Andrew Furst

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

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

Why Do We Choose To Suffer? – Dialectic Two Step

Posted by in Dialectic Two-Step, Writings

Question: Why do we choose to suffer? Response: We don’t. It sounds fairly ridiculous that someone would choose suffering. We suffer because of our choices. The choices that lead to suffering are made on faulty expectations. It’s indirect. We choose things to make us happy. We choose to go on a diet to lose weight. We choose marriage to make love last. We choose a religion to reconnect with the divine. Our suffering comes because we discover that achieving happiness, healthiness, and good relationships isn’t as simple as choosing and…read more

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