In-depth explorations into the field of Buddhist Studies. Featuring candid conversations and interviews with scholars of Buddhism across the disciplines of Religious Studies, Indology, Art History, South Asian Studies, Anthropology, and more. Hosted by Dr. Kate Hartmann.
9. Daniel Cozort | Should Buddhists Care About Climate Change?
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Daniel Cozort about his path to Buddhist Studies, research on Buddhist philosophy, and adventures in Buddhist ethics. We discuss the question of whether and how Buddhists might address contemporary issues like climate change. Are these topics that Buddhists should be concerned about? How have Buddhists in the past approached issues of environmentalism? Does the Buddha himself say anything about the environment? What resources in the Buddhist tradition can help address these problems, and what work remains to be done? We also preview his upcoming online course, BSO 107 | Buddhism and Climate Change, which addresses all of these issues at greater length.
Daniel Cozort is Professor Emeritus of Religion at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He retired from Dickinson College in June 2021, having taught for 37 years in many areas, but specializing in Tibetan Buddhism.
A native of North Dakota, Dr. Cozort graduated from Brown University, where he focused on Christian theology and ethics but encountered Buddhism through the Providence Zen Center. At the University of Virginia, as a student of Dr. Jeffrey Hopkins, he began his study with Tibetan lamas. He did a year of fieldwork in India, traveling broadly and staying in Tibetan monasteries.
In his teaching career, he created over forty courses, but he also curated art exhibits, directed study abroad programs in South India and in England, and made a film about sand mandalas. He is the author of six books, including Highest Yoga Tantra, Buddhist Philosophy, and Unique Tenets of the Middle Way Consequence School, as well as book chapters and articles. For thirteen years, he was the Editor of the Journal of Buddhist Ethics. His most recent book is the Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics (2018), and he recently published an article in Lion’s Roar titled “Ten Years After My Accident”. He is currently compiling a new sourcebook for courses on Buddhism and climate change.
BSO 107 | Buddhism and Climate ChangeFaculty Page Highest Yoga Tantra, by Daniel CozortBuddhist Philosophy by Daniel CozortUnique Tenets of The Middle Way Consequence School by Daniel CozortJournal of Buddhist Ethics (open access academic journal) Green Buddhism by Stephanie KazaDharma Rain by Stephanie KazaInterview with Frans de Waal"Principles and Poetry, Places and Stories: The Resources of Buddhist Ecology" by Don Swearer
8. Aleix Ruiz-Falqués | Studying Pali, the Language of the Earliest Buddhist Canon
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Aleix Ruiz-Falqués about his beginnings as a scholar of Pali, his research into Pali grammar, and how reading Buddhist texts in original languages can help us appreciate them in a new way. We discuss common questions about Pali, such as: what are the differences between Pali and Sanskrit? Did the Buddha speak Pali? Why study Pali? We also preview his upcoming online course, PALI 101 | Elementary Pali, which will explore these issues in more depth!
Dr. Aleix Ruiz-Falqués is Head of the Department of Pali and Languages at the Shan State Buddhist University, Khyentse Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Buddhist Studies, and Lecturer of Pali at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
He teaches graduate courses in Pali language and literature in Taunggyi, Myanmar. Aleix completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2016, under the supervision of Prof. Eivind Kahrs. His research focuses on traditional grammar and scholasticism in Pali, particularly in Myanmar. More broadly, he is interested in ancient Indian literature (kāvya) and philosophy or knowledge systems (śāstra).
After completing his PhD, Aleix worked for two years on Pali manuscripts in Thailand, and he spent one year doing independent research in India. In 2018, he moved to the Shan State in Myanmar, where his long-term project is to teach and learn the Pali and Burmese languages and literature in a traditional monastic setting. One of his long-term goals is to reveal and demystify the treasures of the Pali medieval tradition that explain how we still possess the ancient words of the Buddha today.
Links discussed in episode
PALI 101 | Elementary PaliAccess to Insight
7. Geoff Barstow | Thinking with Animals in Buddhism
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Geoff Barstow about his beginnings as a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, the complicated status of animals in Buddhism, his research into the history of vegetarianism in Tibet, and how thinking with animals can help us see the world in a new way. We discuss common questions about Buddhism and animals, such as: what did the Buddha teach about animals? Are most Buddhists vegetarians? What are some of the different ways Buddhist communities have interacted with animals? We also preview his upcoming online course, BSO 106 | Buddhism and Animals, which will explore these issues in more depth!
Dr. Geoffrey Barstow is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Oregon State University.
He first encountered Tibetan Buddhism in 1999, and since that time the study of Tibetan religion, history, and culture has been the focus of his professional life. For the last decade and a half, his research has focussed on the history and practice of vegetarianism on the Tibetan plateau, asking questions about how animals were viewed, how they were treated (i.e., eaten), what that can tell us about Tibetan Buddhism, and how Buddhist ideas about animal ethics might impact broader philosophical discussions. His published work includes Food of Sinful Demons: A History of Vegetarianism in Tibet (Columbia University Press) and The Faults of Meat: Tibetan Writings on Vegetarianism (Wisdom Publications).
