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Magic Mushrooms and the Buddha Dharma

You meet all kinds of people on the road.  Some of them are clearly running from something; a past trauma or an action they regret. Others are clearly looking for something; a tribe of like-minded people or a safe place to call home. This results in a strange mix of people ending up in strange places and sharing their lives for any where from a few weeks to a few months.   You part ways knowing that you'll never see each other again despite your endless promises to keep in touch.  But you always remember the people you meet on the road, and your life is usually better for having met them. Case in point, I met a guy named "Fred" when I was farming in Indiana who'd lived an insanely cool life.  He did corporate America for a while, and decided it wasn't for him.  So, he high-tailed it to Vietnam and taught English for several years before deciding that he wanted to become a shaman.  After that, he made his way to Brazil where he wandered fo

3 Universal Truths that Buddha Taught

Philosophers have wrestled with the concept of universal truth for centuries. But no one has been able to figure out exactly what it is, or even if it truly exists. In fact, the existentialist philosopher, Nietzsche famously threw up his hands and stated, " God is dead ," while contemplating the question. Of course, he wasn't claiming that a literal super natural deity had died. Rather, he was expressing the fact that human conceptual thought around things like happiness, goodness, truth, etc. is inherently flawed. As a result, universal truth as represented by God cannot exist. In Nietzsche's view, the best we can hope for is to live as individuals, constantly striving against one another to impose our will to power upon the world. The Buddhist view, however, is different. While Buddha would agree that humanity's conceptual view of the world is limited, he observed three experiences that all living beings share. These are often referre

Happiness and Suffering on a Buddhist Homestead

Suffering is an inescapable part of life. The sutras tell us that every person has a nature to be born, to grow old, to get sick, and to die. On top of that, we lose the things we want. And we gain the things we don't want.  The landscape of human life is bleak. One way to deal with suffering is to run from it. We run towards pleasure, we run away from pain. And in the midst of all that running, we ignore the sling and arrows of life that are nipping at our heels.  We know they'll catch us eventually, but we keep running anyway. In Buddhism, we take a different approach. We stand still. We wait for suffering to catch us. And when the time is right, we reach out, we grab it with both hands, and we hold our suffering close. We embrace it as a friend. As Buddhists, we do this not because we enjoy suffering; far from it.  We're just sick of running all the time. When we do this, when we look deep into the eyes of our guilt and our despair, something shifts. And we find happines