Andrew Furst

Does Matter Exist? – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings

Question: Does matter exist? The only thing I can be sure of is that I am ‘having’ the experience of being aware. The objects that the mind perceives as ‘being over there’ are illusory in nature.  Have we ever found this  substance we call matter? Response: I guess the first thing we should do is check in on what you mean when you say something exists. If you assume that it means a permanent unchanging essence that can be measured, you will never find such a thing. Everything that exists in this world…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

The Will of God? – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings

Question: How can I know the will of God? Response: While I have no knowledge of God, one might expect that asking to know such a thing would only be an obstruction to discovering it. Expressing a desire for something makes the object of desire smaller. Take my wish to have an apple pie. What if I didn’t have the capacity to appreciate the flakiness of its crust? Imagine I was only able to detect the sweetness of the apples, sugar, and cinnamon? My limitations diminish the pie. I would only be experiencing the…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

Why Was I Born? – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings

Question: According to Buddhism, I am not an eternal being or spirit. But, due to my past life karma I am born again. I was wondering what was the cause of my first life. Rebirth takes place due to karma. So if I had no karma before my first life, why was I born? Response: This isn’t an answer, but an opinion and a framework to consider. First, self is impermanent, just like all other observable phenomenon. As you said it arises from causes and conditions. So when you talk…read more

An Angry God – Dialectic Two Step

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Question: Is Allah an angry God compared to the all-loving, all-good Christian God? Response: Do you mean the all loving, all good Christian God who massacred the first born sons of Egypt. The God who wiped out the entire populations of Sodom and Gomorrah and promised to destroy the enemies of Israel? The same God who tormented Job and sent his only son to the cross? If there is a God and that God is the creator and architect of this world, as well as the author of holy scripture,…read more