ROADSIGNS: On the Spiritual Path — Living at the Heart of Paradox ~ Philip Goldberg

An indispensable book for anyone on a spiritual path, whether within a mainstream tradition or a journey of one’s own. The book recognizes that everyone’s path is unique, and that while the road is filled with glory and bliss, it also contains ambiguous turns and contradictory directions as well as roadblocks, dead-ends and potholes. Based upon 3 decades of personal experience and years of research, this book provides the road signs every soul searcher needs. It leads to the best kind of guidance you can have: your own answers based on your own reflection and your own unique needs.

Philip Goldberg – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Philip Goldberg has been studying India’s spiritual traditions for more than forty years, as both a practitioner and an author. After teaching Transcendental Meditation in early 1970s, he became a professional writer and has written or co-written 19 books, including The Intuitive Edge, Making Peace With God, Roadsigns on the Spiritual Path and his most recent work, American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West. The book was greeted by enthusiastic reviews from journalists and experts in the field.

He is also published novelist and a member of both the Writers Guild of America and the Authors Guild. His blogs appear regularly on the Huffington Post, Elephant Journal and other sites.

An ordained interfaith minister and spiritual counselor as well, Phil was the founding director of the Forge Guild of Spiritual Leaders and recently created Spiritual Wellness and Healing Associates (SWAHA) in Los Angeles, with his wife, acupuncturist Lori Deutsch.

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Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine by Eric Weiner

When a health scare puts him in the hospital, Eric Weiner-an agnostic by default-finds himself tangling with an unexpected question, posed to him by a well-meaning nurse. “Have you found your God yet?” The thought of it nags him, and prods him-and ultimately launches him on a far-flung journey to do just that.

Weiner, a longtime “spiritual voyeur” and inveterate traveler, realizes that while he has been privy to a wide range of religious practices, he’s never seriously considered these concepts in his own life. Face to face with his own mortality, and spurred on by the question of what spiritual principles to impart to his young daughter, he decides to correct this omission, undertaking a worldwide exploration of religions and hoping to come, if he can, to a personal understanding of the divine.

The journey that results is rich in insight, humor, and heart. Willing to do anything to better understand faith, and to find the god or gods that speak to him, he travels to Nepal, where he meditates with Tibetan lamas and a guy named Wayne. He sojourns to Turkey, where he whirls (not so well, as it turns out) with Sufi dervishes. He heads to China, where he attempts to unblock his chi; to Israel, where he studies Kabbalah, sans Madonna; and to Las Vegas, where he has a close encounter with Raelians (followers of the world’s largest UFO-based religion).

At each stop along the way, Weiner tackles our most pressing spiritual questions:

> Where do we come from?
> What happens when we die?
> How should we live our lives?
> Where do all the missing socks go?

With his trademark wit and warmth, he leaves no stone unturned. At a time when more Americans than ever are choosing a new faith, and when spiritual questions loom large in the modern age, MAN SEEKS GOD presents a perspective on religion that is sure to delight, inspire, and entertain.

FOR as long as he can remember Eric Weiner wanted to be a foreign correspondent. So he could hardly believe his good fortune when, one day in 1993, NPR dispatched him to India as the network’s first full-time correspondent in that country. Weiner spent two of the best years of his life based in New Delhi, covering everything from an outbreak of bubonic plague to India’s economic reforms, before moving on to other postings in Jerusalem and Tokyo.

Over the past decade, he’s reported from more than 30 countries, most of them profoundly unhappy. He traveled to Iraq several times during the reign of Saddam Hussein. He was in Afghanistan in 2001, when the Taliban regime fell.

He’s also served as a correspondent for NPR in New York, Miami and Washin..

Eric Weiner, author of Man Seeks God, talks about his “Flirtations with the Divine”


Eric Weiner, author of the New York Times Bestselling book THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS, discusses the genesis of his latest work, MAN SEEKS GOD.

