100 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Buddhism about their New Books

New Books in Buddhist Studies Marshall Poe

    • Buddhism
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Interviews with Scholars of Buddhism about their New Books

    Courtney Bruntz and Brooke Schedneck, "Buddhist Tourism in Asia" (U Hawaii Press, 2020)

    Courtney Bruntz and Brooke Schedneck, "Buddhist Tourism in Asia" (U Hawaii Press, 2020)

    This edited volume is the first book-length study of Buddhist tourism in contemporary Asia in the English language. Featuring chapters from diverse contributors from religious studies, anthropology, and art history, Buddhist Tourism in Asia (University of Hawaii Press, 2020) explores themes of Buddhist imaginaries, place-making, secularization, and commodification in three parts. The first part, Buddhist Imaginaries and Place-Making features four interesting chapters on how Buddhism is marketed and promoted to domestic and international tourists, as well as how these imaginaries “sediments” over time. The chapters in Part II, Secularizing the Sacred, reveal interestingly that Buddhist tourism tends to create alliances with secular forces as strategies to promote their traditions and sacred sites. Part III of the volume shifts to discussions of commodification in Buddhism and its consequences. Here, contributors show that commodification is not necessarily at odds with Buddhism nor is it a new phenomenon. Covering a wide range of Buddhist sites across Asia and their multi-layered participants in Buddhist tourism, this book uses the unique lens of tourism to offer fresh perspectives on Buddhist spaces, identities, and practices.
    Courtney Bruntz is Assistant Professor, Philosophy & Religious Studies, at Doane University
    Brooke Schedneck is Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, at Rhodes College
    Daigengna Duoer is a PhD student at the Religious Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara. Her dissertation researches on transnational and transregional Buddhist networks connecting twentieth-century Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, Republican China, Tibet, and the Japanese Empire.
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    Geoffrey C. Goble, "Chinese Esoteric Buddhism: Amoghavajra, the Ruling Elite, and the Emergence of a Tradition" (Columbia UP, 2019)

    Geoffrey C. Goble, "Chinese Esoteric Buddhism: Amoghavajra, the Ruling Elite, and the Emergence of a Tradition" (Columbia UP, 2019)

    In his recent book, Chinese Esoteric Buddhism: Amoghavajra, the Ruling Elite, and the Emergence of a Tradition (Columbia University Press, 2019), Geoffrey Goble examines the emergence and early history of esoteric Buddhism in China. In contrast to earlier scholarship, Goble contends that it was really Amoghavajra (rather than the two patriarchs preceding him in the lineage) who systematized esoteric Buddhism into a somewhat internally coherent collection of texts and practices. Goble looks at why the Tang-period elite found Amoghavajra’s system so attractive (which was in part due to esoteric Buddhism’s military applications). He also explores the way in which esoteric Buddhism managed to neatly fit into a larger system that Goble calls imperial religion, and examines the reasons why there was some confusion after Amoghavajra’s death as to whether or not his teachings constituted a distinct tradition. This book delves into political, military, and intellectual history to give us an account of the period that will be fascinating for anyone interested in Tang-period Buddhism, and for anyone interested more broadly in the relationships between religious traditions and elite patronage systems. I hope that you enjoy the interview.
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    • 1 hr 10 min
    Michal Pagis, "Inward: Vipassana Meditation and the Embodiment of the Self" (U Chicago Press, 2019)

    Michal Pagis, "Inward: Vipassana Meditation and the Embodiment of the Self" (U Chicago Press, 2019)

