Angel City Zen Center - Beginners Only Podcast
Dave Cuomo - Empty Innocent Space (Yogacara - The Storehouse Consciousness)

Dave Cuomo - Empty Innocent Space (Yogacara - The Storehouse Consciousness)

July 5, 2021

 

“The storehouse consciousness is the root of everything. If the whole universe is just your experience, then this is what it's born from. It’s the fountain of everything. Also it's empty and doesn't exist, so don't think it's a thing.” - Dave Cuomo

In part 2 of our ongoing Yogacara series, Dave brings us a mildly nerdy and deeply personal look at the Alaya Vijnana, the storehouse consciousness, the pure innocent empty space of possibility that all of reality is born from. Is it really possible to clean our karma and wake up to something new? Does a practice of no self leave room for us to become a better one?? How do we clean our room when the only world we know is a mess??? Find out here!

Brad Warner - After Darkness (The Zen of Living and Dying)

Brad Warner - After Darkness (The Zen of Living and Dying)

June 29, 2021

“Looking at life as I was experiencing it in this moment, moment by moment, I realized that the future is always an abstraction. And I don't know anything about it. Death might be something great for all I know. It might be the most wonderful thing in the world. So to live my life in terror of it makes no sense.

Every thought I have about death is just a thought. And it's one of my thoughts. And really, I'm not a person I would believe about something like that, because what do I know about death?” - Brad Warner

Brad gives us a Zen look at death and dying, including a highly entertaining (if non essential) detailed road map to one version of a Zen after life. Does it help to know where this whole life train is going? Does anyone know where this whole life train is going? Can anyone survive the ride to tell the tale?? Find out here!

Dave Cuomo - The Good Life (Renunciation)

Dave Cuomo - The Good Life (Renunciation)

June 22, 2021

"The world wants me to be happy. I think it needs me to be happy. Because it seems I can make people miserable when I'm not. Which is probably true for all of us..." - Dave Cuomo

Dave takes a look at what Buddhist renunciation means for us 21st century Westerners living lives far removed from the simple forest beggar life Buddha originally recommended. What actually makes us happy and what does it really mean to live "the good life"? Join us as Dave takes us on a journey through the weeds of want with stories of alms offering monkeys, poetry from the first Buddhist nuns, Dogen's monks questioning whether or not this whole monk thing is actually a good idea, Dave's own stories of dumpstered wealth lost and found, and finally Buddha's long lost bossom buddy Epicurus gives us his hot take on what really constitutes a life devoted to pleasure (hint: it's cheaper thank you think).

Brad Warner - When All the Doors Are Closed

Brad Warner - When All the Doors Are Closed

June 15, 2021

"Find to whom this cruel world appears and you will know why it appears so cruel... You are the maker of the world in which you live – you alone can change it, or unmake it." - Nisargadatta Maharaj

 

What can you do when the whole world feels like it's stacked against you? Brad brings us all the kind comforts and hard truths Zen has to offer on this ever timely and (if we're being honest) universally relatable coundrum. Do we secretly want bad things to happen to us? And is there a way to make it all better (or at least not make it any worse...)?? Let's find out...

Dave Cuomo - Buddha’s Baggage (Yogacara pt 1)

Dave Cuomo - Buddha’s Baggage (Yogacara pt 1)

June 8, 2021

“We don't know what the universe is made of at the root. All we know for certain is that the only thing we have to work with is our own experience.

Ultimately I can't blame anybody else for what I go through because I take it all in through my own filter. I only see what I am willing to see, and only do what I want to do on some level. So when they say the world is “mind only” or “experience only,” to me it's about taking responsibility for my own experience in the only place I’m able to turn to.” - Dave Cuomo  

By popular demand, Dave brings us a new series on Yogacara Buddhism, that simpler-then-it-sounds wealth of Buddhist theory that just might have underlined all of the elegant simplicity of Zen. In pt 1 we look into the background and context of the two purported founders of the movement, Asanga & Vasubandhu, and the high stakes (literally life & death!) world of philosophy & debate that shaped the school they created. Is the world really all in your mind? And what do you mean by mind? And can we ever escape our baggage?? Find out here!

Emily Eslami - Triple Treasure, Triple Treat! (The Three Refuges)

Emily Eslami - Triple Treasure, Triple Treat! (The Three Refuges)

June 1, 2021

“Everything reflects triple treasure. You reflect triple treasure, and questioning triple treasure reflects triple treasure. Not understanding what the heck I'm talking about is triple treasure. We're talking about coming home to ourselves, trusting ourselves, relying on ourselves.

