Buddhism has a problem, an unfortunate one, but such is life. And that problem is: there is no way to know for certain what the Buddha said. It is a problem with any spiritual teaching more than a thousand years old, or any history for that matter. It has to do with written texts and oral transmission.

The first written Buddhist texts are in the Pali language and are based upon 400 years of oral tradition. That means that whatever the Buddha said 2500 years ago was repeated generation after generation, from one man to the next, for four centuries. Even if the monks who recited the Dharma for 400 years didn’t add a single thing to the words they were taught, not a single new interpretation or correction or improvement, the chance for inaccuracy is huge. Remember playing telephone in elementary school?

When you consider that the … Continue Reading 

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Greetings from Sedona, Arizona. It is beautiful, it is hot, the hiking is superb and the food excellent. Yes, I am here to attend a 9 day Sedona Method retreat, but being in Sedona is part of the experience. I came early this time, so I had a day and a half to enjoy this marvelous town. I’ve been to Sedona 14 times in 12 years, both for retreats and pleasure. One of my favorite places in the world.

Last night the retreat began. The supposedly “advanced” 9 day retreat is a mixture of Advaita-style non-duality teachings (think Nisargadatta Maharaj and Adyashanti) with a touch of personal development and a pinch of basic Sedona Method. It is very different, though, from what other teachers do for a non-dual type retreat in that our “guru” for the 9 days, Hale Dwoskin, actively yet gentle engages people directly to see … Continue Reading 

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