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 Tripiṭaka, and the theoretical and historical origins of the dhamma.

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Doug Smith's Latest Posts

Sam Harris Talks Spirituality

| December 18, 2014 | 2 Comments
Sam Harris Talks Spirituality

Sam Harris’s new book Waking Up has a lot to recommend it. Harris is a gifted writer, always clear and engaging, who never seems to talk down to the reader. This is not an easy task when dealing with abstruse topics. Harris picks out salient examples and tells interesting stories that continually bring his points to […]

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Sati and Sociopolitics: Throwing the Buddha Out with the Bathwater?

| December 15, 2014 | 4 Comments
Sati and Sociopolitics: Throwing the Buddha Out with the Bathwater?

With Anderson Cooper’s enthusiastic endorsement on 60 Minutes last night, mindfulness practice is well into the mainstream. Cooper’s segment included interviews with mindfulness gurus Jon Kabat-Zinn and Chade-Meng Tan, Google employee with the job title “Jolly Good Fellow”. As the movement has grown, there has been pushback. Some has focused on the scientific claims, but […]

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Brahmali and Batchelor Debate

| April 8, 2014 | 7 Comments
Brahmali and Batchelor Debate

In my last post I looked at a talk given by Ajahn Brahmali on Secular Buddhism. Recently the Melbourne Insight Meditation Group released a debate that Brahmali had with Steven Batchelor on the same topic, which once again revolved around the central issue of rebirth. It raises interesting questions worthy of a follow-up post. (As in my […]

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Ajahn Brahmali on Secular Buddhism

| February 21, 2014 | 16 Comments
Ajahn Brahmali on Secular Buddhism

Ajahn Brahmali of Bodhinyana Monastery gave a talk on February 7, 2014 about Secular Buddhism. Brahmali is smart and well-spoken, and he represents a saṅgha that is at the liberal end of Theravadin monastic saṅghas (for example, they were instrumental in the ordaining of bhikkhunis, as against their more traditional Thai counterparts), so spending some time […]

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On Self and Self-Control

| December 12, 2013 | 8 Comments
On Self and Self-Control

The Shorter Discourse to Saccaka (Cūḷasaccaka Sutta, Majjhima Nikāya 35) contains one of the most incisive discussions of anatta or not-self in the Buddhist Canon. However, it is also one of the most thorny to unpack, since the argument it presents is far from clear. The sutta centers around a debate between the Buddha and […]

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Aiming at Nonproliferation

| October 25, 2013 | 4 Comments
Aiming at Nonproliferation

A White House staff member was recently fired for “a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments” in his Twitter feed, including snarky criticisms of several of his colleagues and superiors. Somehow the news is all too ordinary. It’s hard to venture anywhere on the internet without encountering nastiness. Discussions devolve into arguments, arguments into feuds, […]

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Regarding “Superhuman States”

| September 27, 2013 | 12 Comments
Regarding “Superhuman States”

Sometimes, although not nearly as often as in later traditions, it seems as though the Buddha of the Nikāyas is a kind of superman. What do I mean? In a few passages it’s as though he did not consider himself entirely human. Some of this has to do with notions that the Buddha and his dhamma […]

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