Links discussed in episode
BSO 106 | Buddhism and AnimalsFood of Sinful Demons: A History of Vegetarianism in TibetThe Faults of Meat: Tibetan Writings on Vegetarianism Unfortunate Destiny: Animals in the Indian Buddhist Imagination by Reiko OhnumaThe Rule of Threefold Purity in MN 55.5Janet Gyatso on animal ethics on the Wisdom PodcastKinship and Killing: The Animal in World Religions by Katherine Perlo
6. Jue Liang | Gender in Buddhist Theory and Practice
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Jue Liang about her beginnings as a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, the life of the Tibetan saint Yeshe Tsogyal, and the broader topic of women in Buddhism. How should we think about the place of women in Buddhist philosophy, narrative, and practice? How do scholars attempt to recover the lives of women who are often forgotten in Buddhist history? And how does thinking with and about gender help us—whatever our gender—understand Buddhism? We also preview her upcoming online course, BSO 105 | Women and Buddhism, which will explore these issues in more depth!
Dr. Jue Liang is a scholar of Tibetan Buddhist literature, history, and culture, and is Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Denison University and incoming Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Wittenberg University in Fall 2022.
She received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia. Her dissertation, Conceiving the Mother of Tibet: The Life, Lives, and Afterlife of the Buddhist Saint Yeshe Tsogyel, examines the literary tradition surrounding the matron saint of Tibet, Yeshe Tsogyel, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It also presents the blossoming of this literary tradition in tandem with the efforts to trace their religious pedigree and define what counts as authentic Buddhism by Nyingma Tibetan Buddhists.
She is currently working on a second book project titled Who Is a Buddhist Feminist: Theorizing Gender and Religion in Contemporary Tibet. It is a study on the history, discourse, and social effects of the khenmo program, a gender-equality initiative that has been taking place at Tibetan Buddhist institutions in China for the past three decades. Jue is also an active participant in discussions on Buddhism in both academic and public forums.
BSO 105 | Women and Buddhism
5. Connie Kassor | History and Philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Constance Kassor about her beginnings as a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, different Tibetan interpretations of emptiness, and how studying history sheds light on philosophy and practice. Plus, we chat about some of our favorite books, articles, and other resources for learning more about Tibetan Buddhism!
We also preview Dr. Kassor's upcoming online course, 104 | Tibetan Buddhism, which will cover the history, schools, philosophy, and practices of Tibetan Buddhism. The course is meant to give an overview of various important aspects of Tibetan history and culture that give students frameworks of understanding that can support future study and practice.
Dr. Constance Kassor is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, where she teaches courses on Buddhist thought and Asian religious traditions. Prior to joining the Lawrence faculty in 2016, she taught Buddhist Studies at Smith College, Hampshire College, Amherst College, and the Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Nepal.
Connie’s research primarily focuses on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, and she is interested in different ways that Tibetan Buddhist scholars understand the cultivation of knowledge. Her forthcoming book, Accounting for Awakened Awareness, examines the nature of knowledge through the lens of the 15th century philosopher Gorampa Sonam Senge. With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Connie is also currently translating Gorampa’s extensive Madhyamaka treatise, Synopsis of Madhyamaka (dbu ma’i spyi don) into English, in collaboration with Khenpo Dr. Ngawang Jorden, principal and abbot of the International Buddhist Academy in Nepal.
Connie has spent several years living, working, and teaching in Buddhist communities in India and Nepal. In addition to her scholarly publications, she has written for Lion’s Roar and Tricycle, and has recently published an audio course for The Great Courses and Audible
104 | Tibetan Buddhism
Referenced in the Episode
The Parable of the Raft (in the Alagaddupama Sutta, MN 22)The Sound of Two Hands Clapping by Georges Dreyfus"The Heart Sutra: the Fullness of Emptiness" by Thich Nhat Hanh Accounting for Awakened Awareness by Constance Kassor (no link yet, but click here for other publications by Connie!)High Peaks Pure Earth Tibet Reading List
4. Maria Heim | Learning How to Read Buddhist Texts with Buddhaghosa
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Maria Heim about her beginnings as a scholar of classical South Asia, the role of commentaries in Buddhism, and the importance of emotions to the Buddhist path. We also preview her upcoming online course, BSO 202 | Visuddhimagga: The Path of Purification, which will focus on this important Theravada text written by Buddhaghosa in the 5th century and cherished by Buddhists ever since. We discuss Buddhaghosa's theory of the Buddha's speech as endlessly meaningful, and what that means for how we might read Buddhist texts ourselves.
Dr. Maria Heim is George Lyman Crosby 1896 & Stanley Warfield Crosby Professor in Religion at Amherst College. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 1999, and was honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. She currently chairs the Department of Religion at Amherst.
Heim works on Sanskrit and Pali textual traditions. She has written three books on Buddhaghosa (The Forerunner of All Things: Buddhaghosa on Mind, Intention, and Agency, Oxford, 2014; Voice of the Buddha: Buddhaghosa on the Immeasurable Words, Oxford 2018; and Buddhist Ethics, Cambridge, 2020). She is currently working on emotions in ancient and classical India, and her most recent book, A Treasury of Emotions from Classical India, is forthcoming from Princeton University Press. She is also translating the Milindapañha for the Murty Classical Library of India.
BSO 202 | Visuddhimagga: The Path of Purification
Referenced in the Episode
The Jewel Discourse Sutta (Ratana Sutta)Thomas Dixon, From Passions to Emotions: The Creation of a Secular Psychological CategoryLisa Feldman Barrett, How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain
I absolutely love the podcast and I fully intend to take one or more courses as my schedule will allow. One small glitch I hope you will address- episode 7 is actually a repeat of episode 4. Perhaps this was an upload error? Thanks you so much for your insightful scholarship!