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One City

One City

Bio

Greg Zwahlen began practicing meditation and studying Buddhism in 2000 and joined the ID Project at its inception in 2005. He lives in New York City, where he is also a member of the Shambhala Meditation Center of New York. He has undertaken advanced study over the past few years at the Rime Shedra Rime of New York City, the Mipham Academy under Khenpo Gawang, and the Nitartha Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies.

A Handful of Leaves (is free)

posted by Greg Zwahlen

In our What are the Sutras? meditation and study classes at IDP-NYC, the free translations of early Suttas by Thanissaro Bhikkhu and others–available on Access to Insight–have been an invaluable resource. The site often provides more than one translation, which is an added […]

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A History of Mindfulness

posted by Greg Zwahlen

by Greg Zwahlen In our What are the Suttas? study course last Saturday at the IDP New York City center, we had a look at a translation from Pali of the Satipatthana Sutta, and a session of meditation practice based on the instructions […]

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Buddhist Warfare?

posted by Greg Zwahlen

At Religion Dispatches is an article by Michael Jerryson, one of the editors of the just released book Buddhist Warfare. I haven’t read the book yet, but the article has some interesting points that are worth addressing.  Jerryson writes that the book […]

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What the Buddha Taught: SuttaCentral

posted by Greg Zwahlen

by Greg Zwahlen Let’s say you’re interested in discerning which teachings can most reliably be attributed to  ??kyamuni Buddha, the historical man. Seems reasonable enough–after all, it’s been a primary concern of Buddhists and scholars over the last two hundred years. You’re […]

Diamonds in the birch

posted by Greg Zwahlen

by Greg Zwahlen Lately I’ve been reading Tibeto-logic, a fascinating and helpful blog by scholar Dan Martin. It was there that I discovered this interesting interview with Prof. Paul Harrison, one of the world’s leading scholars of Mahayana sutras.  

Me, myself, and I and I

posted by Greg Zwahlen

by Greg Zwahlen I’ve always been fascinated by multiple personality disorder (or dissociative identity disorder, as it is now properly called). My fascination increased a couple of years ago when I read a rather lurid book called The Myth of […]

A minute of silence

posted by Greg Zwahlen

by Greg Zwahlen I don’t mean to take anything away from U.S. war veterans, but I think this quote from Kurt Vonnegut (in Breakfast of Champions) is apt this morning: When I was a boy, all the people of all […]

Building and safeguarding Buddhism in the West

posted by Greg Zwahlen

by Greg Zwahlen  People study meditation and Buddhism for all sorts of reasons, with varying levels of interest. That said, it seems safe to say that the vast majority have modest aspirations for it, modest levels of interest in it, […]

Why I am not a “Tibetan Buddhist” (anymore)

posted by Greg Zwahlen

by Greg Zwahlen If you’ve received meditation instruction at a Shambhala center, or at an Insight Meditation Center, a zendo, or the ID project, the very first thing you probably learned was that it is possible to look directly into […]

Idiot compassion and panhandling

posted by Greg Zwahlen

The late Buddhist master Chogyam Trungpa described a dynamic he called “idiot compassion” as follows: Idiot compassion .  .stems from not having enough courage to say no. . . .In order that your compassion doesn’t become idiot compassion, you have […]

The Dalai Lama isn’t being “real?”

posted by Greg Zwahlen

by Greg Zwahlen Foreign Policy published an article not long ago by Wen Liao called Why the Dalai Lama Needs to Get Real.  Liao writes: Advocates of Tibetan rights are disappointed that Barack Obama has chosen not to meet with the […]

“Nones” to go Buddhist? Andrew Sullivan and the God and Country Blog

posted by Greg Zwahlen

by Greg Zwahlen The US News and World Report God and Country blog reported last week that a recent Trinity College survey found that in the next twenty years, the percentage of Americans who report “no religion” may increase from […]

The ultimate truth is fearless

posted by Greg Zwahlen

by Greg Zwahlen Over the last few days our friend Waylon Lewis, editor at elephant journal, blogged about allegations he had recently discovered about Chogyam Trungpa. Waylon was convinced they were false, and suggested that a reference to it on Wikipedia, be deleted […]

