A Roundup of Critical Perspectives on Meditation

A guest post by Pierce SalgueroI am not a scholar of Buddhist meditation. My own research has only touched on meditation insofar as it was claimed to have therapeutic benefits in a handful of texts in premodern Asia. But, as a long-time on-again/off-again practitioner myself, I have been following the rise of meditation in American popular consciousness over the past 15 years with interest. More recently, I have also begun following the critiques of meditation that have circulated in … [Read more...]

Buddhist Monastic Life in China (Photos)

In 2009 I traveled to China to experience Chinese Buddhist monastic life and learn about the practice, philosophy, and history unique to Chan Buddhism. That trip was organized mostly for graduate students in Buddhism or Chinese culture/religion/history but the program has since grown in size and scope to look a bit like the one 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 … [Read more...]

The Nature of Reality: Buddhist Scholar Alan Wallace in dialogue with Physicist Sean Carroll

During my undergraduate studies in philosophy at the University of Montana, I took a 'capstone' class on Philosophy of Mind. We started with Descartes, setting out the direction that Western thinkers would take: the problem of mind (immaterial, without spatial relations) and body (material, spatially located) interacting with one another. This is the "mind-body problem" and it vexed Descartes 400 years ago and it vexes those who look deeply into it today.The "problem" is not only in regard … [Read more...]

In the Obituary of a Tibetan Buddhism scholar, some ominous words

The obituary for Elliot Sperling begins as most do, noting the peaks of the man's life: 66 years of vitality, a MacArthur (genius) Fellowship, and a reshaping of our understanding of Sino-Tibetan relations. Of particular note, the obituary's author Tenzin Dorjee, writes: Through his seminal writings on Tibet’s relations with China during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, he became arguably the first historian to extensively use both Chinese and Tibetan sources to bring to light the separation a … [Read more...]

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...]