Justin Whitaker has made a second defence of the Sigālovāda Sutta, and it’s time for another response on my end. As a recap, we are debating the value of the Sigālovāda as a guide to lay Buddhist ethics: I do Continue reading Are we taking up the suttas’ view of household life?
Paul Fuller’s thoughtful and well researched new introduction to Engaged Buddhism cites my Disengaged Buddhism article together with an article I hadn’t heard of before, Victor Temprano’s 2013 “Defining engaged Buddhism” (Buddhist Studies Review 30.2). (Fuller has very kind words Continue reading There are bad Buddhists and false Buddhist claims
I was delighted to see Justin Whitaker responding to my post on the Sigālovāda Sutta – both in a comment and in a separate post of his own. Justin and I first found each other long ago over our shared interest Continue reading Reinterpreting the Sigālovāda’s prohibition on theatre
If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your oxygen mask on first, and then assist the other person. Anyone who has flown on a commercial airline has heard this instruction; anyone who flies frequently Continue reading The Buddhist oxygen mask
The Sigālovāda Sutta might be my least favourite sutta in the Pali Canon. There is relatively little that the Pali texts say on “ethics” in a modern Western sense of interpersonal action-guiding; much of the specific instructions on action are Continue reading The Sigālovāda’s vicious mean
I find myself repeatedly returning to the question I asked earlier this year: “Is the problem in our heads?” That is: for Buddhists, especially classical ones, is the fundamental human problem located in our minds, or in the world? I Continue reading Frustration where mind meets world
This week I continue my response to Patrick O’Donnell’s comments disputing my claim that in classical Indian Buddhism “the causes of suffering are primarily mental”. The discussion last time was abstract and theoretical, but it has practical consequences – which Continue reading The path corrects the mind
A key idea that I’ve stressed from the Disengaged Buddhists is that the causes of suffering are primarily mental – especially the “three poisons” or “unwholesome roots” of craving (rāga), aversion or hostility (dveṣa/dosa) and delusion (moha) – and that Continue reading Is the problem in our heads?
The key goal of my dissertation was to understand Śāntideva’s thought as it was and how it could be applied in a contemporary context. Now, for my book, I want to actually apply Śāntideva’s thought, which requires asking where he Continue reading Rejecting Śāntideva’s ethical revaluation
It is typically the case that more can be said in disagreement than agreement. In the case of Martin Hägglund’s This Life, I think paying attention to those realms of disagreement is particularly helpful, because our deepest disagreements highlight the Continue reading Defending the removal of suffering