Living Philosophically--Think for yourself, Forget your Self: Ancient Buddhist advice for modern uncertainties

Thursday, April 8, 2021
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Zoom Meeting ID: 925 7044 9826
Event Type
Talia Welsh

Living Philosophically


We welcome you to two events for Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Humanities-Liberal Arts alumni, students, and friends this semester. Each event will be a short discussion of an idea that encourages us to live critically and thoughtfully.


Each event will have a short reading that is optional. The speaker will provide a short overview of the reading and then how it might apply to our lives today. We will have an open discussion and after the hour, interested people can stay for breakout chats.


Thursday, April 8, 7-8p.m.

Dr. Ethan Mills—Think for yourself, Forget your Self: Ancient Buddhist advice for modern uncertainties


What can ancient Buddhist texts teach us about living through a pandemic in a time of social and political upheaval? We’ll consider the Buddha’s advice to the Kālāma people who were confused by the conflicting messages of various teachers. Somewhat surprisingly for a text of religious authority, the Buddha tells them not to trust religious authorities, not even him! He also considers the benefits of living a good life whether there’s an afterlife or not. But what should we think about? We’ll turn to some of the Buddha’s (in)famous arguments against the Self and his contention that clinging to the concept of Self is the root of suffering. Today we are digitally assailed by conspiracy theories, religious leaders, political pundits, etc. in a way that would make the Kālāmas’ heads spin! Is the Buddha’s advice still good? Does prioritizing self over others contribute to contemporary issues from the politicization of wearing masks during a pandemic to the resurgence of white nationalism?

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