Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Buddhism for the times

My other Fall semester class, a first year seminar, covers some familiar territory and some new. It's called "Buddhist Modernism" and promises to explore the ways in which our time may be one of significant innovation among Buddhists - and not just "western Buddhists." One of our key texts will be the wonderful anthology Figures of Buddhist Modernity in Asia, which explodes the idea - not too far beneath the surface of many a western Buddhist innovator - that Asian Buddhism is hidebound and out of date. The "figures" profiled have revived, repositioned and reimagined local and transnational Buddhisms in fascinating ways within the contexts of Asian societies working out their own modernities.

The figure rather cheesily depicted above (pic from here) isn't in the book but he might be in my class: an old friend, who even once taught a course at Lang, now director of a path-breaking center marrying Buddhism and group therapy in Seoul, and the author of best-selling books in Korea and, increasingly, internationally. I hope he can Skype in!

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