2007 Seminars

2007 Seminar Series







Round table discussion

New Directions in Buddhist studies

Speakers will include Arian Snodgrass (UWS), Judith Snodgrass (UWS), Peter Oldmeadow (USYD) and Mark Allon (USYD). Each will reflect on the recent developments in their respective area of specialization and/or in teaching Buddhism at Australian Universities. The topics may include: slow change over a long time, shift of focus on texts under study, new disciplines, interesting new publications, impact of new technologies in Buddhist Studies, and trends in post-graduate enrolments.



Jim Valby

Concepts of Compassion in Early Tibetan Dzogchen Texts

Different concepts about compassion are explained in various Dzogchen texts which were translated into Tibetan in the Eighth Century AD. These non-traditional presentations of the fundamental Buddhist principle of compassion provide rich background for studies of early Buddhism in Tibet.

The texts explain how all the types of compassion prescribed and practiced by followers of various spiritual vehicles like Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana are small and limited. The texts also explain two categories of unlimited compassion.



Adrian Snodgrass, UWS

Much ado about Nothingness



John Powers, ANU

Images of masculinity in Indian Buddhism



Eng-Kong Tan, Metta Clinic

Is there a Buddhist Psychotherapy?

Similarities and differences between Western Psychotherapies and Eastern Buddhist Philosophy, and the various Buddhist-influenced therapies practised today.



Round table discussion

Teaching Buddhism in our Universities

This month our seminar will be a panel discussion on objectives and methods of teaching Buddhism at Australasian Universities. The discussion will be led by Judith Snodgrass. Speakers will include Mark Allon, Edward Crangle, Adrian Snodgrass and Brendon Stewart.



Adrian Snodgrass, UWS

Seed Syllables in Shingon Buddhism



Bhante Sujato, Santi Forest Monastery

Sects & Sectarianism: The First Schism

The first schism in the Buddhist community was that between the Mahasanghikas and the Theriyas. Like so much of the historical situation of early Buddhism, the date and circumstances of the split are difficult to ascertain. Ancient sources are late, biased, and contradictory; and modern studies have often not taken into account all the relevant information, and have tended to evaluate the sources as history, rather than as myth. But myth is what they are, an attempt by struggling communities to tell the story of their origins, and to find in that story a meaning relevant to the issues of their own times. I have revisited the original sources, uncovered some texts hitherto underutilized, and evaluated them in terms of what the stories meant for the communities that told them. The result of this is that the schism would appear to have arisen much later, in the post-Ashokan era, while most modern scholars place it before Ashoka. This finding has important implications for the early history of Buddhism.