And there's that tricky word. Self. What is self? Is it my memories? No. Is it my thoughts? Is it what I'm saying right now? No. Is it the clothes I'm wearing, this body that I’m in? No, not quite. Then what is it? What's left? That's not self, that's what we truly are. “ - Emily Eslami

Emily brings us a precept, a promise, and gift in her latest installment of her ever timely precept series with an in depth look at the three refuges. What are they (everything!), and what are they a refuge from (everything else??)? And what does it mean to take refuge in them? Find out here! 

Dave Cuomo - What Do You Want? (Love & Self Care)

Dave Cuomo - What Do You Want? (Love & Self Care)

May 24, 2021

“If there's a distinction in our minds between self care and doing good for other people, then we're missing the point of everything that we're doing on this planet. ” - Dave Cuomo

Dave brings us a Zen look at love and self care through encounters with the Bodhisattva of Compassion his(or)herself, Avalokiteshvara. Can this magical being really save us from danger and death? Is it compassionate to give people what they want? Does prayer actually work? And does smoking count as self care? Find out here!

Brad Warner - Tell Me Your Thing (Buddha Nature)

Brad Warner - Tell Me Your Thing (Buddha Nature)

May 18, 2021

“Putting a nice label like ‘Buddha Nature’ on it makes you feel a different way towards it. You don't feel like it's something you need to fight against. I don't know how you felt all your life, but all my life I'd felt like circumstances are something I need to fight against, circumstances were always my enemy. And then I meet Nishijima Roshi who said, ‘Just follow circumstances,’ and I'm like, ‘I don't want to follow circumstances, circumstances suck!’ But I was following this teacher who said, ‘Circumstances are you. You are the circumstances.’

So to think of circumstances in a nice way is also to think of yourself in a nice way and not to pit yourself against it. Instead of following the illusion that I'm something apart from the circumstances, I say, okay, I am the circumstances in which I find myself. Then to make the further move of calling it ‘Buddha nature’ is a way of seeing it as something that's not bad and not even indifferent. It's something better than indifferent.” - Brad Warner

Brad Warner brings us deep discussions and choice readings from Kobun Chino and Dogen on Buddha Nature, that elusive concept beyond concepts where everything and everyone is already enlightened just like you. Is it just pretty words? Is it as empty as they say? And/or is there something ultimately there we can count on and connect to? Find out here!

Emily Eslami - The Cheat Sheet of (un)Reality (10th Precept - No Disparaging the Buddha, Dharma, & Sangha)

Emily Eslami - The Cheat Sheet of (un)Reality (10th Precept - No Disparaging the Buddha, Dharma, & Sangha)

May 10, 2021

”To not kill the Buddha when you meet them on the road is abusing the triple treasures. How not to abuse the triple treasures is to accept everything as Buddha, Dharma, & Sangha, and accept yourself as Buddha Dharma and Sangha.” - Emily Eslami

Emily takes on the 10th major precept, no disparaging the Buddha, Dharma, & Sangha. Sounds simple right? But of course this is  Zen so nothing is ever so simple (or maybe way simpler than our brains are equipped for…) Why are we told by the old masters that the only way not to abuse the Buddha is by killing him? Why does this dharma talk tell us that dharma isn’t something that can be learned in teachings? And what does sangha even mean if it means everything and everyone? Find out here!

Brad Warner - The King of Emptiness (Levels in Buddhism)

Brad Warner - The King of Emptiness (Levels in Buddhism)

May 4, 2021

“Whether or not you establish the Bodhi Mind and Nirvana for yourself is unimportant. If anything, they say you shouldn't do that, you should endeavor to save everyone instead.” - Brad Warner

Are there really definable levels of practice that we can achieve, and how would we know if we’ve attained them? Brad gives us a detailed look at early Buddhism’s take on the four stages of practice from stream enterer all the way up to full enlightened arhat, and then turns to Dogen for his take on whether or not those handy labels are applicable to Zen’s freewheeling ways. Also bonus round! Brad gives a sneak peak at a passage from his upcoming book with his own hot take on the controversy. What is "pleasant abiding" or the enticing (if a little disconcerting) sounding "rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal?" And who do we get to brag to when we've attained them? Find out here!

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