In this interview, I ask Gil about his new book, The Buddha before Buddhism, in which Gil provides translation and commentary to one of the oldest extant Buddhist texts, The Atthakavagga, or The Book of Eights. What was so interesting for me to hear was that, perhaps, the Four Noble Truths – widely believed to be the first discourse given by the Buddha – may not have been his first teaching, at all.
In response to my post, “Consciousness, Being and Bliss” I received some questions that I’d like to tackle here. The essence of these questions, I think, boils down to this: “What is spirituality really about? When we engage in a spiritual practice, where is the compass pointed?” In many forms of spirituality, the compass tends […]
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend, Chip Hartranft, for MeaningofLife.tv. In the yoga and meditation world, Chip is the rare practitioner who balances encyclopedic scholarship with equally profound depth of practice. In our conversation, we explore Patanjali’s road map to liberation, The Yoga Sutra. We also get into the […]
Within Indian philosophy, different schools propose different metaphysics and methodologies for attaining liberation from the human experience of anguish. Within the historical context in which the Buddha emerged, one proposition for freedom and happiness was articulated in the Brhad-ahranyaka Upanisad, which many consider to encapsulate the view of Vedanta. In the BAU (Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad), an […]
From the earliest records we have of ancient Indian philosophy, we can see that the nature of the cosmos and man’s relationship to the cosmos was of great concern. From Brahmanism, to Vedanta, to Classical Yoga and beyond, there is a reoccurring metaphysical theme, and that is: what is the nature of reality, and how […]
“Everything in moderation, including moderation,” said Oscar Wilde. Advocates of moderation often find their spiritual footing within the Buddha’s doctrine of the Middle Path. As its name suggests, the Middle Path adheres to an approach that avoids the two extremes of self-mortification (ie. extreme asceticism) and self-indulgence (ie. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow […]