Why is Evan Thompson not a Buddhist? (1)

Recently Evan Thompson released a book with the provocative title Why I Am Not A Buddhist. The book is an interesting constructive exploration that draws heavily on Thompson’s long background in the mind sciences as well as a deep engagement Continue reading Why is Evan Thompson not a Buddhist? (1)

Does the kammatic/nibbanic distinction fit the facts?

How helpful is Melford Spiro’s kammatic/nibbanic distinction in describing Buddhism? It can be tempting to line it up too closely with other dichotomies – to say that kammatic Buddhism is practised by householders and nibbanic Buddhism by monks, for example. Damien Continue reading Does the kammatic/nibbanic distinction fit the facts?

Words are arrows piercing lotus leaves

I recently received a thoughtful email from Satyanarayana Hegde, who is a Civil Attorney by profession and characterizes himself as an autodidact interested in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Persian and Urdu languages and literary cultures who ccasionally perpetrates random acts of Continue reading Words are arrows piercing lotus leaves

Learning from Gārgī’s Silence

“Thereupon, Gārgī Vācaknavī fell silent.” (Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 3.6) I’m currently teaching a class called “Ancient Women Philosophers: India and Greece,” which is interesting for many reasons. I’ll get to some of those reasons in another post. In this post I want Continue reading Learning from Gārgī’s Silence

A Buddhism very different than the one we think we know

Weterners who have studied Buddhist philosophy and ethics, even when we have done so at length, are often thrown for a loop when we read the Mahāvaṃsa. This text – one of the most historically oriented texts in premodern South Continue reading A Buddhism very different than the one we think we know

McMindfulness and Engaged Buddhism: the twin innovations

Ron Purser’s critique of McMindfulness is in line with William Edelglass’s critique of the “happiness turn” in Western Buddhism. Purser and Edelglass are both right to note that something new, less traditional, is going on in modern mindfulness. For there Continue reading McMindfulness and Engaged Buddhism: the twin innovations

South Asian philosophy on twitter — and how to persuade your colleagues that there is philosophy in South Asia

You might have noticed it already (since I am well-known for being a late adapter), but there are now several scholars of South Asian philosophy on twitter, such as “our” Malcolm Keating, Amod Lele and Ethan Mills, as well as Continue reading South Asian philosophy on twitter — and how to persuade your colleagues that there is philosophy in South Asia