Some time ago, a listener asked us to talk about the Seven Masters and we dutifully responded with an episode on Nagarjuna. We thought we might take a stab at the other Masters, but this post quickly veers off topic — but the diversion is well worth a listen! The conversation begins with a discussion of how the various Shin Seven Masters are common to a lot of other Buddhist schools suggesting a common denominator or point of contact for intra-Buddhist dialogue. But we acknowledge that each school interprets these great Buddhist teachers in its own way thus highlighting the differences. This leads to a conversation about language and the tendency among some to reduce the whole of the Buddhist tradition down to an easy essentialism and the dangers (as well as potential benefits) of this type of behavior. Be sure to listen to part two in a couple of weeks for the continuation of this conversation.