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Russell McCutcheon shares his views on the academic study of religion, and the path ahead for religion graduates and the field itself. McCutcheon is a professor of religious studies at the University of Alabama and a contributor to the Religious Studies Project podcast. Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford…
 
The Tattvasaṃgraha of Śāntarakṣita: Selected Metaphysical Chapters (Oxford University Press, 2022) collects excerpts from a massive encyclopedic work of the late period of Buddhism in India. Translator Charles Goodman has selected sections of this Sanskrit text which cover debates over the existence of prime matter, God, and an immaterial soul, as …
 
In this episode, Pierce Salguero comes on to discuss two of his books: Buddhish, A Guide to the 20 Most Important Buddhist Ideas for the Curious and Skeptical (Beacon Press, 2022) and A Global History of Buddhism and Medicine (Columbia UP, 2022). Pierce is a transdisciplinary scholar of health humanities, fascinated by historical and contemporary i…
 
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Pierce Salguero about his beginnings as a scholar of Buddhism and medicine, his time studying traditional Thai medicine, what counts as Buddhist medicine, and why Buddhism and medicine have always been intertwined. He shares recent work with students documenting the thriving and diverse Buddhist medicine cultures …
 
Does human existence have a meaning? If so, is that meaning found in the world outside of us, or is it something we bring to our experience? In Cross-Cultural Existentialism: On the Meaning of Life in Asian and Western Thought (Bloomsbury, 2020) Leah Kalmanson shows how East Asian philosophies challenge the dichotomy implicit in the way this questi…
 
What would an “anti-field history” of Buddhist Studies look like? What does the social history of knowledge look like when it both includes and exceeds the West/Nonwest binary, the ethnonational subject, the secular humanist gaze, and the moral narratives and metaphysical content of modernism? Matt W. King explores these critical questions and mode…
 
Constance Kassor is an assistant professor of religious studies at Lawrence University, where she teaches courses on Buddhist thought and Asian religious traditions. Her research focuses on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, and she is currently involved in several projects related to the Madhyamaka philosophy of the 15th-century thinker, Gorampa Sonam S…
 
Born to a powerful family and educated at the prominent Mindröling Monastery, the Tibetan Buddhist nun and teacher Mingyur Peldrön (1699–1769) leveraged her privileged status and overcame significant adversity, including exile during a civil war, to play a central role in the reconstruction of her religious community. In The Tibetan Nun Mingyur Pel…
 
(Barre Center for Buddhist Studies) For practicing and non-practicing Jews (and allies) alike, Yom Kippur presents an invitation and a challenge. On the one hand, it is very widely observed -- often with family -- and invites a kind of introspection familiar to lovers of the Dharma. On the other hand, Yom Kippur can be profoundly alienating in its …
 
Welcome to the new season of the Imperfect Buddha Podcast. After a well-earned and challenging summer filled with drought, war, political strife and ridiculous heat, we’re back in the saddle and raring to go with some intellectual stimulation aimed at the practicing life. Four episodes are lined up with Buddhist scholars, philosophers and practitio…
 
From the fourteenth through the nineteenth centuries Japanese monks created hundreds of maps to construct and locate their place in a Buddhist world. Expansively illustrated with multiple maps and illustrations, The Japanese Buddhist World Map: Religious Vision and the Cartographic Imagination (University of Hawai’i Press, 2021) by D. Max Moerman i…
 
Since the early days of Buddhism in China, monastics and laity alike have expressed a profound concern with the past. In voluminous historical works, they attempted to determine as precisely as possible the dates of events in the Buddha's life, seeking to iron out discrepancies in varying accounts and pinpoint when he delivered which sermons. Buddh…
 
Andrea Miller is an editor at Lion’s Roar magazine and is the author of Awakening My Heart: Essays, Articles and Interviews on the Buddhist Life, out now from Pottersfield Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/buddhist-studies…
 
Often represented as a tradition of ancient origins, Shugendō has retained a quality of mystery and nostalgia in the public imagination and scholars as the “original” champions of mountain asceticism. In his monograph, A Path Into the Mountains: Shugendō and Mount Togakushi (U Hawaii Press, 2022), Caleb Carter challenges this conceptualization by e…
 
Rachel Quist specializes in East Asian Buddhist imagery with focuses in pre-modern Japan and China. Her research centers on questions of interaction with imagery, materiality and object agency, and the accessibility of image-based practices. She has written on topics such as Buddhist reliquary design and expressivity, the didactic project underlyin…
 
(Barre Center for Buddhist Studies) As the First Noble Truth, the Buddha pointed to dukkha: some experiences are painful; enjoyable experiences are impermanent; and all phenomena lack an enduring essence. Dukkha is routinely (mis)translated as “suffering” or “unsatisfactoriness” - but these are not inherent in it! The Buddha’s liberating teaching i…
 
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Rebecca Bloom about her beginnings as a scholar and curator of Himalayan Buddhist art history, the meaning of "art" in a Buddhist context, and why she thinks studying art history is valuable for people interested in Buddhism. She also gives a behind-the-scenes look at how museum curators organize exhibitions, and …
 
How does our faith affect how we think about and respond to climate change? Climate Politics and the Power of Religion (Indiana University Press, 2022) is an edited collection that explores the diverse ways that religion shapes climate politics at the local, national, and international levels. Drawing on case studies from across the globe, it stand…
 
Lama Palden Drolma is a western teacher trained by Tibetan Buddhist masters. She the founder of Sukhasiddhi Foundation. She is a licensed psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, coach, and has studied Buddhism in the Himalayas with some of the preeminent Tibetan masters of the 20th century. She was authorized to become one of the first western lamas by…
 
What is the evolutionary purpose of religion, and are some individuals more inclined than others to be religious? Our species diverged from the great apes six to eight million years ago. Since then, our propensity toward spiritual thinking and ritual emerged. How, when, and why did this occur, and how did the earliest, informal shamanic practices e…
 
In an historic event, the second Buddha himself Nagarjuna returns from the dead to team up with Jacques Derrida, non-Buddha, perhaps, to take on emptiness. They clash with identity politics. Bump into Jordan Peterson and the misses, and go for a coffee with John Gray. What you say? All of that in a single episode! Yes, dear listener. All of that in…
 
Ben Connelly is a Minneapolis-based Soto Zen teacher in the Katagiri-lineage. He offers a wide variety of secular mindfulness trainings, including for police departments, corporate settings, correctional facilities, and addiction recovery groups. He teaches at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and is the author of Inside the Grass Hut, Inside Vas…
 
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Stephen Jenkins about his beginnings as a scholar of Buddhism, his research on the place of compassion in Buddhism, and how he thinks this fundamental idea has been overlooked in many contemporary discussions of Buddhism. Plus, we discuss the relation between compassion and wisdom, the role of imagination in Buddh…
 
In the West, Zen Buddhism has a reputation for paradoxes that defy logic. In particular, the Buddhist concept of nonduality -- the realization that everything in the universe forms a single, integrated whole -- is especially difficult to grasp. In The Other Side of Nothing: The Zen Ethics of Time, Space, and Being (New World Library, 2022), Zen tea…
 
Mark Siderits’ How Things Are: An Introduction to Buddhist Metaphysics (Oxford University Press, 2022) is a wide-ranging survey of how Buddhist philosophers think about the nature of the world. The book takes readers through topics such as the well-known claim that there is no self, in addition to issues involved in causation, consciousness, and th…
 
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