Doug Smith

Doug Smith

Doug has a PhD in Philosophy, with a minor in Buddhist philosophy and Sanskrit. In 2013 he completed the year-long Integrated Study and Practice Program with the BCBS and NYIMC. A long time scientific skeptic, he pursues a naturalized approach to practice. He is also interested in scholarship about the Tipiṭaka, and the theoretical and historical origins of the dhamma.

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Doug Smith's Latest Posts

Now is Strange

| June 7, 2016 | 3 Comments
Now is Strange

Now is strange. We only experience things in the present. Our access to past and future is through reconstruction and prediction. So much of our lives is spent in our heads, living in thinly disguised fictions of time gone and time to come. This seems obvious, and at the same time it seems so surprising. And yet […]

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On Some Criticisms of Modern Mindfulness

| May 16, 2016 | 8 Comments
On Some Criticisms of Modern Mindfulness

Is the contemporary mindfulness movement a kind of “fad” that misconstrues the essential message of the Buddha? Pieces by Edwin Ng and Ron Purser (2016a, 2016b) and Stephen Schettini (2014), not to mention the earlier “McMindfulness” critique by Purser and Loy (2013) argue that this is so. Ng and Loy take an overtly “anti-capitalist stance” in their […]

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Thinking and Feeling, Critically

| April 25, 2016 | 13 Comments
Thinking and Feeling, Critically

We are deep into the political season. Looking at the Trump phenomenon, an article by Phil Torres in Salon bemoans the “anti-intellectualism that runs through the roots of American culture.” Torres notes that, “[T]he most dangerous consequence of Fox News is that it discourages that most important form of rigorous curiosity called critical thinking.” Critical thinking, […]

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Skepticism, Atheism, and the Good Life

| April 11, 2016 | 16 Comments
Skepticism, Atheism, and the Good Life

Where do we find the good life? The ancient Greeks, our earliest philosophical forebears in the West, thought the highest aim of reason was to answer just this kind of question. Nowadays we often think of reason as allied to the twin aims of (1) scientific skepticism, that is, following the results of consensus science as […]

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“Buddha vs. Faust”: Responding to Ronald Lindsay

| February 29, 2016 | 8 Comments
“Buddha vs. Faust”: Responding to Ronald Lindsay

Ron Lindsay’s recent blog post “On the Pursuit of Meditation: Buddha vs. Faust” begins as a mild critique of Sam Harris’s recent book Waking Up, and then segues into a skeptical review of meditation. Lindsay is President of the secularist/skeptic Center for Inquiry.* Although I dealt with many relevant topics at some length in my review of […]

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Lovingkindness Now and in the Past

| January 26, 2016 | 12 Comments
Lovingkindness Now and in the Past

In contrast to the dominant role that mettā (lovingkindness) and the other Brahmavihāras (compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity) play in contemporary Buddhist practice, they seem to have played a relatively minor role in the earliest tradition. One looks in vain for much elaboration on mettā’s dhammic role; largely it seems to have been seen as […]

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On Materialist Disenchantment

| December 16, 2015 | 20 Comments
On Materialist Disenchantment

In Buddhism there are two main unskillful approaches we may have towards the world: greed and aversion. Most contemporary dhamma discussions tend to revolve around mitigating aversion. To do that, we practice mettā, the other Brahmavihāras, and learn to accept and embrace the world with kindness and compassion, just as it is. So for example […]

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