Author: Alex Chong Do Thompson

Can We Have Buddhism Without Buddhism?

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson   I just finished reading Buddhism Without Beliefs, by Stephen Batchelor. I enjoyed the book immensely, and it’s making me look at the dharma in a new way. The secularized Buddha that Batchelor presents is completely lacking any religiosity. In fact, he strikes me more as a scientist than a spiritual teacher. I could easily picture him standing in an auditorium, presenting his data on the causes of suffering to college students, and then jetting off to give a Ted Talk on the eight-fold path. As a result, I can’t help but wonder...

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The Zen of Dancing with Anger

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson In January of 2014, I made the decision to stop drinking alcohol. I quit cold-turkey. I’d like to tell you that sobriety has been all sunshine and rainbows, but it actually sucked in the beginning. I was meditating daily at that point; my practice made it impossible to ignore the consequences of my drinking. All of my friends were heavy drinkers and most of them disappeared when I stopped partying. The ones that didn’t leave made a point of telling me that I was more fun when I drank. Needless to say, I started...

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Using Buddhism to Make America Great Again

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson As the presidential inauguration approaches, there are many different emotions running through me—anger, sadness and confusion would probably be the big three. I honestly don’t understand how something as illusory as politics has the ability to take a country of intelligent, decent human beings, and turn us into raving, hateful, lunatics. My social media feeds have been filled with an incredible amount of vitriol over the past several days, and as a Zen practitioner, I’ve been at a loss at how to respond. To say nothing feels like giving silent consent to comments...

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Depression, Anxiety & Anger Came Knocking: A Buddhist’s Story

    By Alex Chong Do Thompson I sit cooped up in the house—my mind begins to tear away at itself. Looking out of the window, the grey winter skies dampen my mood. There’s an abrupt knock at my door. I answer and see Depression standing on my porch. He wears an expensive suit, and there is almost no emotion on his face. The cold day grows even colder. He walks into the house and embraces me in a hug. My body goes numb. I try to hide from him, wrapping myself up in thick blankets and lie on the...

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I Wanted Robes, but Life Gave Me a Shirt & Tie.

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson I have a job in corporate America working as a business analyst. The money is good and the hours are great. My coworkers are reasonably friendly, and my stress level rarely goes above a 6 on a scale of 1-10. In short, I have very little to complain about, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling like my job is interfering with the real work that I should be doing. Every day, I sit down in my cubicle and begin my daily tasks. As the day progresses, a feeling of dark discontent grows in...

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