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

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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Batchelor’s “After Buddhism”: A Review

| December 8, 2015 | 8 Comments
Batchelor’s “After Buddhism”: A Review

With After Buddhism, Stephen Batchelor continues his project of cultivating a secular dhamma. Batchelor’s book is structured as an exegesis of the Pāli Canon, focusing almost exclusively on this early material to reconstruct what might be termed a secular Buddha. This is a Buddha who followed a kind of Pyrrhonian skepticism about truth, who declined […]

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At Cātumā: the Fallibility of Human Perfection

| November 19, 2015 | 7 Comments
At Cātumā: the Fallibility of Human Perfection

What is the aim of practice? Following right effort, it is to emphasize the skillful and deemphasize the unskillful in thought and action. So we aim in meditation to become more directly aware of the real character of our minds, and particularly our motivations. In so doing we begin to see how the pain that […]

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Nationalism and Engaged Buddhism

| October 26, 2015 | 4 Comments
Nationalism and Engaged Buddhism

Walpola Rahula’s What the Buddha Taught was one of my first, formative introductions to the dhamma, and it remains one of my favorites. So it was with some interest that I ran across a copy of an earlier volume by Rahula, The Heritage of the Bhikkhu, at a library sale last summer. In this book, Rahula […]

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A Few Words on Bodhi and Batchelor

| July 8, 2015 | 63 Comments
A Few Words on Bodhi and Batchelor

I would like to have more time to respond to Bhikkhu Bodhi’s recent piece on Secular Buddhism over at Secular Buddhism New Zealand, “Facing the Great Divide”, as well as to Stephen Batchelor’s lengthy response in the comments. Unfortunately time is short so I will be necessarily brief. Bhikkhu Bodhi Bodhi’s essay is something of an […]

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On the Skillfulness of Refined Taste

| June 15, 2015 | 0 Comments
On the Skillfulness of Refined Taste

On the first day of a course in wine appreciation I was presented with two samples and asked to describe their aromas. They both smelled like wine. There was nothing else I could say about them. I remember thinking that that would change, and that by the end of the course I would be able to […]

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