Princeton’s Robert Wright talks meditation, ethics, and awakening with Daniel Ingram

Readers here will recall Robert Wright from a series of lectures he gave two years ago via Coursera on Psychology and Buddhism:Week one: 1st and 2nd Noble Truths two: 3rd and 4th Noble Truths three: non-self four: what is the "you"? five: meditationThat course, while pitched to a wide audience, introduced and explored a number of key Buddhist philosophical and practical points with laudable clarity and insight. Now Robert Wright is continuing what he uncovered in that series … [Read more...]

Shantideva: Buddhism and the delight of solitude

I've just completed teaching the Bodhicaryāvatāra (Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life) for the third time in my academic life, which probably makes this the 6th or 7th time I've been through the text. Some of it is finally, maybe, starting to sink in.Vesna and Alan Wallace, whose translation I borrow from below, tell us that it, "has been the most widely read, cited, and practiced text in the whole of the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist tradition" and that it is widely cited in the works of the cu … [Read more...]

Robert Thurman talks “Buddhist Ethics” at Google

In an entertaining and thoughtful talk, Columbia University's Robert Thurman discussed Buddhist ethics at Google late last week. The talk is excellent for both situating Buddhist ethics in the context of the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-fold Path as well as engaging with aspects of Western philosophy and current ways of thinking. The talk revolves around a visual aid, The 10-fold Path of Skillful and unskillful evolutionary (karmic) action*:Kill Save … [Read more...]

Compassion beyond boundaries: little girl asks why animals must be chopped up

Two years ago, 5-year-old Luiz Antonio stole the hearts of many around the world when he refused to eat meat, telling his laughing/weeping mother (translated from Portuguese), "When we eat animals, they die. Why? ... I don't like that they die... These animals ... you gotta take care of them ... and not eat them."And now, another child, this time from Ireland, will melt your heart with her tear-filled explanation to her father, "I don't like what people eat, animals. I just don't want them t … [Read more...]

Buddhism and Modernity: Conversations at the Edge, all three panels [Video]

Today the Mangalam Research Center posted video of a post-conference seminar following the June 3-7 Mindfulness & Compassion conference at San Francisco State University. The topic, "Buddhism and Modernity: Conversations at the Edge," drew a variety of responses from top academics in Buddhist studies and philosophy, psychologists, practitioners, and others. Below are the videos with brief notes and impressions. Panel 1: Buddhist Philosophy and the perennial concerns of Western p … [Read more...]

Understanding Buddhist-Muslim relations in Burma (Myanmar)

This post is part of the Interfaith Ramadan: Shared Vision of Inclusion & Co-Existence series, cross-posted there at Interfaith Ramadan here. As our series host Sara Ager writes: Ramadan is a time when Muslim communities traditionally come together – to fast, to pray, to reflect, and to encourage one another. In that spirit, the Interfaith Ramadan blog series aims to extend that sense of community to people of all faiths and none. The series provides an inclusive platform where people from a … [Read more...]

The philosopher Kant might have been skeptical of modern Mindfulness

One of the great joys of doing philosophy is drawing the great minds of the past into contemporary conversations. As we do this we attempt to step outside ourselves, in a sense, to broaden our perspective. As a student of the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), I have also been amazed by the ways in which his ideas have been brought into contemporary conversations over the past 200 years. Kant Scholarship Scholarship on Kant has taken an exciting turn over the last decade or … [Read more...]

All Good Intentions: But does Sam Harris have what it takes to be Buddhist?

A guest post by Marek Sullivan:The recent email scuffle between linguistics professor and political commentator Noam Chomsky, and atheist neuroscientist Sam Harris has brought to light the severity of Harris’s emphasis on intention as the ultimate moral parameter in questions of military ethics. According to Harris, “Ethically speaking, intention is (nearly) the whole story.” This is how he can claim that Bill Clinton and Osama Bin Laden live “in a different moral universe entirely,” or elsew … [Read more...]