The nerds nerd out about nerdy things! Specifically, a couple of Buddhist Studies scholars (nerds) discuss (nerd out) what it means to be a Buddhist Studies scholar (nerdy things). It’s our third and final conversation with the brilliant Dr. Natalie Quli in a conversation that meanders through the academic construction and boundary maintenance of Buddhism-as-religion,… Continue reading Buddhist Studies Scholarship, with special quest Natalie Fisk Quli
It’s our second episode with our special guest, Dr. Natalie Fisk Quli. We’re continuing our conversation about authenticity, this time around beginning with a conversation about merit, merit accumulation and transference, in the Mahayana and Theravada traditions. This gets us going into other weird and cool places like economic models for karma, the declining age… Continue reading Merit practices, with special guest Natalie Fisk Quli
One more episode recorded in October before the election but on a topic that will most certainly continue to be of importance in the year ahead – race, racism, and American Buddhism. This one's a bit heavy, wherein we discuss the problems of discussing race in public discourse and the social and legal construction of… Continue reading Race
One of the issues that came up in our last conversation was the idea of "original enlightenment," or the idea that from an enlightened point of view, everything's equal. Today we take up some of the consequences of this view; do we use this idea as a way to minimize, dismiss, or disregard the experiences… Continue reading Social Justice, part two
Is the BCA silent on issues of social justice? For many, it might seem like there's no Shin Buddhist public voice in the American discourse on Buddhism and social justice. We've been asked several times about this, so today is part one of a larger conversation about Shin Buddhism and social justice. We start by… Continue reading Social justice, part one
In prepping for our last episode on how to do Shin Buddhist practice, we started thinking about why people do practice and the question of motivations. The conversation starts with a reflection on a conference paper Scott heard early in the summer about Buddhism, the self-help industry, and BCA's "Zen envy" (hat tip to James… Continue reading Why do Shin Buddhist practice?
"Won't somebody please think of the children!" This week we take up the tension in Buddhism between the ideal of monasticism, the renunciant, the solo practitioner who goes off in search of awakening versus the reality of home life, laity, and family. Our conversation is inspired, in part, by a post last fall over on… Continue reading Renunciation and Family
A listener wrote in to ask about the problem of attrition in the Buddhist Churches of America (or Jodo Shinshu more generally) and suggested a few possible doctrinal reasons for declining membership including Shinran's seemingly anti-institutional and anti-ritualistic understandings of Buddhism. Harry and Scott tackle these questions starting with the assumption that membership is declining.… Continue reading Listener question: challenges facing the BCA