Racism Isn't the Problem

Racism Isn’t the Problem

Racism isn’t the problem. Some people probably won’t read past the headline of this article before they start telling me that we don’t live in a post-racial world, that just because Barrack Obama is black doesn’t mean we’ve solved all our racial problems in America, that white privilege is real and all the rest of […]

Why I Avoid Using the Word "Mindfulness"

Why I Avoid Using the Word “Mindfulness”

Yesterday a guy contacted me because he’s writing an article about whether or not Buddhists should smoke cigarettes. When he asked my opinion I said, “Nobody should smoke cigarettes!” He wanted to interview me as a Buddhist teacher anyway and he sent me some questions. Rather than getting me thinking about cigarette smoking, though, two […]

How to Do a Zen Memorial Service

How to Do a Zen Memorial Service

When I offered to perform memorial services for my friends Jeremy Feratto and Logan Lestat, I didn’t tell anyone that I’d never officiated a memorial service before. I didn’t think it was useful to needlessly undermine anyone’s confidence in my ability to make it work. All Zen services are pretty much the same. The variations between […]

Zen Memorial Services

Zen Memorial Services

Here’s what I’m planning to say at the beginning of the memorial service I’ll be leading in honor of my friend Logan Lestat today: What we are about to do here is not a religious service. There will be some bowing and some bell ringing, we’ll be chanting some things, I’m wearing these funny clothes. […]