Andrew Furst

Does Buddhist Philosophy Work? – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings

Question: What is your experience in applying Buddhist philosophy in real life? Response: My experience is that Buddhist philosophy has proven its worth. For me, suffering would have taken its course and led me to an untimely death had I not had the good fortune to learn of and take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. I first entered the stream by way of physical suffering. I had fractured some vertebrae and had taken on the practice of hatha yoga as a way towards healing. The Buddhist approach spoke…read more

Pure Land Buddhist – What Do They Believe?

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Question: What are the main beliefs of Pure Land Buddhism? Response: The shortest answer could be this: faith, vows, and practice Faith – Faith in the Buddha’s way. Not blind faith, but a faith in the sense that we develop confidence with each passing day that the sun will set in the western sky. Faith in the truths of suffering, the causes of suffering, and a path away from it. Faith in our Buddha Nature. Vows – The aspiration for rebirth in the Pure Land, for the blossoming of our…read more

Does God Think? – Dialectic Two Step

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Question: Does God think? Does he need to? Response: If God experienced thoughts the way we do; as passing in and out of our awareness as an amalgamation of sensory perception and mental formations, that would it mean that God would require corporeal form.God would needs senses, and some mechanism to process the input. If he had corporeal form, would he be subject to change (all matter changes) and therefore imperfection? Oops. This little exercise illustrates how anthropomorphizing God leads to absurdity. I firmly believe that the Bible, or any other…read more

Can We Prove Buddhism is Right? – Dialectic Two Step

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Comment: Did you hear about the studies that show <insert your favorite religious practice> can actually improve <insert something related to human well being>? Response: I’m always cautious when it comes to citing scientific studies to support a Buddhist world view or to practice.  There are a few reasons: I have an ongoing non-scientific study that shows that many studies attempting to prove religious practices work are followed on by even more studies debunking those claims.* Religious practices are practices of the mind and their effects are on the mind. Because of…read more

Eradicating Delusion, Greed, and Anger – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings

Question: What are the “Three Obstacles” in Buddhism, and how can they be eradicated? Response: So you want to eradicate delusion, greed, and anger. Seriously? Jeez. I guess you’re one of those go big or go home folks. Damn. Lets just say this; that, is a tall – no, gigantic – order. Do you mean to say that you’re really thinking you could transform the human race, subject to it’s endlessly varying circumstances and a genetic disposition towards greed, delusion, and anger? Wow! No really.  Just wow! That’s ambition. That…read more

What is the Reason for Human Suffering? – Dialectic Two Step

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Question: What is the reason for human suffering? Response: To me, your question seems to make some very large assumptions. These include: That there need to be reasons for things. Further if there are reasons, that there is a “reasoner”. One step further, your question assumes that the “reasoner” created suffering with a reason in mind. If you would like to know the “reason” for human suffering, you would have to appeal to this reasoner. Find them, and you will know. If you do not find them, then perhaps you…read more

Buddhism and the Law of Attraction – Dialectic Two Step

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Question: How do I apply the Law of Attraction while practicing Buddhism when they are both the opposite of each other? Buddhism is about seeing the impermanence and suffering of everything. The Law of Attraction suggests we focus on the good. Response: I wouldn’t call the “Law of Attraction” the opposite of Buddhism. They don’t really overlap cleanly. Buddhism is about decreasing suffering by addressing the poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion. The Law of Attraction is about your dreams coming true. These are two very different pursuits. If the…read more

Is Religion Necessary for Modern Society? – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings

Question: Is religion necessary for modern society? Response: The persistence of an idea or an ideology can be found in the advantage it offers its followers. So when we talk about necessity, I think we should be focused at a higher level than religion. I would suggest what is necessary, is that we have a world view. Some of us hold a world view that is religious. Others – e.g. atheists – have a worldview that is not. There are more religious people than there are non-religious people. So, I…read more

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

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