Dalai Lama Taps Nicholas Vreeland, American Buddhist, To Bridge East And West At Rato Monastery In Southern India

The Dalai Lama has given Nicholas Vreeland (pictured here), director of The Tibet Center in New York, a daunting new assignment. On July 6, Vreeland will be enthroned as the new abbot of Rato Monastery in southern India, one of the most important monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism. He will be the first Westerner to hold such a position. RNS photo courtesy Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

NEW YORK (RNS) The Dalai Lama has given Nicholas Vreeland, director of The Tibet Center in New York, a daunting new assignment. On July 6, Vreeland will be enthroned as the new abbot of Rato Monastery in southern India, one of the most important monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism. He will be the first Westerner to hold such a position.

In making the appointment, the Dalai Lama told Vreeland, “Your special duty (is) to bridge Tibetan tradition and (the) Western world.”

“His Holiness wishes to bring Western ideas into the Tibetan Buddhist monastic system, and that comes from his recognition that it is essential … that there be new air brought into these institutions,” Vreeland told the PBS program “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.”

For many observers, the choice of an American for the role may be a surprising one, and perhaps even more surprising given the background of this particular American.

Vreeland had a privileged upbringing — the son of a U.S. diplomat and the grandson of Diana Vreeland, the legendary editor of Vogue magazine during the 1960s. When he first encountered Tibetan Buddhism in his 20s, he was working as a photographer in some of the industry’s top studios.

“What is it about Tibetan Buddhism that interested me? I think that it’s this very linear, very carefully organized, path to enlightenment that I liked,” Vreeland said.

Vreeland sees a linear progression in his own path into Buddhism. He was born in Switzerland and also lived in Germany and Morocco before his family returned to New York. They were Episcopalians and sent 13-year-old Nicky to a boys’ boarding school in Massachusetts. He was miserable there, until he discovered photography.

“I don’t know what it was about it that caught me. I really don’t know, but it caught me,” he said.

Vreeland had a good relationship with his famous grandmother. “I went to NYU to study film, and at that time initially lived with her and became very close. She was a wonderful, enthusiastic friend,” he said.

She opened the door for him to work with prominent photographers Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. In 1977, Avedon’s son John introduced Vreeland to Khyongla Rato Rinpoche, founder of The Tibet Center. Under Rinpoche’s supervision, Vreeland began learning about Tibetan Buddhism.

In 1979, he went to work on a photography assignment in India. Because of his growing interest in Tibetan Buddhism, he included a stop in Dharamsala, the headquarters-in-exile of the Dalai Lama. Vreeland received permission to photograph the Tibetan leader, and the two men chatted as Vreeland packed up his equipment.

“I had been so moved by the way in which the Tibetan people had helped me … during my time in Dharamsala, and I asked His Holiness what I could do in return. And he said, “Study,” Vreeland recalled.

Vreeland took that advice to heart, and with the help of his teacher, explored the Tibetan Buddhist concept that logic can lead to developing compassion and attaining enlightenment.

In 1985, Vreeland decided to become a Buddhist monk. His grandmother was not happy about it.

“She was not a big proponent of following a spiritual life,” he said, adding that she eventually came to accept his decision.

Vreeland pursued his monastic studies at Rato monastery, the monastery he will now lead. Rato was established in Tibet in the late 14th century to preserve Buddhist teachings on logic and debate. After the Dalai Lama fled China in 1959, Rato was re-established in India.

When Vreeland arrived in 1985, there were 27 monks. Today, there are about 100 between the ages of 6 and 90. The monastery undertook a massive construction project, which was largely funded through the sale of Vreeland’s photographs. He raised $400,000 with a special series of photos documenting life in and around the monastery.

As abbot of Rato, Vreeland will have administrative and spiritual responsibility for the monastery and its monks. He’ll also interact with abbots of the other Tibetan monasteries — and that’s where the Dalai Lama has instructed him to help incorporate more Western ideas.

“These institutions, if they aren’t contemporary, won’t have any relevance. Now, of course one has to be very careful. If you go too far, you dilute what they do possess and you’ve lost everything,” Vreeland said.

Vreeland will divide his time between India and New York, where he’ll continue as director of The Tibet Center, which helps promote Tibetan Buddhism in the West.

He admits he is not yet sure how he will be that bridge between East and West: “I am a human being, I’m a Buddhist monk, I am a Westerner, and how I will bring what I believe in? I think it’s by just living my life.”

(A version of this story was first broadcast on the PBS program “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.”)

Watch Here Buddhist Abbot Nicholas Vreeland

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