Saturday 12th October, 2013
2:30pm to 4:00pm
Buddhist practices are today being increasingly advocated as life skills that have the power to enhance and even transform our lives: meditation and mindfulness will make us happier and healthier, help us to live longer, more fulfilled lives, to be better husbands, wives, parents, students, teachers, and citizens, to be more effective leaders and managers, to be more successful in business.
Yet much of traditional Buddhist teaching and practice seems intended to challenge and even be subversive of the values and norms we ordinarily live by, the need for success, status, approval, and pleasure. Buddhist teaching and practice are concerned with bringing home to us that the way human beings habitually tend to see the world is distorted and moreover that this distorted perspective on the world is the cause of all our problems: it means we value what is of little value and live our lives in all sorts of inappropriate ways.
The presentation will consider the tension in traditional Buddhist discourse between the suggestion, on the one hand, that true fulfillment and happiness are not to be sought in conventional society but rather by withdrawing from it, and, on the other, that the values and perspectives of the Buddha may nevertheless bring benefits to individuals in their day-to-day lives and to society in general.
Ph.D., Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol
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