Meditation at war

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Time magazine, along with a number of other news outlets, ran a profile recently about a program called “Warrior Mind Training” being used by the U.S. Army to “train its 1.1 million soldiers in the art of mental toughness.” The Defense […]

A Buddhist 9-11 commemoration

posted by Greg Zwahlen

If you’re in New York City tonight and would like to commemorate 9-11 in a Buddhist fashion, Rev. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki will be releasing paper lanterns off of Pier 40. The Reuters FaithWorld blog has the story. I’ve always found the […]

Sikhs are nimble too

posted by Greg Zwahlen

In the Times “On Religion” blog this weekend was an article about a young Sikh group that meets in Manhattan. It was described as “a Sikh version of what religion scholars call the emergent movement, a growing trend toward small, nimble, […]

In the Times today . .

posted by Greg Zwahlen

An interesting piece by Robert Wright about his first experience with a Vipassana retreat, and his anticipation of the second one he will shortly undertake. .  . . I attended my first and only silent meditation retreat. It was just […]

Public displays of meditation

posted by Greg Zwahlen

I’ve never done anything like this . . .  

T?ran?tha on Padmasambhava’s lotus-birth

posted by Greg Zwahlen

According to Tibetan tradition, the eighth-century yogin Padmasambhava was born as an eight-year-old child on a lotus blossom in Lake Dhanakosha. His name, in fact, literally means “Lotus Born.” This is what the early 17th-century Tibetan historian T?ran?tha had to […]

Contemplating the uncontemplatable?

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Recently the New York Times “Happy Days” blog ran a piece by Tim Kreider, who was stabbed in the throat fourteen years ago. He writes: After my unsuccessful murder I wasn’t unhappy for an entire year. . . . I’m […]

In Review: Adi Shankaracharya

posted by Greg Zwahlen

I recently rented “Adi Shankaracharya,” the first and only movie made entirely in Sanskrit. It’s a biopic of Shankara, an 8th century Hindu saint who was perhaps the most important exponent of Advaita Vedanta (a Hindu tradition).I can’t say the […]

Norman Fischer’s Plan B

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Zoketsu Norman Fischer, a senior dharma teacher at the San Francisco Zen Center, has an interesting article in the latest issue of Buddhadharma magazine (a portion of which is available online). In the article he states that as a teacher, he has […]

1 in 11 Americans meditates?

posted by Greg Zwahlen

According to an article yesterday in USA Today, meditation, “once thought of as an esoteric, mystical pursuit . . . is going mainstream.” One might argue that if it’s in USA Today, it already is mainstream, but in any case. . […]

No sex during the day for Buddhists?

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Buddhist academic and translator Jose Cabezon has a great article in the latest issue of Buddhadharma about some of the peculiar ideas many Buddhist traditions have about sex (about which most Western practioners are unaware), and how he reconciles those […]

Finding Fearlessness in Fearful Times

posted by Greg Zwahlen

This week we have a special guest post from Gaylon Ferguson, PhD, a senior teacher (acharya) in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. He has led meditation retreats for thirty-three years. As core faculty at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, he teaches Religious and […]

Skinned alive

posted by Greg Zwahlen

I was recently forwarded this piece about the fur trade in China, produced by PETA. It’s one of the most gruesome things I’ve seen in a long time. Apparently at some Chinese fur farms animals are skinned alive with the […]

This is Your Mind on Five Wisdoms

posted by Greg Zwahlen

When I studied urban planning in grad school, one of my strongest interests was in the ways buildings affect how people feel, as a result of both their individual appearances and of the way they’re massed around open space or […]

Flexible names, fluid world

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Emily’s post this morning reminded me of an article I encountered in Slate a couple of weeks ago about Chinese names and the prevalance of the use of English names in China. The author, Huan Hsu, writes that they have become de […]

Holland Holla

posted by Greg Zwahlen

This past Sunday the New York Times Magazine had an interesting article by Russell Shorto, an American expat living in the Netherlands, in which he provides a nuanced description of a society whose more humane version of capitalism the United […]

“Upside down” world

posted by Greg Zwahlen

I like this map.

