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Ethan Nichtern
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Ethan Nichtern is a Shastri (senior teacher) in the Shambhala Tradition. He is the author of One City: A Declaration of Interdependence (Wisdom Pubs). He is also the founding director of the Interdependence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to Buddhist-inspired meditation and philosophy, integral activism, mindful arts, and meaningful media. He currently teaches Buddhism at Eugene Lang College of New School University and lectures regularly at Brown, Wesleyan, and New York Universities.

Entries by Ethan Nichtern

Buddhist Thoughts on the Super Bowl

(5) Comments | Posted January 31, 2014 | 6:25 PM

I wonder, as I prepare to host a Super Bowl party with my girlfriend for people who don't really care about the Super Bowl (aka artists and Buddhists), what future sociologists might think about the event. Will they think it was a beautiful celebration of the human drive to achieve...

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A Buddhist Guide To Surviving The Holidays: 4 Practices

(2) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 1:23 PM

Let's face it, sometimes the holidays just... suck. Maybe that's not the most Buddhist way of saying it, but it is how it feels. Even more than in past years, friends and students are reporting feeling stress and foreboding right now. To be honest, I'm feeling a sense of burden...

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The Shambhala Principle: We Made This World, We Can Change It

(1) Comments | Posted May 21, 2013 | 5:15 PM

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has just published his fourth major book, The Shambhala Principle, and I've been lucky enough to spend a good deal of time reading and rereading my now-wrinkled advanced readers' copy over the past few months. I love it. It adds a needed volume...

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All in This Together: Sandy, the Elections and Everything After

(3) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 12:02 PM

Last month, my dear friend, author and generally awesome lady Susan Piver asked me to write something before the U.S. elections about overcoming "Us vs. Them" mentality. She wrote a great, thoughtful post here. If there was ever a collision of events to force a needed discussion of...

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The Meaning of 'Personal Responsibility': A Buddhist Response to Mitt Romney

(59) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 1:36 PM

Former Gov. Mitt Romney was caught on tape at a fundraiser saying that most people who voted for Barack Obama, 47 percent of the country, are "dependent" and he would "never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." Actually, about 53 percent of the country...

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A Meditation for the Fall

(6) Comments | Posted September 9, 2012 | 11:17 AM

I always consider Labor Day and the beginning of September to be a more pragmatic and realistic New Year's occasion than whatever happens in January. In fact, many people who question our Gregorian calendar point to the fact that New Year's in January simply makes no sense, considering the rhythm...

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Being Busy in 2012 -- Two Tricks for Not Getting Overwhelmed

(5) Comments | Posted January 9, 2012 | 3:55 PM

I'm not sure about you, but I have a lot going on. I always have to preface talking about feeling busy by stating that most people I know feel like they have a lot going on, especially in the major cities of America. It is no badge of honor, no...

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An Open Letter From Buddhist And Yoga Teachers In Support Of The Occupy Movement

(48) Comments | Posted November 7, 2011 | 1:47 PM

Editor's note: This letter was co-authored by Ethan Nichtern and Michael Stone.

As teachers and leaders of communities that promote the development of compassion and mindfulness, we are writing to express our solidarity with the Occupy movement now active in more than 1,900 cities worldwide.

We...

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Compassion Is Something You Train In

(2) Comments | Posted October 31, 2011 | 6:58 PM

I wanted to share a fairly simple observation from teaching this week, related to the meditation practices that focus on the development of compassion, such as metta and tonglen. It's interesting that if we see a great athlete or yogi, or just someone in prime physical condition, we have a...

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Mindful Social Networking: Going Online Without Losing Your Mind

(22) Comments | Posted February 3, 2011 | 8:45 AM


The Social Network
is an amazing phenomenon, an amazing opportunity to see the truth of interdependence, that none of our lives occur in an isolated vacuum. Social networking is also, possibly, the most widespread addiction on our planet right now, sucking billions of hours we'll never...

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Radical Buddhism and the Paradox of Acceptance

(359) Comments | Posted August 20, 2010 | 7:41 AM

Critical theorist Slavoj Zizek has an interestingly harsh critique of Western Buddhism and the meditation tools it employs. Framing his critique in Marxist terms, he argues that Buddhism is the perfect spiritual tradition to be co-opted by our self-absorbed, destructive, and consumeristic society. For...

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The Commodification of Yoga: The Perfect, the Good and the Spiritual

(32) Comments | Posted July 30, 2010 | 8:00 AM

The New York Times Magazine reporter Mimi Swarz recently did a major profile on Anusara yoga founder John Friend. They say all press is good press. I hope that's true and my guess is it will be. Beyond Anusara, which receives at least some...

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Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's Utterly Disappointing Worldview

(93) Comments | Posted August 15, 2009 | 8:53 AM

There is a Whole Foods across the street from the Interdependence Project in New York's East Village, the Buddhist-inspired nonprofit organization which I direct. Some nights, after teaching or participating in a class on meditation and Buddhist psychology, or after yoga practice, I head to the Whole Foods on...

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