introduces an Infographic on Eastern Philosophy

history of eastern philosophy

Hmm... I almost put up scare quotes around 'Eastern Philosophy' - but then I thought I'd just put them up around 'Eastern' - and then just around 'Philosophy' - but perhaps each, separately, needed its own scare quotes. Then again, what exactly is an 'infographic'?Scare quotes and worries about definitions aside (do some research and decide for yourself what these words mean), I was sent this the other day and found it interesting and useful enough to warrant sharing. As an educator I think … [Read more...]

Ajahn Brahm’s Gender Equality in Buddhism petition nears 5000 signatures

ajahn brahm talk on women UNDV

As per a request on twitter, I'm reposting this with the hopes of driving the petition over 5000 (it needs just 239 more as of now): In May, Ajahn Brahm, one of the world's best known Theravadin monks, was scheduled to give a talk on gender equality (and lack thereof) in Buddhism in Vietnam at the annual UN Day of Vesak conference. However, at the last minute his talk was canceled. Here Ajahn Brahm talks about why:Now you can sign a petition, launched today in the UK, asking the UNDV … [Read more...]

Notes on teaching Buddhist philosophy

buddha with plato and aristotle at the academy

I'm teaching Buddhist philosophy in Bodhgaya, India at the moment, so much of my blogging-life is taken up by activities here. In lieu of all of that (I will post on my usual topics now and then) I thought I'd share notes from my teaching.Teaching Buddhist philosophy to American college students from diverse backgrounds (some with extensive philosophy, some with Buddhism, some with a mix or neither) has been a challenge. To start, I wanted to get them thinking as philosophers, inheritors of … [Read more...]

Contentious Tibetan Buddhist deity worship discussed in London panel


In what may have been a first-of-its-kind event, representatives of the International Shugden Community joined academics, a Geluk Buddhist monk, and a former member of the New Kadampa Tradition to discuss the history and current status of Dorje Shugden. Shugden, in short, is a 'protector deity' historically associated with the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism. His supposed power has led to great devotion by a number of esteemed Buddhist teachers, foremost among them Pabongkha Rinpoche, whose … [Read more...]

Vegetarianism and Animals in Early Indian Buddhism

wheel of life - small

In this presentation, University of Toronto graduate student Sean M. Smith discusses the relationship between humans and other animals in the psychological and cosmological teachings of early Buddhism.I knew I would like the talk after the first 30 seconds, when he said: As a philosopher I am not interested in contingent historical details. I'm interested in truth, and I think Buddhist Philosophy, and especially Buddhist Philosophy in its early Indian guise - sometimes called the Theravadin … [Read more...]

That all-too-human urge to understand the heart of things

the jains

As I discussed in a recent post at the Indian Philosophy Blog, there is quite often a divide in approaches taken to the study of religion between what we might broadly call the 'philosophers' and the 'historians'. Philosophers, and I count myself as one of these most days, seek out the meaning of texts, seeing them as doorways into distant lands and into the minds of great thinkers, past and present. We often have to construct meanings through fragmentary and at times conflicting evidence: at o … [Read more...]

More Nazi Buddha space junk

abc_nazi buddha from space

Last month Nicholas Kristof provided a timely test of our religious literacy. It started out: Noah of Arc and his wife, Joan, build a boat to survive a great flood. Moses climbs Mount Cyanide and receives 10 enumerated commandments; for all the differences among religious denominations, the Ten Commandments are a common bedrock that Jews, Catholics and Protestants agree on...After two or three paragraphs, Kristof tells us that there are about 20 mistakes. He uses the test to explain the … [Read more...]

‘Best Article’: Buddhist Ethics and End-of-Life Care – available for free download

journal of social work in end-of-life and palliative care

I am often asked "why study Buddhist ethics?" Sometimes people are simply curious, others actively oppose the very notion. The curious ones are wonderful to speak with. For you, the curious, I'm happy to share this article, which is free for all to download. The value of studies in Buddhist ethics, including those of my supervisor, Damien Keown, and Peter Harvey among others, becomes clear as one grapples with guidelines for real-world decisions. I'm also chuffed to bits (as they say here - it … [Read more...]