Obama and immigration reform

posted by Greg Zwahlen

A guest post by Lauren Bulfin. Friends of mine who have followed Obama’s misadventures with the economic stimulus package, have taken to asking me: “How is Obama different from any other president we’ve had? I thought he was about change.” […]

Thank you internet

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Over the last few days the internet has allowed me to be in contact with people I probably would not otherwise have reached. I appreciate it! Here’s a rundown.

Buddhist for Passover

posted by Greg Zwahlen

A guest post by Lauren Bulfin. After years of neglecting Jewish traditions, at best using the religious holidays as an excuse to socialize with friends, my mother decided, for reasons beyond my comprehension, that 2009 was the year to hold […]

The jury-rigged, symphonic human brain

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Last month there was an unbearably sad story in the Washington Post magazine, about parents who forgot their kids in cars with fatal consequences. Read it here.

This is awful sweet

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Kirsten Firminger is off today.

The Quiet Coup

posted by Greg Zwahlen

There is a major piece in this month’s Atlantic Monthly on politics and our economic meltdown, available here. It’s been getting a lot of attention, as the author is a very credible voice with alarming insights. Here’s the lede: The […]

The 12 Nid?nas: An Illustration

posted by Greg Zwahlen

This was sent around on the Shambhala listserv. I liked it, so I’m passing it along. (Note: the 12 Nid?nas are traditionally described as a process that spans three lifetimes or more. The Abhidharma-ko?a of Vasubandhu describes a scheme whereby […]

Heard in One City

posted by Greg Zwahlen

We should not forget that the mind, whatever turn that we want to give it, is very flexible. To the extent that we train ourselves, we create a habit and the mind accepts the crease that we give it. —Bokar […]

Late Indian siddhas, and other intriguing possibilities

posted by Greg Zwahlen

There are a lot of things I find interesting about this article, titled “Buddhaguptanatha and the Late Survival of the Siddha Tradition in India,” by David Templeton. Usually, when reading about the history of Indian Buddhism,

We’re now on Twitter

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Follow the blog here, if you like that kind of thing.

Sects & Sectarianism

posted by Greg Zwahlen

I came across this today. It’s a very well researched essay, available for free, about the evolution of different sects and ordination lineages in early Buddhism. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but it had some interesting tidbits. For one,

Heard in One City

posted by Greg Zwahlen

RP: Sometimes people think that Buddhism should somehow resolve all our problems. It’s more that the path will bring those issues out. It’s when we deny them or ignore them or cover them up with a veneer of spirituality—that’s the […]

Picking on Shambhala Sun

posted by Greg Zwahlen

The other day I got a solicitation from Shambhala Sun magazine. It included a series of “True or False” questions designed to intrigue the solicitee, one of which was: Playing rock is a profound spiritual path. A: True. Any activity […]

Hat’s off, Sen. Schneiderman

posted by Greg Zwahlen

I was very encouraged to read this post in the editor’s blog of the Nation, published yesterday: Now that thirty years of deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy have failed so spectacularly, creating an economic catastrophe in its wake, […]

Heard in One City

posted by Greg Zwahlen

The inhibitions that obscure our buddha nature develop because we use external points of reference to define and confirm our own self-identity. The problem with this is that reference points continually change. As we try to keep up with these […]

Amish avant-garde?

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Ethan Nichtern’s post below, about how quickly we assimilate (and take for granted) new technology, brought to mind a fascinating article a friend forwarded me last week on the subject as it relates to Amish populations in the US. It’s […]

“Great Vajradhara, Tilo, Naro . . . Ganga Metr?pa?”

