Ethan Nichtern is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, and the author of The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path. His next book, The Dharma of The Princess Bride will be released in September of 2017. Nichtern is also the author of One City: A Declaration of Interdependence (Wisdom Publications 2007) as well as various poetry and fiction. He is the founder of the Interdependence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to secular Buddhist study as it applies to activism, arts and media projects, and Western psychology.
Wisdom Quotes from The Road Home & One City
“When generalizations turn into painful cultural stereotypes and biases, those biased narratives disrupt our ability to see each event as individual, which interrupts our ability to intelligently and compassionately respond to what’s happening now. In many cases, our generalizations cause real harm, like somebody shooting a person who looks “suspicious” because he fits a racial profile. Generalization is what leads to oppression. Deconstructing our generalizations is the only way to overcome bias. This is where studying emptiness is intended to lead us—toward the cessation of prejudice.”
“Sometimes, the most compassionate thing we can do is say no. Every once in a while, the best way to help another person is to yell at him. This is called an act of wrathful compassion, and it’s why many traditional bodhisattvas are depicted carrying iconographic weaponry in Himalayan art, displaying a force that is not caught up within hatred, but that sets firm boundaries which a confused mind cannot cross.”
“Our personal journey is rarely easy, and our global journey is even less so. Because everything is interdependent, we have to work on both of these levels at once. Trying to change society without deeply understanding our heartmind won’t work. Your own road home can never be separated from society’s journey. We need a unifying theory and language that allow us to link the lessons of our personal journey with the situation facing our world. The important question then, a question laced with a gorgeous irony, is, “How do we get home from here?” Or, maybe more appropriate, “How do we get here from here?”
Book to Hang Out With – The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path by Ethan Nichtern
In The Road Home, Ethan Nichtern, investigates the journey each of us takes to find where we belong. Drawing from contemporary research on meditation and mindfulness and his experience as a Buddhist teacher and practitioner. He reveals how our individual quests for self-awareness ripple forward into relationships, communities, and society at large.
In this wise and witty invitation to Buddhist meditation, Nichtern shows how, in order to create a truly compassionate and enlightened society, we must start with ourselves. And this means beginning by working with our own minds―in whatever state we find them in.
Watch Below: The Mindfulness Movement Can Go Deeper
“Enlightenment is about a completely balanced approach to being a compassionate and mindful person in this world.” – Ethan Nichtern
One concern that Nichtern addresses with the growing popularity of mindfulness is the possibility of “McMindfulness,” or mass-produced mindfulness—where the ethics and core are stripped away as the practice becomes more prevalent.
In this Speakeasy, Nichtern addresses several ways in which we can deepen our mindfulness practices, as well as why it’s important to do so. Two methods he discusses are to become students of ethics and to look at our practices beyond just the personal level.
Photo by Michael Donovan