Andrew Furst

How Has Awakening Changed Your Meditation Practice? – Dialectic Two Step

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Question: How Has Awakening Changed Your Meditation Practice? Response: If you are reading this, you are awake. If you are meditating, you are awake. I mean this in a common sense way and in the language of the Buddha. Meditation is practice being awake. It is an exploration of the depth and subtlety of the awareness that is available to all of us. There is a persistent misunderstanding of enlightenment as a transition from one persistent state of unenlightenment to a new state of enlightenment. This is why there are…read more

If God Existed, Could He Create a More Powerful God? – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings

Question: If god existed, could he create a more powerful god? Response: This is a logic trick designed to target the weakness in a theological definition of God in the tradition of Aquinas. If a God were truly omnipotent, then it would be able to create anything right? This would include something greater than itself. The alternative would be that the God was not omnipotent. Theologians aspire to use logic in the purposes of theology, but strictly speaking it is not useful and not applicable. The value of logic is…read more

On Enlightenment and Dog Shit – Dialectic Two Step

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Question: Why would an enlightened being avoid stepping on dog shit? Once awakened, wouldn’t a person remain frozen in the spot until they piss themselves to death? On achieving enlightenment, shouldn’t every bodily impulse to do anything be replaced with mindful observation without physical reaction? Response: Because stepping in dog shit causes you to smell the nasty smell of dog shit for the rest of the day. Everyone is awake. Life is action. Any formulation of enlightenment that fails to account for the way things are – eating, sleeping, shitting,…read more

Getting Back To Christmas? – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings

The weeks leading up to Christmas can be the most difficult of the entire year for many people. For some, this might be a first year without a loved one. Some struggle with past memories. Me I struggle with the rush and rage of the holiday shopping, the aggressive driving, and the perennial “Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays” argument. But in the US, the rollercoaster ride that is December always ends in a nostalgic – if not chilly – day of peace, quiet, and ritual. Christmas morning delivers another day,…read more

From the Perspective of Buddhism, is the Mind the Creator of Sickness and Health? – Dialectic Two Step

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Question: From the Perspective of Buddhism, is the Mind the Creator of Sickness and Health? Response: From where does the mind arise if not the body? Sickness and health can be abetted by the mind, but to say the mind creates a virus, or cancer, or a mental illness just doesn’t make sense. The mind is the creator of “me”, but there is always more to “me” than any construction the mind could muster. To ascribe creation of everything to the mind is just another path to suffering. Health means wholeness….read more

How Should a Buddhist Deal with Discarding Erroneous Beliefs? – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings

Question: How Should a Buddhist Deal with Discarding Erroneous Beliefs? Response: Humans have developed a couple of pretty neat tools for detecting erroneous beliefs.  Logic and standards for evidence are two great examples.  But your question gets to the heart of the matter – once you discover you’ve been acting based on erroneous beliefs, what do you do? I suspect, as always, the answer is “it depends”. It depends on the role the belief has in your world view. Let me give an example of how I’ve recently responded to…read more

If We Are Reborn, How Does Population Grow? – Dialectic Two Step

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Question: If, when we die, we are reborn and go into another body, how is it possible that the population is growing? Population numbers shouldn’t change. Response: I believe that this and similar questions are better than any answers that could possibly be given. It points to the suffering that comes with fixed views on something as fuzzy as rebirth. For me this question has bounded my expectations around karma and its effect on the future. I cannot fathom what it would be like to be reborn. I have no recollection…read more

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