Buddhists have long quibbled over the inaccuracies in Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, a fictional story about the quest for enlightenment by a man living at the same time as the Buddha. If you want to attempt to spot the discrepancies and get a good night’s sleep, this podcast is for you. Storyteller and freelance radio producer Otis Gray borrows classic books from his local library in rural Vermont (swoon) and reads them in a buttery monotone to help you fall asleep. It works; I haven’t been able to get past Siddhartha crossing the river.
Zen Studies Podcast, “Unethical Buddhist Teachers: Were They Ever Really Enlightened?”
Soto Zen priest Domyo Burk looks at the ethical lapses of esteemed teachers through a central Zen teaching outlining the stages of spiritual development, the Five Ranks. These deeply harmful transgressions are “fourth-rank pitfalls” that teachers on the path to realization bump up against when they try to integrate daily life and spiritual advancement. Domyo is no apologist, and instead uses this text as a way for students to understand why abuse happens so they don’t abandon the path entirely when it happens next.
Manoj Dias, “Lovingkindness on the Go”
In lovingkindness practice, we send kindness to ourselves, then our loved ones, then neutral people, then adversaries, and then to . all beings. Sending metta (lovingkindness) to yourself is always a challenge, even if you have been working at it for years. This short meditation covers a lot of ground in six minutes. Once you’ve grounded yourself in the body, Manoj, co-founder of the A-Space meditation studio in Melbourne, Australia, gives you time to connect with your heartbeat, breath, and a sense of yourself before moving along to metta practice’s traditional phrases.
Vicissitudes, Tully MacKay-Tisbert, free streaming, $9.99 download
If you’re looking for ambient listening but are no fan of the generic—and sometimes bizarre—spiritual station on your preferred streaming service, give Vicissitudes by Tully MacKay-Tisbert a spin. Half the tracks on this album of acoustic instrumentals are named for Buddhist concepts such as dukkha (suffering) and samsara (the round of worldly existence) that inspired the Southern California–based musician and Zen practitioner during the composing process.
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