May 31, 2012

Secular Buddhist Episode 119: Meditation, Pain, and Science

Hi folks,

I really had fun being interviewed by Ted Meissner at the Secular Buddhist. I think you’ll enjoy what I had to say as well as other of his presenters. 

May 10, 2012

Does Shinzen Have The Buddha-Nature?

First, to understand who we’re talking about, check out this picture of Shinzen:

He belongs to a Canadian fan of mine who named the dog after me so it would serve as a constant reminder to keep practicing.

You are probably familiar with the famous statement of ZenMaster Zhaozhou:

When asked, does the dog have a Buddha nature, he replied,

Do you understand?

Hint: Just Note Gone. J

May 2, 2012

A Possible Way to Convince Skeptical People that Mindfulness is a Good Thing

Recently a student asked me whether mindfulness optimizes the information processing capacities of the body and mind.

Here’s how I replied:
Your idea that mindfulness optimizes the information processing capacities of body and mind both makes sense and may be extremely important in terms of convincing skeptical people that it's worth putting time and energy into the practice. 
If you think of my "putatively operationizable" definition of mindfulness--Concentration Power, Sensory Clarity, and Equanimity--this would exactly translate into an electronic receiver with: 

Does that not pretty much sum up what one would want in an optimal information processing system?
If we assume that optimal information processing in the human nervous system is advantageous (evolutionarily, functionally, hedonically...) and if indeed mindfulness training does significantly improve information processing as defined by a generally agreed upon metric, then there's good reason for humans and for humanity to adopt it.