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. As 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

Pain and Proliferation

| April 14, 2015 | 9 Comments
Pain and Proliferation

The Buddha’s gradual path to awakening begins with generosity and ethical behavior. These calm and gladden the mind, taking it away from states of possessiveness or regret. However when it comes to gaining the wisdom essential to right view, the Buddha tells us in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta that there is something which “is to be […]

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On Conventional and Ultimate Truth

| March 12, 2015 | 15 Comments
On Conventional and Ultimate Truth

One of the most famous Buddhist tropes is the distinction between “conventional truth” and “ultimate truth”. While these terms never appear in the Nikāyas, and so cannot be traced back to the Buddha himself, they do trace to the abhidhamma period, perhaps as a potential explanation for the copious and problematic use of “self” talk […]

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Escaping Dispute

| March 5, 2015 | 7 Comments
Escaping Dispute

The Gratification of Dispute How often do you engage in disputes over your views and opinions? Dispute and argument are an integral part of many secular philosophies, maybe even their most prized practice. Science itself functions around the adversarial methods of dispute, debate, and peer review. The difference between “natural philosophy” and what we consider the science of today […]

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Self and Social Status

| February 24, 2015 | 0 Comments
Self and Social Status

When we introduce ourselves to someone new, they will ask us who we are. It’s a hard question to answer. In a nutshell it’s a question about self identity. There are various culturally formed habits we fall into when answering. I have family in Spain, where asking your name is is not entirely innocent. There they […]

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Early Roots of the Four Noble Truths?

| February 9, 2015 | 5 Comments
Early Roots of the Four Noble Truths?

The triad of gratification, danger, and escape is one of the Buddha’s most incisive contemplations for investigating everyday experience. In his book on the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, Anālayo says that “each of these insights can be considered a particular aspect of [the Buddha’s] comprehensive realization” of the dhamma. (p. 106n57). The Buddha applies the formula quite literally […]

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Bāhiya’s Training on Mental Obsession

| February 3, 2015 | 28 Comments
Bāhiya’s Training on Mental Obsession

The Buddha’s succinct, cryptic teaching of the dhamma to the bark-cloth wearing ascetic Bāhiya is one of the most famous in the early Canon. Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only […]

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The Buddha and Blasphemy

| January 27, 2015 | 11 Comments
The Buddha and Blasphemy

With the recent tragedy at Charlie Hebdo blasphemous satire is in the news, and many ask if it should be allowed. There are many different degrees of “allow”, and most discussions on the matter, particularly the more virulent, trade off of these different degrees. First there is the plain issue of legality: should the state allow satire? […]

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