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What is religion?Religion, as understood in the West,is defined in the English Oxford dictionary, as the belief in and worship of many gods (polytheism) or one God (monotheism). Episode Description: Hokai Sobol is a teacher in the Shingon tradition of Japanese Vajrayana and a long time mentor to the Buddhist Geeks team. Episode Description: We’re joined this week by Buddhist teacher and scholar Hokai Sobol to explore the broad, but crucial topic of Emergent Buddhism. Episode Description: In the last part of our discussion with Buddhist teacher and scholar Hokai Sobol, we wrap up our exploration on some of the important influences and forces that shape Western Buddhism.
Episode Description: In the first part of a multi-part discussion with Buddhist teacher and scholar Hokai Sobol, we explore the invisible, and rarely discussed, forces that shape Western Buddhism.
Episode Description: This week we share a public talk given by Integral spirituality teacher Terry Patten and Vajrayana teacher Hokai Sobol, on the question of whether traditional Dharma can (or can not) help us turn the corner in a high-speed world. Episode Description: In this episode, we continue our dialogue with Shingon teacher Hokai Sobol.
Everyone is prey to distractedness, to seeing solace in activity as an escape from experiencing ourselves. It’s part of the human condition to be restless, to be seeking something better than we have at the moment. Inevitably though, we crave a lull in activity, being exhausted of or bored by the activities we’re engaged in.
What is meditation (or, more broadly, mindfulness) if not learning how to sit quietly in a room? We learn simply to observe our thoughts rather than to get caught up in fantasies; our mindfulness deepens. Ultimately, Pascal points out in that same passage in his Pensees, our desire for diversion is an avoidance of the sense of our own mortality.
As we continue to observe the mind we realize that all of the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that arise in our experience are impermanent. Bodhipaksa is a Buddhist practitioner, writer, and teacher, and is also the founder of Wildmind. As well as teaching behind bars, Bodhipaksa also conducts classes at Aryaloka Buddhist Center in Newmarket, New Hampshire. Bodhipaksa is a Buddhist practitioner and teacher, a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, and a published author. One day I’ll no doubt get around to reading Pascal, who seems like a very interesting writer. Why are you asking me for personal information?We collect personal information including your contact and demographic information for the purposes of identification, account administration and display of personalised content and advertising. Now, he’s taking it up a notch by putting meditation rooms on every floor of one of the new Salesforce buildings that just opened in San Francisco on Monday.


The goal: to make it easy for employees to meditate, which he believes will bring more innovative ideas. They first suggested turning one whole floor dedicated to just silence, so people could go up and meditate whenever they wanted to.
In this talk from the 2014 Buddhist Geeks Conference, Hokai speaks about the relationship between imagination and Buddhism. Pamela Winfield join host Vincent Horn to continue a conversation that digs deeper into the paradigms of enlightenment presented in Japanese Buddhism. We begin our conversation by dropping a difficult question on Hokai, asking him how the Vajrayana traditions (both the Japanese and Tibetan) can maintain relevance in our post-modern and rapidly changing world. All people at all times have suffered the pains of boredom, self-doubt, loneliness, irritability, restlessness, and anxiety that come from not being at peace with ourselves. Running around pursuing happiness can be exhilarating, but it fails to address our deep-seated longing for meaning and happiness, and in the midst of busyness our thirst re-asserts itself, driving us towards stillness.
Often the first thing that happens when someone begins to meditate is that they realize how distracted they are. We develop more of an instinctual sense that the way to happiness is through facing ourselves rather than running away from ourselves.
Without awareness it will drive us in circles where we make the same mistakes over and over. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and daughter, and has a particular interest in teaching prison inmates. The Buddha posited no ontological views, and rejected monism as unproductive philosophical speculation.
I mention this because people are less likely to take your statements seriously when they are presented in an illiterate manner.
I should imagine it is very dificult to achieve this if you are not introduced to this as a child because it does require a lot of discipline. Therefore some writers point out that Buddhism is not a religion but an atheistic philosophy. Since everybody is talking about it based upon some initial experiences, there are many expectations of its benefits. Bodhipaksa argues, however, that the force underlying our distractedness is a creative one, and that properly channeled it can take us all the way to enlightenment.
And yet when by some rare combination of circumstances I have some free time, I find that I soon start to think about what I can do with it. We all have a sense of thirst at the core of our being, a dissatisfaction that drives us to find meaning and happiness.
And so we cycle through activity, a craving for respite, a brief experience of rest, and a renewed desire for activity.


We realize that we have to transform states of mind that lead to unhappiness and cultivate those that lead to a deeper sense of fulfillment.
Our being, he points out, is contingent (we might never have been born had circumstances been different) and impermanent (it’s certain we will die).
I have to turn away from seductive diversions — even diversions like teaching that I find fulfilling and enjoyable in their own right. I’m not sure what you mean by his brilliance being inexorably linked with this faith. I was raised like this but in present society it is nigh impossible to raise children like this with all of its distractions and lack of spirituality. Even  medical doctors are prescribing meditation as the best medication, as a remedy to all physical and psychological illnesses. But all too often we don’t actually move in the direction of finding meaning and happiness.
When we see the inner tumult of our minds we have a choice: to become frustrated or to be forgiving with ourselves. We find that the mind becomes less restless and that there’s a greater sense of calmness.
And thus there is a deep-seated fear of non-existence, to which the ego tries to blind itself by embracing diversion and removing any possibility for deeper reflection. Certainly his brilliance illuminated his Christian beliefs, but I think his mind would have been just as lucid and penetrating if he’d been a Jew, or an atheist, or a Buddhist. Psychologists and psychotherapists recommend meditation practice to their clients as a remedy for their problems. I plan to save it and return for another time when I find I am “sit(ting) quietly in a room. Paradoxically, realizing this brings a measure of peace because we are less caught up in fighting with ourselves.
We feel a sense of direction manifesting in our lives and we experience greater confidence. The ego, upon examination, simply ceases to exist (at least in the way we used to think about it).



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