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Disclaimer: If you don’t have any familiarity with Naropa and Marpa, this post will probably be very boring. Fair warning, and apologies in advance. As Buddhism was first transmitted to the West, most students had little information about it other […]

Which is it, guys?

posted by Greg Zwahlen

In “Mindfulness Defined” (available free here), Thanissaro Bhikkhu writes: “The Buddha discovered that the way you attend to things is determined by what you see as important—the questions you bring to the practice, the problems you want the practice to […]

And then there’s our genes

posted by Greg Zwahlen

A couple of weeks ago the New York Times Magazine published a feature article about the emerging field of behavioral genetics. The following passages stood out to me:

The Inaugural Speech: first thoughts

posted by Greg Zwahlen

I know everyone is thrilled about the inauguration; I certainly am. I don’t mean to throw any cold water on it, but I nonetheless thought I’d take a second look at the inaugural address, with which I was underwhelmed. The […]

Heard in One City

posted by Greg Zwahlen

I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. . . . We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. —Dr. Martin Luther […]

Penguin escape

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Here’s some compassion engendering afternoon viewing.

Foundations of Buddhism

posted by Greg Zwahlen

I’m addicted to books about Buddhism; I have somewhere between two and three hundred of them. In my estimation one of the very best is Foundations of Buddhism, by Rupert Gethin. It’s a relatively short book that nonetheless manages to […]

A little more to do with mental health

posted by Greg Zwahlen

There was a book review in this past Sunday’s New York Times called “Still Crazy After All These Years.” The book reviewed is American Therapy: The Rise of Psychotherapy in the United States (great review title, no?). The review seemed […]

Exchanging self for other (with high tech help)

posted by Greg Zwahlen

The other day I came across (thanks to Eva) an interesting piece in the New York Times titled Standing in Someone Else’s Shoes, Almost for Real. The article details the work of Swedish neuroscientists who’ve made it possible, using goggles […]

A Maxim I do rather like

posted by Greg Zwahlen

A few weeks back I posted a quote from Mark Twain that I found provocative. This week, an exploration of a quote I came across a few years ago: I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man’s […]

Individuality and dharma

posted by Greg Zwahlen

There was a passage in Julia May Jonas’s recent post that brought to mind a book I like called Buddhist Practice on Western Ground: Reconciling Eastern Ideals and Western Psychology, by a psychologist and longtime practitioner of Buddhism named Harvey […]

“Protect the Earth” by, er, trashing it

posted by Greg Zwahlen

I went to the dentist recently, and on my way out I was given a plastic bag to carry very few tiny items (toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste, the usual dental schwag). This was unfortunate, of course, but hardly unusual. […]

Buddhist art shows opening in NYC

posted by Greg Zwahlen

There are several present and future exhibits of Buddhist art in the city that I’m excited about. The Eight Venerable Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche, a master of the Drukpa Kagyu tradition and a painter in traditional and contemporary idioms, has shows […]

Maxims you don’t agree with

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Ellen, I hope you’ll excuse the title. I couldn’t bring myself to title the post “Maxims with which you don’t agree.” Hey, it’s a blog, right? The last few years I’ve gotten fond of collecting aphorisms, particularly when they seem […]

ID Project in the news

posted by Greg Zwahlen

The ID project got a couple of nice mentions in the new issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, which may be the best general interest magazine about Buddhism. They came in an article called “Next-gen Buddhism: The future of Buddhism […]

An Economics of Community

posted by Greg Zwahlen

This is the last of three related posts about the possibility of a broad rethinking of what progressive economic policy should look like, informed by For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future, […]

Is Obama modeling a vision of youth engagement via its Xbox campaign ads?

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Guest post by Rafi Santo, via HolyMeatballs.org A couple of weeks back I came across a fascinating post on the blog GamePolitics. It reported that a player of the game Burnout, on Xbox Live, had seen and taken a screen […]

The Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness in Economics

posted by Greg Zwahlen

Following up on last week’s post, I wanted to highlight a chapter in For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future, by economist Herman E. Daly and a philosopher-theologian John B. Cobb Jr., […]

Politics, Economics, and “that which makes life worthwhile”

posted by Greg Zwahlen

I don’t have much of a background in economics, having only taken a few survey courses in grad school, but it always seemed apparent to me that the discipline as a whole makes dubious fundamental and unexamined assumptions about human […]

Back to the Isolation Tank?

posted by Greg Zwahlen

A few years ago I left my office in the Flatiron building at the end of the workday, walked a few blocks down 23rd Street, and arrived at a small apartment where I took off all of my clothes and […]

