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...]

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

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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...]

Mary Midgely, a Philosopher you should know

Moral philosopher Mary Midgley at home in Newcastle. Photographed for the Observer by Gary Calton

She studied philosophy at Oxford and rubbed shoulders with greats like Philippa Foot, Iris Murdoch, Elizabeth Anscombe and Mary Warnock, writes books on a wide variety of contemporary moral issues, has as good a wit and charm as any, a penchant for gratitude, and at least at one time, a Buddhist practice. But you probably have never heard of Mary Midgely.That should change.Thanks to the Guardian, you can learn a great deal from a recent interview covering her life and recent work, … [Read more...]

Translating Meditation in Popular American Media

Time_Mindfulness-2-covers

* A guest-post by C. Pierce Salguero.TIME magazine’s 2 Feb 2014 cover (above, left) announces the arrival of the “Mindful Revolution.” The publication joins a flurry of recent examples confirming that a shift is taking place in the representation of meditation in American popular media. This is not the first time that meditation has been featured by TIME—a strikingly similar cover was published on 4 Aug 2003 (above, right). Compared to the 2014 cover, the earlier one is transitional. The pho … [Read more...]

R.I.P. David Kalupahana, a giant in the field of Buddhist Philosophy

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The Colombo Page, a Sri Lankan online newspaper, has reported that the great writer and professor of Buddhist philosophy, David J. Kalupahana, passed away January 15 in Honolulu, Hawai'i.*Kalupahana retired in 2000 as professor of philosophy at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, a department internationally recognized for its East-West philosophical focus. He earlier served as the Chairman of the Department of Philosophy.His works on Buddhist Philosophy and Buddhist Ethics were … [Read more...]

Nineteenth Joint Postgraduate Conference on Religion and Theology

Nineteenth Joint Postgraduate Conference on Religion and Theology: Spiritual Exercises

This year I am helping in the organization of the University of Bristol's postgraduate conference on religion and theology. Please help spread the word and if you are in the UK or can make it here in March, please submit an abstract.The deadline for abstracts is soon - just 6 days away now - so don't delay!Call for papers and panels7-8 March 2014, Bristol 19th Joint Postgraduate Conference on Religion and Theology SPIRITUAL EXERCISESKeynote speaker: Professor Rupert … [Read more...]

An American Buddhist Life: Reviewed

Subtitled "Memoirs of a Modern Dharma Pioneer," Charles Prebish's latest book is a tour de force of American Buddhist studies. While I give it 5 of 5 stars, it won't be a book for everyone. As memoirs go, it is excellent: comprehensive, revealing, honest, and straightforward. But unless you're in one of the relatively small fields of American Buddhist Studies or Buddhist Ethics, Charles Prebish might be little more than a curiosity to you.But, if you're like me, and immensely interested in … [Read more...]


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