Last Week’s Audio (9/07/14)

September 13, 2014

9/22/2013 The September 7, 2014 audio on Hindrances and Jhanas is available here:

Music Hosting – Audio Hosting – Words_of_the_Buddha_09_07_2014

We are in the process of changing how and where these are uploaded. Sorry for the delay for those of you who have been eager to learn more about these critical topics from home.

Rebirth on Bhante’s other blog

August 9, 2014

Recently we devoted three weeks of Words of the Buddha to a discussion of rebirth. I have begun a series of five posts over at Through the Looking Glass, which will present my own  approach to this important issue in written form. Here is the blog itself, where the first post is already awaiting your consideration. I will post about once a week.

New Topic July 6: Rebirth

June 27, 2014

For many Western Buddhists, frequent and critical references to rebirth tends to be a controversial aspect of the discourses of the Buddha. Starting right after the Fourth of July and continuing probably an additional week, we will consider (1) why the Buddha taught rebirth, particularly, what difference it makes for Buddhist practice, and (2) what are the options for making sense of rebirth consistent with (1), particularly for the reluctant rationalist.

Through the Looking Glass: the book

May 13, 2014

Originally posted on Through the Looking Glass:


Hot off the Press!

I have completed my autobiographical narrative, after about five years of writing. This is a proof, for which I request any constructive criticism, particularly editorial corrections. This is available as a pdf file, and is about 340 pages long.

Please click on the picture to the left for more information.

View original

Next Topic: The Way to a Fortunate Rebirth

May 10, 2014

Please read as far in chapter 5 as you can. This chapter concerns the practices of generosity, virtue and meditation, traditionally conceived as merit-making, conducive to personal well-being and benefit to the world. This chapter once again brings up the issues of karma and rebirth, but in a way that might not be satisfactory to many. I would like, probably starting next week, to pause and consider those interrelated topics in a bit more detail than the book offers.


Next Topic: Women (Gender Equality) in Buddhism

April 14, 2014

This Sunday I would like to finish the topic of Happiness Here and Now. A number of people have expressed interest in the topic of Women in Buddhism, which I think is hugely important in the Western context, since gender equality has been somewhat elusive in Buddhist history. I therefore propose that we spend a couple of weeks on this, starting April 27. In fact, I wrote an essay that takes this issue back to Early Buddhism. Please read this in the next couple of weeks if you can as a beginning point for the discussions:

Also, please invite anyone you would like who has an interest in Women in Buddhism.



Burmese New Year (Water) Festival (Thingyan)

April 12, 2014


Water Festival, Burmese New Year
Sunday April 13, 2014, 10am – 4pm
Sitagu Buddha Vihara, 9001 Honeycomb Dr. 78737
Food – Burmese Dancing and Singing – Family Fun – Splashing

For those of you who are coming to the Water Festival (Thingyan) scheduled for this Sunday, I would like to suggest that you spend some time enjoying the festivities, entertainment and food, but that you also use this as an opportunity to learn about the monastery and meet the monks, and talk with me.

AustinSitaguThingyan220The monks do not participate in the festivities (except we do eat), but are available in the background for anyone to meet with. I would like to declare 9:30 in the morning to be good group time: I will conduct a tour at that time, starting at the pagoda, and be available for answering questions. Entertainment will probably get started around 10-ish, so you can slip away as required. I will generally be available all day, for tours, Dhamma discussions or whatever. You can ask anyone who looks like he or she might know for “the American monk” to find me.

Specific things scheduled beside entertainment that I suggest you come to are:

Sometime between 11 and 11:30: food offering to the monks (and probably one nun). It is a simple group-participation ritual. Even kids like it. Monks eat before noon. Lay folks will begin eating shortly after the monks.

At 1:00 (Burmese time, which is usually later than Zen time, but you never know) there will be a (hopefully) short Dhamma program, taking precepts and a Dhamma talk. You might find this interesting, but I suggest sitting kinda near the door, in case it gets long-winded. It is also likely to be primarily in Burmese, though the abbot always speaks partly in English.

Definitely bring kids if you have any.



No Class April 13

April 7, 2014

Our class at the Zen Center will not meet on Sunday April 13 because of the Water Festival at Bhante’s monastery. But everybody in the class, and their families, is invited to join the festivities.

Water Festival, Burmese New Year
Sunday April 13, 2014, 10am – 4pm
Sitagu Buddha Vihara, 9001 Honeycomb Dr. 78737
Food – Burmese Dancing and Singing – Family Fun – Splashing


Please come. You will have fun. You can see Bhante’s monastery. Look for me and I will give you a tour, or we can talk Dhamma.


New Topic Begins March 16

March 15, 2014

We are back at the Zen Center. We will begin the chapter “The Happiness Visible in this Present Life” in In the Buddha’s Words, pp. 105-142. This concerns the Buddha’s advice on developing social harmony and well-being, in the householder life, in monastic life and in nations.

Class Moved March 9

March 5, 2014

Our class has been preempted again by another event at the Austin Zen Center, this time by a weekend retreat led by a wonderful Zen master, Reb Anderson. However an alternative venue has been graciously offered by Corey in south Austin for such eventualities. Therefore the Sunday March 9 meeting looks like this:

Austin Words of the Buddha
March 9, 2014, 2:00-3:30pm
Cory’s, 2107 Eva St., Austin 78704, TX

This is in South Austin near Congress and Oltorf. A map is HERE. Please bring cushions. Contact Cory at: 512-373-2179 or Please come. There will be … coffee.



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