The philosopher Kant might have been skeptical of modern Mindfulness

Kant and the Buddha

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...]

Buddhist mindfulness, morality, and Protestant presumptions

Achahn Chuen meditation; on a beach near Traverse City, MI (photo by Brian Ambrozy, flickr C.C.)

In case you've been living under a rock, mindfulness is all the rage these days. Since January I have filed away nearly every story on or popular mention of 'mindfulness' that crossed my path. At current, I'm at 43 links and I'm certain it's just a drop in the bucket of what's out there. I have a lawyer in Florida explaining "Mindfulness: What it is and how it helps" a Cosmopolitan article explaining (above a picture of Jennifer Aniston): Jo Usmar, Cosmo's ex-Sex and the Not So Single Girl, has … [Read more...]

Book Review: “The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender”

The Way of Tenderness Awakening Through Race, Sexuality and Gender- closeup

THIS IS A BOOK THAT CAN TEACH US ALL.These words grace the back cover of The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality and Gender.And Tanya McGinnity of Full Contact Enlightenment put it equally well when she wrote:"This book by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel is essential reading for all Buddhists. Essential."Both statements are absolutely true.As are the several lines of advanced praise in the book's opening pages, from American Buddhist greats including Jan Willis, author … [Read more...]

Studying Philosophy or Religion? Two articles you should read and share today

Religious Studies textbooks

As winter break wraps up and spring semester starts at colleges and universities across the country, more than a few students out there will be reconsidering their choice of majors, or at least dabbling in fun and interesting classes outside their department. While a number of classes may come highly recommended, two courses that really must be taken by any student today are an Introduction to World Religions and an introductory Philosophy course, which come under many names:"World … [Read more...]

Notes on teaching Buddhist philosophy

buddha with plato and aristotle at the academy

I'm teaching Buddhist philosophy in Bodhgaya, India at the moment, so much of my blogging-life is taken up by activities here. In lieu of all of that (I will post on my usual topics now and then) I thought I'd share notes from my teaching.Teaching Buddhist philosophy to American college students from diverse backgrounds (some with extensive philosophy, some with Buddhism, some with a mix or neither) has been a challenge. To start, I wanted to get them thinking as philosophers, inheritors of … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

Buddhism is a Religion: a guest post by Dr. David Brazier, Dharmavidya

dharmavidya

Editor's note: It is a great honour to introduce this essay by Dharmavidya, Dr. David Brazier. As regular readers will know, I am interested in the question of concepts and how they are used in our study of things (or processes?) like Buddhism. When we call Buddhism a "philosophy", what does that mean? Well, what do we mean by "philosophy" and what do we mean by "Buddhism"? I explored the question last fall in Buddhism: religion or philosophy? and returned to some of the central issues in my … [Read more...]


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