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...]

Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week five, looking at meditation

Prof. Wright speaks with Joseph Goldstein about self, thoughts, and meditation.

Following the trend from the last couple weeks, I'm once again behind on notes (in fact week six has come and gone too). So I apologize to anyone who has followed along with the videos and these posts; but perhaps this can serve as a welcome reminder.Speaking of reminders, last week (week four) we looked at some modular theories of the mind, which seem to be in vogue in modern psychology circles, and how they may affirm the central Buddhist tenet of not-self. In week three we looked into the … [Read more...]

LSE Conference on the Decades of State-sponsored Destruction of Myanmar’s Rohingya – live tweets and video (UPDATED)

maung zarni LSE 2014

Perhaps the greatest human rights tragedy of our time is unfolding now in Burma (Myanmar). A number of conferences have been convened over the last couple years to discuss various aspects of the violence there and today we are lucky enough to have global access to one of these conferences, held at the London School of Economics.While academic writers such as myself, Danny Fisher, Paul Fuller and others have consistently written about events in Burma and discussions around them, wide-spread … [Read more...]

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

dzigar_kongtrul_rinpoche

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...]


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