King’s College London – Buddhist Studies Research Seminars

King’s College London Buddhist Studies Research Seminars (2016-17) Room VWB 3.01 at 5.00pm Theology and Religious Studies Virginia Woolf Building 22 Kingsway, London WC2B 6NR Friday 14 Oct 2016Tristram Riley-Smith (University of Cambridge)Buddhist God-Makers and their Gods: An Anthropology of ArtAbstract Tristram Riley-Smith is Director of Research in Politics & International Studies, and Associate Fellow at the Centre for Science & Policy, at Cambridge. He studied Soc … [Read more...]

Humans and Bonobos: Violence and a Thyroid Hormone

Following on something I mentioned in my last post, that the American people (all societies, really) are growing in morality, there is a new study supporting this presupposition that is worth examining. There I pointed back to a 2012 post featuring the work of Steven Pinker, who has influenced me greatly in this matter. In the recent study, published in the journal Nature and reported by the AP: As a group, mammals average a lethal violence rate against their own of about three killings of t … [Read more...]

“Our Buddhist University and the Role of Intellectualism in our Studies” a Call for Papers

The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Universities (IABS), based in Bangkok, has issued a call for papers today examining the role of intellectualism in Buddhist studies. The key questions posed for the upcoming edition of the journal are: In your Buddhist University or Buddhist Studies Program, what is the role of intellectualism within your program? How is intellectualism promoted or prohibited? Some professors promote critical thinking skills within their studies, some … [Read more...]

“Health” in the Buddhism and Science Dialogue

Guest post by Kin Cheung In the current dialogue between Buddhist traditions and the sciences—an engagement dominated by Tibetan and Zen Buddhists on one side and psychologists and neuroscientists on the other—the subject of health is featured prominently. However, despite the shared term, participants aren’t actually talking about the same thing.Early proponents of the Buddhism-science dialogue, like Paul Ekman, Richard Davidson, Matthieu Ricard, and Alan Wallace, have focused on the theme … [Read more...]

Zen Buddhist teacher Dogen: “The Greatest Philosopher You’ve Never Heard Of”

Writing for NPR today, Adam Frank introduces us to Eihei Dōgen. Dōgen was a thirteenth century Japanese Buddhist thinker and founder of Sōtō Zen. And Frank is an astrophysicist teaching at the University of Rochester. Why would a 21st century astrophysicist be praising a long-dead Japanese guy as a "philosopher"?As Frank writes, "it doesn't do much good imagining that Europe cornered the market on creative thinking about being human." He, like me, my friend Amod Lele, and a lot of other fol … [Read more...]

On Modern Mindfulness, Buddhism, and Social Ethics

There is much about mindfulness being published these days: studies, meta-studies, mega-studies, maha-megha-studies (bad Buddhist studies joke). And then there are the opinion pieces; "We're all doomed. Mindfulness? Humph!"As I mentioned in my introduction to Doug Smith's recent article here, what we are seeing is the growth of a discussion, a dialogue. And as with many early discussions with disparate parties, it can sound a bit "noisy", and sometimes well-meaning people who are quite close … [Read more...]

Getting Buddhist Philosophy (and other non-Western thought) into the academy

Last Wednesday, Jay Garfield (who I wrote about in 2013) and Bryan Van Norden published an op-ed in the NYTimes calling for the renaming of university "Philosophy" departments to something like "Western or Anglo-American philosophy departments" so long as they refuse or fail to incorporate philosophy from outside of the Western world (or even a particularly circumscribed section of the Western world). They write: Given the importance of non-European traditions in both the history of world … [Read more...]

Your Summer in a Chinese Buddhist Monastery – Woodenfish HBMLP in China

In 2009 I traveled to China to experience Chinese Buddhist monastic life and learn about the practice, philosophy, and history unique to Chan/Zen Buddhism. Back then, it was focused mostly on graduate students in Buddhism or Chinese culture/religion/history but it has since grown in size and scope to look a bit like the program that was then run separately at Fo Guang Shan monastery in southern Taiwan.My experience with the 2009 program was so positive that I applied for and participated in t … [Read more...]