Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week four – “What is the *you*, anyway?”

Buddhism and Modern Psychology - week 4

I have slipped a bit further behind this week, I'm afraid, and with some upcoming writing and travel commitments upon me the slide will likely continue. In week four Prof. Wright covered a fair amount of ground in psychology, discussing modular theories of the mind. The modular theory is based on questions about how we make decisions, how variations in our environment might change those decisions, and how we (in both 1st and 3rd person) understand that decision making process. He … [Read more...]

Ethnocentric Buddhism continued…

Rohingya and supporters protest in front of the White House in May, 2013. photo via

Coming just off the heals of the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, we are called ever more clearly to understand conflicts in the world that might lead to such horrors. What is happening in Burma today eerily reflects the ethnic divides and hateful rhetoric that precipitated the murder of over 800,000 Rwandans (primarily ethnic Tutsis) in 1994. In addition to attacks in recent years, this January, mobs of (ethnic Rakhine) Buddhists massacred Rohingya Muslims in the … [Read more...]

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche speaks on Universal Responsibility at Harvard Divinity School

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Earlier this month, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche gave a one-day seminar on the topic of Universal Responsibility to students at Harvard Divinity School. From the video page: In this one night seminar given to students at Harvard University's School of Divinity, Kongtrul Rinpoche explains that not all learning is academic. In fact, the best kind of education shapes our hearts just as much as our minds. Self-reflecting upon experience and coming to see that all beings share the same internal life -- … [Read more...]

Coursera’s Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week three

Buddhism and Modern Psychology - week 3

I'm a bit later than usual posting on week 3 (week 4 lectures have just been posted). Such is life. Part of the reason is that the topic this week was "not-self"(anātman in Sanskrit, anattā in Pāli) in Buddhism and in Modern Psychology, which I am not terribly interested in writing more about at this time. I've written extensively about the topic here, here (on metaphysics),here (comparing with Sartre), and here; along with guest posts at Danny Fisher's blog and (around the topic of … [Read more...]

Tibet’s Self-Immolation Protests Reach Shocking New Levels, a film by Journeyman Pictures

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This recently posted video gives a rare and direct look inside the Tibetan community in exile as their thoughts and lives ebb and flow between India and their homeland. Further reading: The Future of Tibet, a re-post in honor of Tibetan Uprising Day (March 2014) Spanish court rules for Tibetan victims of Chinese genocide (November 2013) … [Read more...]

Harry Dean Stanton on Buddhism, Predestination, Not-self, Einstein, Jung, and Zen

harry dean stanton

I found this today and thought  it was interesting. Nothing too profound. Nothing too new. But interesting as another aspect of Buddhist thought trickling into Western culture. According to Entertainment Weekly, "He is perhaps the greatest character actor alive... A short list of the directors he's worked with includes Alfred Hitchcock, Sam Peckinpah, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, John Carpenter, John Huston, Ridley Scott, David Lynch, and Terry Gilliam. He played a romantic … [Read more...]

Buddhism is a Religion: a guest post by Dr. David Brazier, Dharmavidya

dharmavidya

Editor's note: It is a great honour to introduce this essay by Dharmavidya, Dr. David Brazier. As regular readers will know, I am interested in the question of concepts and how they are used in our study of things (or processes?) like Buddhism. When we call Buddhism a "philosophy", what does that mean? Well, what do we mean by "philosophy" and what do we mean by "Buddhism"? I explored the question last fall in Buddhism: religion or philosophy? and returned to some of the central issues in my … [Read more...]

Macklemore punches Justin Bieber, becomes Buddhist monk

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Ben Haggerty, known by his stage name Macklemore and formerly Professor Macklemore, has announced that he will live out his remaining years as a Thai Theravadin monk. Since 2000, the well known lyrical gangsta has independently released three EPs, two albums, introduced a successful line of designer fur tracksuits, and significantly collaborated with producer and friend Ryan Lewis. Last year he  became engaged to long-time girlfriend, Tricia Davis. All of that is behind him now, as he … [Read more...]

Coursera’s Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week two

Buddhism and Modern Psychology - week 2

It has been a busy week here, with a trip to Cheltenham to lead metta meditation for students in Dave Webster's course on Buddhism and a journey to London to see Professor Ian Harris talk on Buddhism and Politics at Kings College. So I haven't been able to write as detailed a post on week two of the Buddhism and Modern Psychology course as I wrote for week one. This week's lecture looked at "The Buddhist Prescription" - focusing on the 3rd and 4th Noble Truths and meditation in particular. As … [Read more...]

Stephen Batchelor and Ven Brahmali debate in Melbourne 2014 – Pick your winner

still image from the video above

You can now watch this debate between the famous "Secular Buddhist" Stephen Batchelor and Ajahn Brahmali, of the Thai Theravadin tradition from earlier this month. I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts (Jayarava, Mufi, Doug Smith, Ted Meissner - and the whole 'Secular Buddhist' crowd, US and UK - Nathan Thompson, and others who have discussed this intersection of 'the world' / seculum according to Batchelor and Buddhism). As debates go, it was highly collegial. They agree on far … [Read more...]