Posts Tagged ‘Pali canon’

Do We Need Pāli?

Pāli is the language of many of the oldest Buddhist discourses. Do we need to know Pāli to know about or practice early Buddhism? We’ll consider that question with reference to a new book out by eminent Pāli scholar Richard Gombrich, as well as a look at a couple of early texts from the Buddha…

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8/26 Practice Circle: Getting Out of Default Mode

I have tended to give concentration practice short shrift. To me, devotion to intense concentration – jhana practice, long sesshins, and the like – seemed like spiritual calisthenics, meditation for its own sake, another skill to attach the ego to. Coming out of the vipassana-influenced MBSR tradition, I thought the tangible benefits of exploring the…

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What is the Middle Way in Early Buddhism?

What is the Buddhist Middle Way? We’ll take a look at early Buddhism in particular, and some of the material found in suttas of the Pāli Canon. There we’ll see there are a few related approaches to this topic, some immediate and down-to-earth, others more conceptual and philosophical. Suttas mentioned: Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11) Cūḷadukkhakkhanda…

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How Compassion Became Empathy

Buddhist compassion practice changed radically over the first few centuries following the Buddha’s passing. One way it changed is outlined in a paper by Buddhist scholar Anālayo: compassion practice became more of a practice of empathy. This development coincided with a number of other interesting changes in Buddhist belief and practice that we will outline…

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Listen to the Suttas! – Audio Recordings of English Translations of the Pali Canon Suttas

Listen to the Suttas! Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtTMiZHe8419vKGsORMb1ow/videos   Example Video: The Sammaditthi Sutta (The Discourse on Right View, MN 9)   For those who have difficulty with written text (or Pali), there are few quality, widely-available audio recordings of English language translations of the Pali Canon Suttas. Our own Community Director, Jennifer Hawkins, who developed…

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Buddhist Compassion Meditation: a Brief History

Buddhist compassion meditation practices changed dramatically during the millennium from the Buddha’s lifetime to the lifetimes of some of his most famous commentators. Using a paper by the gifted scholar Anālayo as a guide, we will look at the earliest recorded compassion practices and at practices found in works by the later philosophers and commentators…

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Buddha and Jesus on Wealth

Both the Buddha and Jesus viewed wealth as problematic in various respects, but their approaches differed in important ways due to their historical backgrounds and outlooks. We’ll consider both the views of the historical Jesus as well as those of the Buddha in order to compare and contrast their approaches. Suttas mentioned: Utilization (AN 5.41)…

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The Buddha and Free Will

What might the Buddha have thought about free will? To answer that question we’ll look at the history of the concept in Western philosophy, and then consider how it applies to early Buddhism. We will find that the Buddha would have accepted a couple of related senses of the phrase. Suttas mentioned: The Characteristic of…

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Was the Buddha a Philosopher?

The Buddha had some very interesting things to say, but was he a philosopher? Justin Whitaker and I recently wrote a paper on this topic, which I’ll discuss here. Justin’s great blog, American Buddhist Perspectives Ted’s podcast with Justin and me: Reading the Buddha as a Philosopher Check out my new Patreon page!

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The Buddha's Surprising Advice to Converts

When folks converted from competing religions or philosophies to the Buddha’s dhamma, he had a couple of pieces of advice that might surprise some of us. We will look at that advice and some lessons we can take away from them for today’s world. Suttas mentioned: Upāli Sutta (MN 56.16-17) Sīha Sutta (AN 8.12) (Dāna)…

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