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A little while ago I came into some money, along with a few dozen other people, as a result of a successful class-action lawsuit against a local police department for illegally arresting and detaining us overnight. A lesser conundrum is whether I should keep any small amount for myself, and if so, how much. One of the things I really dig about Buddhism is the lack of what I consider paternalistic answers to questions like yours. I do hope this isn’t an annoying approach–I remember asking a monastic at Blue Cliff Monastery how to make decisions in the right way and they just told me to ask a more specific question! I understand the urge to not be ensnared by craving, desire, the usual causes of suffering; even the desire to avoid spiritual materialism, which I also see as an undercurrent to your conundrum.
The mission of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF), founded in 1978, is to serve as a catalyst for socially engaged Buddhism.
Christian theology of religion developed recently, after the breakup of European empires and Vatican II. In the mid-twentieth century, German theologian Karl Rahner developed the inclusivist position. Observation demonstrates that in nature, differences are much more prevalent, and much healthier, than sameness.
What matters are the ethical practices a religion instills in its followers and how well they live up to them. Greater clarity about the interdependent co-arising of self and other and deeper understanding that neither has ultimate, ontological existence but only relative appearance does a great deal to promote flourishing with religious diversity. People need to practice disciplines that promote deep introspection and contemplation, allowing us to weigh and evaluate the norms we are force fed by media and rote learning in our educational institutions, to say nothing of many religious institutions. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and are not necessarily those of World Religion News. WRN Featured Contributors are comprised of two groups: A) The official spokespersons affiliated with a religion or religious organization or B) WRN hand-picked religion and theology writers from around the web. Also, their focus on spiritual and social justice matters probably has more to do with them (what they like, what they feel comfortable discussing, whatever image they want to project) than with them judging you for glittery suspenders or your sports jersey. In short, practicing equanimity is one of the best ways I can think of to lessen your suffering in situations like this. It’s 2014, the new iPhone just came out, things like texting and social media are such common place they are quickly being considered potential addiction, and digital devices like iPads and smartphones have their hooks in billions of people from every walk of life. Some potentially addictive substances have many benefits when they are used correctly responsibly. Pomnyun does not however blame the devices themselves, as many people who have spoken up in the past urging people to unplug from this metaphorical matrix.
Pomnyun went on to share his recommendations for addressing the obsession on technology, and these suggestions sound an awful lot like any other drug rehabilitation program.
In Buddhist doctrine, these collective dependencies are called “karma” and they can hold dominion our lives. According to Pomnyun becoming more aware of our behaviors can help us extricate ourselves from our harmful and inhibiting habits and find peace of mind. So at the end of the day, what this monk is trying to tell us is that the best way to free ourselves from the obsession always begins with a cleansing. Addiction comes in all shapes and sizes, and so do those who get addicted to the things that hold them back and restrict their lives. The Orchid is a world-renowned alcohol and drug rehab center offering women an approach devoted to the recovery needs of the female.
Two questions this week about connecting with another: one romantic, the other a deep friendship. Fourth thing: I would also not discount the possibility of the heart connection growing with the extra-physically-foxy lady, nor would I discount the possibility of the loins being more and more inflamed for the extra-emotionally-foxy lady. Cut to the present–she moved to the Bay Area, near me, and I was totally ready and excited to resume our friendship in real life. I’m having trouble moving past my anger, and feel conflicted about how to engage her. For what it’s worth, I have published your question with the one above because there is a theme in common: heart connections are rare!
All that to say: feelings are real, feelings are valid, but they are best not allowed to become the controlling factors in actions and outlook, because of the way they operate in conjunction with ego. I know this money doesn’t belong to me — especially the extra bonus for being a class rep. Should I give it to groups with whom I feel the most political alignment, even if they happen to be Latino-led rather than Black-led? The rent is too damn high, as they say, and even though I have a significant social safety net that a lot of people lack, as a young person trying to save independently I could also use a little extra. You’ve asked for very specific guidance, which I could certainly give you my personal opinion on, but instead I am going to suggest some ways for you to consider what you think is the right path. But the Buddha wasn’t against earning and using money, so long as the money was gained through a right livelihood and used for wholesome means.
Our purpose is to help beings liberate themselves from the suffering that manifests in individuals, relationships, institutions, and social systems. Christians concluded that other religions were not going to disappear, giving way to universal acceptance of Christianity.
He claimed that though Christianity was the only fully adequate religion, members of other religions could find salvation through their own faiths. This position has many variations but they all claim that religions are more similar than different. Monocultures, whether of lawns, crops, or forests, are difficult to maintain and more subject to disease than a naturally mixed environment. If only religious leaders would apply these insights to their comments about religious others. But truly integrating them into our consciousness, so that they affect our everyday reactions, takes introspection. What matters is that when we acknowledge the multiplicity of our identities, we can stop foregrounding our religious identity as our ultimate identity, as if it were our only identity or the only one that matters. When we learn to flourish with religious diversity, we can work well with those with whom we have profound religious or political disagreements. I am arguing that theological beliefs are not the proper place for drawing lines about what matters and what doesn’t.
