Inquiring Mind —In This Issue

Spring 2010 (Vol. 26 #2)

If, as the Buddha says, clinging is the cause of suffering, then addiction, the worst kind of clinging, is a theme particularly suited to a Buddhist journal. With a rash of books connecting mindfulness with recovery, as well as an international Buddhist organization, the Buddhist Recovery Network, focused on this work, it’s a good time for Inquiring Mind to devote its pages to the question of addiction.

We look at working with clinging on a broad continuum. Articles range from Martine Batchelor on letting go of troubling habits using mindfulness techniques to Vince Cullen on treating junkies at a Thai Monastery with purgative herbs and a lifetime vow. I offer a Buddhist approach to the Twelve Steps, while Noah Levine suggests a new/old model for recovery, the Four Noble Truths. 

In a deep Dharma reflection, Santikaro asks if we are addicted to “self,” while George Johns lightens things up with a story of a newly recovered alcoholic trying to white-knuckle it through a vipassana retreat. With explorations of how to work with clinging to food, sex, and tech toys, we get down to issues that touch many of us every day.  Don Lattin‘s interview with Buddhist teachers on the 5th Precept on not using intoxicants shows how challenging these questions are even for the “experts.”

We bring issues to the forefront that aren‘t often discussed in the serenity of Dharma halls, but which affect almost every one of us, either personally or through a family member or friend. There are no easy answers, as we discovered, but there are a lot of committed people trying to find ways to end the suffering caused by addiction. May this issue support that work.

—Kevin Griffin, Guest Editor


Let Go
Learn how to break some bad habits with author and teacher Martine Batchelor. Meditation can help, unless, of course, your bad habit is to avoid the hard work of sitting on the cushion.

Twelve Step Dharma
The metaphor of “path” is central to the Dharma and also to the Twelve Step process of recovery. A leader in the mindful recovery movement, Kevin Griffin tells us how these two healing paths converge.

Alone Behind Enemy Lines
Only three months into sobriety, George Johns, a self-proclaimed “Jedi Knight of unmindfulness,” survives his first vipassana retreat.

The Four Truths of Recovery
Dharma Punx founder Noah Levine leaves a “God” concept aside as he proposes a new recovery model based on Buddhist teachings.

Six Teachers on the Fifth Precept
Journalist Don Lattin questions prominent Dharma teachers—some of them veterans of the psychedelic era—about the precept on refraining from the use of intoxicants.

Selfaholics Anonymous
Teacher, translator and former monk Santikaro shares his steps for staying clean from the ultimate addiction—the one that’s got us all hooked. 

The Pleasure Circuit
Scientist Kathleen Lustyk untangles the brain’s biochemical response to substance use and presents encouraging findings on meditation and mindfulness.

Cold Turkey in a Hot Climate
Tham Krabok monastery’s notorious herbal medicine is only part of this unique Buddhist detox program, reports Vince Cullen; the rest requires a commitment to a new life.

Know Your Hunger
You can learn to eat even brownies with awareness through Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT). Psychology researcher Jean Kristeller teaches people how to create a new relationship to food.

Compulsion: Sex & Love Addiction
Former Buddhist nun Paldrom Collins now counsels sex addicts.

iPhones, iPads, MySpace—the names themselves should alert us to the focus of our new technologies. Tech expert Soren Gordhamer, author of Wisdom 2.0, examines the impact of our new toys and so-called social networks.

Flying into the Dark
Barbara Gates turns to the fierce wisdom of the owl and the compassion of Quan Âm as guides and protectors in facing tragedy.

Wisely Reflecting
Eminent scholar Bhikkhu Bodhi reminds us of the practice of reflection, a skillful means often left out of contemporary Buddhist teaching.

Practice: Interrupting Your Karmic Flow
 Zen teacher Judith Ragir compares the Twelve Step inventory process and the Tibetan “Four Rs” practice for cleaning up our bad habits.

The Dharma & The Drama
Wes Nisker unearths some gems as he excavates his Dharma notebooks—from the “Golly-G” gratitude game to the meaning of our existence.