Schadenfreude

posted by Greg Zwahlen

It can sometimes be hard to discern changes in one’s habits and motivations as a result of dharma practice. One area, however, in which I feel like I’ve observed a clear shift in myself is with regard to schadenfreude, enjoyment […]

What is happiness, anyway?

posted by Greg Zwahlen

This question has increasingly been explored in the fields of economics and psychology over the last few years. I certainly think of it often, particularly if I’m meditating on the first of the four Brahmavih?ras—the wish that all sentient beings […]

. . .and your ass will follow?

posted by Greg Zwahlen

In 1996, when I was nineteen, Parliament-Funkadelic landed the mothership on the mall of the university campus where I lived, just outside of Washington, DC. It was a free show on a warm spring night, open to the general public, […]

A jazz funeral in Brooklyn

posted by Greg Zwahlen

This past Saturday afternoon I was out running in my neighborhood when I passed a New Orleans-style parade and wake. A jazz funeral, that is, something I can’t say I’ve ever seen in Brooklyn before. It quickly became clear to […]

speaking of Beijing . ..

posted by Greg Zwahlen

John Massengale, a prominent architect and sometime colleague of Robert A.M. Stern, has a great recent post about all of the new architecture in Beijing. Many architects have been praising the scale and audacity of both the Beijing building boom […]

The Livable Streets Movement

posted by Greg Zwahlen

In the wake of Eva’s recent post about the relative merits of New York and other progressive cities, it seemed like the right time to highlight a few good things happening locally (and elsewhere). All of the groups highlighted below […]

Proust as dathün?

posted by Greg Zwahlen

This was in the works before Ethan Nichtern’s recent allusion to Proust, but I think it’s an appropriate follow-up. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, dathün is the word for a month-long session of practice in retreat. In the Shambhala community […]

Coney Island is breaking my heart

posted by Greg Zwahlen

In the course of my graduate work in urban planning, I spent a lot of time analyzing Coney Island and working with the City (the Coney Island Development Corporation) on a comprehensive redevelopment plan for it. I enjoyed it greatly—I […]

The provocative world of Williamsburg hipsters

posted by Greg Zwahlen

The Williamsburg Hipster. In Buddhist epistemological terms, it’s an example of a “generally characterized phenomena”—a general concept, in other words. And judging by the reactions it provokes in certain quarters of the blogosphere (and elsewhere), for many people it’s a […]

Book clubs and community

posted by Greg Zwahlen

I’m very much an enthusiast for localism. Lately I’ve been interested in local book clubs, and thanks in large part to meetup.com I’m now juggling no less than three. In theory, at least. All in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, near my home. […]

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More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting One City. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Most Recent Buddhist Story By Beliefnet Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!

posted 2:29:05pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Mixing technology and practice
There were many more good sessions at the Wisdom 2.0 conference this weekend. The intention of the organizers is to post videos. I'll let you know when. Here are some of my notes from a second panel. How do we use modern, social media technologies — such as this blog — to both further o

posted 3:54:40pm May. 02, 2010 | read full post »

Wisdom 2.0
If a zen master were sitting next to the chief technical officer of Twitter, what would they talk about? That sounds like a hypothetical overheared at a bar in San Francisco. But this weekend I saw the very thing at Soren Gordhamer's Wisdom 2.0 conference — named after his book of the same nam

posted 1:43:19pm May. 01, 2010 | read full post »

The Buddha at Work - "All we are is dust in the wind, dude."
"The only true wisdom consists of knowing that you know nothing." - Alex Winter, as Bill S. Preston, Esq. in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure"That's us, dude!" - Keanu Reeves, as Ted "Theodore" LoganWhoa! Excellent! I've had impermanence on my mind recently. I've talked about it her

posted 2:20:00pm Jan. 28, 2010 | read full post »

Sometimes You Find Enlightenment by Punching People in the Face
This week I'm curating a guest post from Jonathan Mead, a friend who inspires by living life on his own terms and sharing what he can with others.  To quote from Jonathan's own site, Illuminated Mind: "The reason for everything: To create a revolution based on authentic action. A social movemen

posted 12:32:23pm Jan. 27, 2010 | read full post »

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