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

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

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

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

Being Religious – Beautiful? – Dialectic Two Step

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Question: What is the most beautiful part of being religious? Response: Religion means to reconnect with the divine. I would say that beauty is secondary, and possibly an obstacle, to it’s purpose. If you wish to acknowledge the divine, then you must acknowledge everything. Beauty, ugliness, good, evil, light, dark, and so on are all part of creation. The divine is and must be vast, intimidating, and wondrous. So,words fall short. But, if I must answer the question, I would say the most wonderful thing religion has to offer is…read more

There’s Nothing You Can Do to Change the World, So Don’t Ever Stop Trying

Posted by in Buddha, Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

At a retreat I was helping to lead some time ago, I made a comment during the Dharma talk that rustled a few feathers. It went something like this, “There’s nothing you can do to change the world.” At the end of the retreat one of the participants followed up for clarification. He asked with a friendly but incredulous look on his face, “Did you really mean that?”I admit, it sounds harsh. But, let me explain. It’s Not Just a Good Idea, It’s the Law I’ve just finished reading a…read more

What Does Pure Land Buddhism Teach? – Dialectic Two Step

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Question: What does Pure Land Buddhism teach? Response: The Pure Land Sutra is the enlightenment story of the Bodhisattva Dharmakāra. The story is set in the impossibly distant past. Upon fulfillment of 48 vows Dharmakāra became the Buddha Amitabha. Two of those vows are the central focus of the Pure Land school. 18. If I would become a Buddha, then any sentient being in any one of the ten directions who would earnestly believe and willingly wish to be born in my Pure Land, even if for only the duration of…read more

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