It does not harm either oneself or others if theological agreement cannot be found, but ethics make a great deal of difference for both. The outer-directed speed and aggression promoted in our society militate against the insights that help us to flourish with religious diversity.
At times it affects my ability to really be present with my clients, and also bond with my coworkers.


It was what connected my and my BFF since high school (pays to be two weirdos at a tony, East Cost boarding school with boys named Chip whose last names are followed by multiple roman numerals).
I’ll start with the latter since the first is actually WAAAAY harder, and I like to work up to things.
You can address this proactively or when you next feel the weirdness envelop an interaction.
I can understand them expecting you to–especially if this is their first time with counseling and it being in a semi-spiritual setting.
I think of it as balance combined with flexibility; a resilience grounded in the observation of the world without judgment. Just one more sundry tip: make sure to spend time being with and connecting to the people in your life that you do feel really accept and understand you and love you for who you are. I have my phone in my hand texting right now, and I’m sure I’ll be using it in about .2 seconds to check my Facebook. Some medications help many people, but when an addict gets there hands on it, it can be abused to the extent it can be considered a dangerous poison. The monk suggested someone dealing with an addiction to technology go on a digital detox period.
Abstinence is the key to gaining continuous freedom from any obsession, and addiction is the same.
It does not take a high priest or Buddhist monk to break free of an addiction, but it does take the willingness to get the right help.
The images of amazing creativity, wonder (perhaps infatuation), and impermanence of such structures couldn’t have been very different from what we see and think of today.
At minimum, your head and your heart should probably be on the same page before proceeding. I’m of the opinion that while there are plenty of people you might fancy, and that might fancy you, (physically at least), in this great big world, a true connection from one heart to another is pretty rare. Even if both of them happen to be fine with an open relationship, something is stopping you from engaging in that practice.
But something was off…I could tell she was holding something back, and after a few months of her being super awkward with me, she tells me she is dating a dude, to my complete shock. Be aware that this practice is not just about sharing what the other person did to hurt you–you also will have to examine yourself for any unskillfulness.
It was unclear in the original query I got, and I agree with you that queerness and being with someone of the opposite sex are not incompatible.
The experience of being arrested and held overnight, crowded 25 or more to a cell, though it bonded some of us together, was harrowing for most people, and devastating for some — especially those who were denied access to vital meds, who had dependents waiting for them, or who might get fired for failing to report to work in the morning.
In the same way a koan confuses the rational mind and draws it out of dualistic thinking, hopefully the process by which you consider your decision will help you intuit what to do. I would add another factor to consider: which group could do the most good with the money you can offer them?
I sense you do feel somewhat burdened by this money, though, so then you can take advantage of (4) and share it wholly or partially–either by donation to organizations you care about, or simple dana to your friends and community. BPF's programs, publications, and practice groups link Buddhist teachings of wisdom and compassion with progressive social change.
Their teachings are almost identical and all are grounded in similar religious experiences. Most people prefer local food to foreign cuisine, even though their preferences say nothing about the relative merits of different diets. Ancient monarchies sometimes tried to perpetuate themselves as identically as possible by close intermarriage; the results were disastrous.
It is here to stay, and religions have to adjust to that fact, just as they had to adjust to the fact that the earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around. But none of these roles or facets of our lives rises to the standard of being a real, truly existing, permanent Self. People don’t agree about religious ideas and there is no reason to expect that to change anytime soon. They require much less distraction and not so much physical exertion that the physicality itself distracts from slowly turning options over in one’s mind.
It is much more difficult to denigrate and vilify others if one has stood in their shoes and that is quite possible through empathetic study of other religions. It was what connected me to my sweetie when I found him on an internet dating site talking about his admiration for Guy Debord (yes, and we are now in the process of creating another human! Maybe the closest thing they previously experienced was a priest doing confession, or something like that.
Subliminal to all that was the idea that through understanding and openness, you could elicit some change.
What is becoming more obvious in today’s society is that the smartphone and other technology is quickly become one of these items that can be pushed beyond the technologies intended use to obsessive abuse.
This may seem a little bit more hazardous for some of us, but in reality is another way to test our self-reliance. Because once we free ourselves from the string that attach us to the substance, we are able to experience new freedom and happiness. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.
This is especially true for those who know of the Tibetan Buddhist practice of creating, and then destroying, beautiful sand sculptures like the one above (see the video below for its full creation).As Thanissaro below suggests, the mere act of analyzing the objects of our passion can be effective in our process of letting go of clinging to changing aspects of our life as if they were not changing. But one I am much more physically attracted to, and the other I am more emotionally attracted to. On the second imperative, I do hope you decide to try to clear the air with your friend (even if you think she should be the one doing the air-clearing) because the joy of having someone in your life who has known you for a very long time, who you were able to truly express yourself to and with, is special. There are some strains of Buddhism that are emotion-negative, which I don’t particularly cotton to. Should all of it go to a group specifically fighting police brutality in Black communities? Philosophical alignment is a powerful pull, but if an organization that does something slightly different can do two or three times the work with the same amount of money, that’s worth ruminating over. You want to do the right thing–but what kind of right thing, aside from furthering the fight against institutionalized privilege? I briefly worked in a somewhat unsavory situation upon which I will not elaborate, but I took a portion of my earnings and made banana bread for my law school compatriots every week for an entire year. As a Buddhist scholar-practitioner who is also a Buddhist critical and constructive thinker, I maintain dual allegiance to the academic study of religion and to traditional Buddhist practices and understandings. I found this out for myself with kittens accidentally born of one generation of brother-sister incest.


