“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...]

Buddhist Ethics has a good day: on Philosophy, East and West

Almost 3 years ago exactly, 3 AM Magazine interviewed Jay Garfield, one of the best-known Buddhist philosophers in academia today. I wrote about that interview and still look back fondly on the comments and conversations that ensued.So it was with great joy that I saw 3 AM Magazine's latest interview with a Buddhist philosopher: Nicolas Bommarito, who teaches at NYU and the University of Buffalo. It was a great reminder that great thought within the academy is still being devoted to Buddhist … [Read more...]

Letting identity arise unimpeded: Buddhism confronting racism

A guest post by Lama Justin von Bujdoss (Repa Dorje Odzer)On April 22nd the 2nd Race and Buddhism Conference will be held at Harvard Divinity School. This is a unique gathering of academics, dharma teachers and activists meeting to explore how engaged responses to the problems of racism within the dharma world can be developed, as well as how dharma can be a response to heal the pain and suffering that racism creates in a more general sense. On a personal level, this much needed conference … [Read more...]

Universities are facing an “intellectual crisis”

Speaking at the annual conference of the European Universities Association in Galway, Irish President Michael D. Higgins made remarks that should reverberate around the world and through the mouths and policy statements of educators and policy makers everywhere.On the disconnect between policy makers and education today, Higgins said (emphasis added): I suggest that at the present moment in Europe and far beyond it, insofar as policy makers focus attention on education policy, they tend to … [Read more...]


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