Buddhist Spiritual Practices


The Western reception of Buddhism has long been tied in knots over the seemingly intractable question: is it a religion or a philosophy? French philosopher Pierre Hadot’s constructive redeployment of Ignatius Loyola’s ideal of “spiritual exercise” has therefore been seen as offering a welcome way to cut through the dilemma. The present volume, whose seven chapters skillfully explore the prospects for developing Hadot’s thought within Buddhist Studies, represents a valuable new contribution to this important discussion

Matthew T. Kapstein, Director of Tibetan Studies, École Practique des Hautes Études, Paris; Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies, The University of Chicago Divinity School.

This fine volume of new essays —some by established and influential scholars of Buddhism, and some by rising stars in Buddhist Studies— explores the value of Pierre Hadot’s work for understanding the relationship between philosophy and religious practice in the Buddhist world, and for understanding the enterprise of Buddhist Studies itself. The authors call upon us to look anew at the relationship between Buddhist philosophy and spiritual practice, and between Buddhism and Buddhist Studies.

Jay L. Garfield, Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy, Logic and Buddhist Studies, Smith College; Visiting Professor of Buddhist Philosophy, Harvard Divinity School.

This welcome and timely collection captures a cultural moment in which academics in the disciplines of Buddhist Studies and Philosophy can, thanks to the work of the French philosopher Pierre Hadot, become partners in a dialogue between Buddhist thought and practice and the ancient Western conception of philosophy as a way of life.

Michael McGhee, Honorary Senior Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool.

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