This assumption is behind everyday interactions and, to a limited extent, it has some conventional accuracy. We have many other identities, as family members, members of communal, cultural, or national groups, as workers and professionals, that are important to our lives but have little to do with our religious identities.
To learn how to flourish with religious diversity, it is helpful to recognize that religious identity is only one of our myriad, hybrid identities.
Furthermore, given how different people are in temperament and intelligence, there is little reason so assume that they should agree about what constitutes a cogent religious idea.
The great advantage of regarding theological beliefs as far more relative than ethical practices is that religions themselves show much greater consensus about ethics than about theology.
They require one to contemplate essential questions slowly rather than settling for the superficial comfort provided by grasping for easy answers and clinging to party lines. Fortunately, the academic study of religion makes that understanding much more possible than it was a generation ago and infinitely more possible than when I was being educated and socialized.
Not in a professional context, but what my personality should be like to do this kind of work. You are not engaging in the dissociative process by which you become someone you are not for the purposes of your job. I would be careful to make sure you distinguish between their expectations and their desires. Even if these people cause you frustration, or even perhaps judge you or bear you ill will, try to impartially embrace them. This is not to say that equanimity is some sort of muffler for the intensity of daily life. Complicating this is that I am recently out of a long-term committed relationship, and I am, how do you say, single and ready to mingle? The happiness I derived from being able to be generous and caring towards my colleagues offset whatever ickiness I had about my brief job.
Instead of asking if they are enough like us to be acceptable, we should ask why difference, especially of religion, disturbs us so much. It is not a problem that other people do not look like us, so why do we expect, even demand, that they should think like us?
They will not be harmed by accommodating themselves to the inevitable reality of religious diversity. Others do appear in our experience, but that does not mean they exist independently of our experience, which results from the interaction of sense organ and sense object. Others do appear in our consciousness but that does not mean that they exist as we imagine them to exist.
Many of the people we encounter in living out these other identities will not share our religious identity.
Theistic and non-theistic religions have quite similar ethical guidelines, despite incommensurable theological differences. Fortunately such disciplines are much more readily available today than they were even ten years ago. What I mean to say is that it is natural to want to be around people who understand and see you for who you are. As with many things, body language and tone of voice are 90% of the interaction; the words uttered just a few. If you feel they truly do want you to behave or present differently, it’s worth addressing with them or your supervisor for ideas on how to handle it.
The first serious Buddhist teacher I ever had always told me the people who annoyed me most were my teachers. Practicing it is trying to be very close and very far at the same time: close enough to know and experience what is going on, and far enough to have the perspective to not flip your lid, to put it bluntly. I kind of want to mess around with everyone, and I also want the deep emotional connection of a committed relationship. What do I do? I won’t get all Elizabeth Kubler-Ross on you, but you appear to have touched on denial, anger, and depression in the stages of grief. It did not escape my attention that the rest of the class reps all seemed to have some similar kind of class-, education-, or light-skin privilege.
An example of such work is my well-known book Buddhism after Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism (SUNY, 1993). Disliking religious and cultural diversity may be understandable, but in a crowded, globally inter-connected world, it is too dangerous to tolerate.
It is illogical to assume that either subject or object exists by itself, in and of itself. It’s changing your perspective or attitude so that their behaviors do not cause you so much consternation. Trying to practice equanimity (for me) just goes like this: be annoyed by thing X, recognize annoyance, watch thought pass, dribble in some loving-kindness for myself, think about total perspective as a way to root myself out of this suffering through annoyance, breath deep, watch annoyance recede. So obviously, if our collective privilege helped to secure this payout, the money should go to people who are continually short-changed and exploited in the system. Yet many religious leaders throughout history have demanded such conformity, as the history of religious excommunications and warfare demonstrates so poignantly and vividly. Because intellectual truth claims are so prominent in many peoples’ concepts of what religion is about, many are aghast at this suggestion that religious ideas are not worth arguing about. And that awareness supported my journey to some modicum of peace with them, and my annoyance too. In the future I hope that many more religious institutions will offer such training for their members. You guys can chuckle about it, if you can both be benevolent with one another and the situation!
Beginning Anew is a non-judgmental way to handle any new or long term wonkiness in a relationship, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Reflection on how easily friends and enemies transform into each other should bring this realization vividly home. Sometimes that happens (more when I am tired, upset, annoyed) and sometimes, well, I am simply perfect (I joke). The other is to analyze the objects of passion & delight in such a way that they no longer seem worthy of interest.




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