Category: The Renegade Buddhist

Why Can’t I Meditate?

  By John Pendall Meditation is a safe space to get all the crazy out in the open. A lot of people are surprised by how un-meditative meditation can be. We’re used to seeing all these images of smiling Buddhas and tranquil Yogis; it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to criticize ourselves and, in some cases, wind up more unstable and unhappy than we were before. All these images of peaceful meditators only show a tiny moment of that person’s practice. They don’t show all the screw ups, setbacks and sidetracks; they don’t reveal all the struggles had...

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Dependent Arising: The Dance of Wind and Feather

  By John Pendall   Over a decade ago, a close friend and I were walking down a back road that we call, “Butterfly Lane.” Its legal name is a nonsensical string of apparently random numbers. Walking home beneath a warm summer sky, a peacock feather seemed to collapse out of nowhere. It landed on the road before us, and we both just stopped and waited. For a few seconds, the feather sat there, motionless. Then, the breeze picked up, and it fluttered into the air again. It soared over the bean fields, and then dove back to the...

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The Buddha’s Dream of Liberation {Book Review}

  By John Pendall James William Coleman has done something that I once dreamed of doing, which is great because it means less work for me. The Buddha’s Dream of Liberation: Freedom, Emptiness, and Awakened Nature is part sight-seeing guide for Buddhist time travelers, and part apologetic essay on Western Buddhism. Coleman takes us through the, “Three Turnings of the Wheel,” which are three major paradigm shifts in Buddhism. He also paints Secular Buddhism as a kind of Fourth Turning—laying out some of the risks and benefits of modernizing Buddhism. Coleman doesn’t just write off-the-cuff in this piece; he...

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I Practice DIY Buddhism Because this is What Fits

My high school mascot’s name was Bob. He was an ear of corn wearing overalls. You can’t make this stuff up. In a place where country music and rap happily shared the same studio apartment, the popular kids burned CD’s, drove trucks with spinning rims, and their huge subwoofers drowned out the accompanying lap steels and mandolins. It’s interesting, the place I live. It’s a mish-mash of two apparently incompatible cultures that, as it turns out, have more in common than not. Both are loud, rabble-rousing, booze-drinking, gun-toting, and wealth fetishizing. They’re also both equally ridiculous. I’ve come to...

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Sticks & Stones May Break Bones, But Words Can Hurt Us Too

  By John Pendall   American Buddhists, well, we tend to botch Right Speech. We tend to use our words carelessly, like casually dropping warheads into our neighbors’ swimming pools. Words are a powerful medicine, but like any medicine, they can also be poisonous. Right Speech is kind; it’s pleasing to hear, and it brings people together. We know it when we hear it, and we can know it as the words are fleeing between our lips. The point, though, is to know whether we’re engaging in Right Speech or not before we start speaking. We rationalize our acidic words...

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Buddhism For Dudes

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