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Reviewed by Harmonious Living   
Thursday, 02 November 2006

ZencastIf you're interested in the Buddhist teachings or just in spiritual practise in general then you will enjoy these popular podcasts. The discussion topics vary from life issues such as anger and doubt, to Buddhist teachings such as mindfulness and the four noble truths and also include guided meditations.

There are now over 75 Zencasts available for you to download and again they are all free. Many of the casts are from famous authors such as Ekhart Tolle, and others from regular contributing teachers such as the excellent Gil Fronsdal.

What has really impressed me about these casts is that they are very accessible and you need no prior knowledge or experience of Buddhism to benefit tremendously from them. There is none of the 'this is the Buddhist belief…' that I was expecting but instead everyday issues are covered from a Buddhist perspective. The reason behind this? Well in one of the casts the speaker recalls a story when at a talk he announced that he was going to discuss Enlightenment and then asked if anyone had any questions or concerns that they wanted to raise, they spent the rest of the time talking about Anger. The speaker was pleased with this as he thought it was great that people were concerned with the here and now and the practicalities of life rather than getting caught up in something more idealistic.

One of the aspects that I found difficult to adjust to at first was the pace at which the speakers in these casts deliver their talks. At first I found it very difficult to adjust my mind from being busy typing away on my laptop to then slowing down to focus on the words entering my ears. It took a few minutes but I soon found myself very focussed on what I was listening to, and I guess this is one of the great things about the casts - they slow and still your mind and give you something else to think about.

Many of the casts include songs or tracks of music which also help to settle the mind before the talk, this is a good idea. I was a bit surprised with one of the casts though as the music went on for over twenty minutes - I was starting to think that I had just downloaded some music and was almost disappointed when the talk began. I think it would help if cut down versions of the casts were offered without some of the longer tracks.

The only real drawback with this series of podcasts is the length of them, some of which are more than hour although in general they're about 45minutes. I know these are geared to the American market with their fast download speeds but many of us in South Africa, even those with ADSL, still face bandwidth speeds and limits. My advice to you - download them whilst you're at work, burn them to CD and then listen at home.

I'll leave you with my favourite quote from the casts - "Trust those who seek the truth, but not those who have found it".

Download the podcasts from iTunes or direct from the Zencast website.

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