    There is a strong interest today in turning inward to explore the mind and body. Mindfulness meditation exemplifies this trend, and has become increasingly well-known and widely practiced. In Inward: Vipassana Meditation and the Embodiment of the Self (University of Chicago Press, 2019), Michal Pagis, who lectures in sociology at Bar-Ilan university, explores in depth one school of mindfulness, or vipassana, founded by the Indian teacher S.N. Goenka and now established in countries around the world. Pagis draws on her own meditation experience and on in-depth interviews with vipassana meditators in both Israel and the United States. She explores the communities that form when people go on silent meditation retreats, the impact of focusing on bodily sensations over the course of an intensive retreat, and the ways that retreat practice affect practitioners and those close to them.
    Jack Petranker is the Director of the Center for Creative Inquiry and the Mangalam Research Center in Berkeley, CA. He presents programs in Full Presence Mindfulness, an approach grounded in the teachings of Tibetan lama Tarthang Tulku.
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Jack Meng-Tat Chia, "Monks in Motion: Buddhism and Modernity Across the South China Sea" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Jack Meng-Tat Chia, "Monks in Motion: Buddhism and Modernity Across the South China Sea" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Monks in Motion: Buddhism and Modernity Across the South China Sea (Oxford University Press 2020) is the first monograph in the English language to explore the transnationally connected history of modern Buddhist communities in China and Southeast Asia. Dr. Chia introduces the idea of “South China Sea Buddhism,” which allows Buddhist studies to move away from the “China-centered perspective” when studying overseas Chinese Buddhism. This maritime perspective of looking at Buddhism in transregional and transnational networks also invites scholars to rethink “Southeast Asian Buddhism,” which is often associated with Theravāda Buddhist majority on the mainland. Drawing on multilingual research conducted in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, Dr. Chia traces the movements of three Buddhists active in the South China Sea in the twentieth century. Through the stories of Chuk Mor, Yen Pei, and Ashin Jinarakkhita, Monks in Motion discusses how modern Buddhists negotiated and constructed cultural and religious identities in the South China Sea.
    Daigengna Duoer is a PhD student at the Religious Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara. Her dissertation researches on transnational and transregional Buddhist networks connecting twentieth-century Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, Republican China, Tibet, and the Japanese Empire.
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    • 1 hr 9 min
    Pilar Jennings, "To Heal a Wounded Heart: The Transformative Power of Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Action" (Shambala, 2017)

    Pilar Jennings, "To Heal a Wounded Heart: The Transformative Power of Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Action" (Shambala, 2017)

    Early on in her clinical practice, psychoanalyst Pilar Jennings was presented with a particularly difficult case: a six-year-old girl who, traumatized by loss, had stopped speaking. Challenged by the limitations of her training to respond effectively to the isolating effect of childhood trauma, Jennings takes the unconventional path of inviting her friend Lama Pema--a kindly Tibetan Buddhist monk who experienced his own life-shaping trauma at a very young age--into their sessions. In the warm therapeutic space they create, the young girl slowly begins to heal. The result is a fascinating case study of the intersection of Western psychology and Buddhist teachings. Pilar's To Heal a Wounded Heart: The Transformative Power of Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Action (Shambala, 2017) is for therapists, parents, Buddhists, or any of us who hold out the hope that even the deepest childhood wounds can be the portal to our capacity to love and be loved.
    Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He is a Fulbright scholar and was a visiting professor of Religion at Northwestern University, the Shalom Hartman Institute and Harvard Divinity School. His books are Sexuality and the Body in New Religious Zionist Discourse (English/Hebrew and The Male Body in Jewish Lithuanian Ultra-Orthodoxy (Hebrew). He can be reached at: Yakir1212englander@gmail.com
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    • 56 min
    Caroline Starkey, "Women in British Buddhism: Commitment, Connection, Community" (Routledge, 2019)

    Caroline Starkey, "Women in British Buddhism: Commitment, Connection, Community" (Routledge, 2019)

    Based on detailed ethnographic research, this book explores the varied experiences of women who have converted to Buddhism in contemporary Britain and analyses the implications of their experiences for understanding the translation and transference of Buddhist practices temporally and geographically.
    Caroline Starkey's Women in British Buddhism: Commitment, Connection, Community (Routledge, 2019) examines how women initially engage with Buddhist groups, their perspectives on religious discipline, and their relationships to ideas of gender equality and feminism. Whilst the recent study of Buddhism outside Asia has tended to emphasize the transnational and the global, this book de-centres this, highlighting the significance of locality and immediate community in contemporary women's faith practices. Showcasing the narratives and life stories of 25 ordained women across seven different Buddhist groups connected to Britain, the research in this book challenges uncritical assumptions made about 'Western' women who engage with Buddhist practices, and provides a new framing of contemporary ordination through a detailed and holistic examination of a group of Buddhist practitioners that have received little focused attention.
    The first multi-tradition study of ordained Buddhist women in Britain, this book will be of interest to academics working in the fields of Buddhist studies, religious studies, gender studies, Asian studies and the sociology of religion.
    Olivia Porter is a PhD candidate at Kings College London. Her research focuses on Tai Theravada Buddhism in Myanmar and its borders. She can be contacted at: olivia.c.porter@kcl.ac.uk
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    • 1 hr 9 min

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