Discourse Meta Scholarship Teaching

Talking about Vedanā (aka Hedonic Tone)

I’m in the midst of producing several Buddha Bites podcast episodes on Vedanā (aka Hedonic Tone). It’s been challenging; following are some deets about the process.

As I wrote back in March, a 2019 retreat led by Akincano Weber and Dr. Judson Brewer hooked me on the implications of Vedanā. When I talk about Dharma PhD, I often say the project will “culminate in a book that no one will read”. The book, as it lives in my mind, is about Vedanā and its implications in modern life.

But this series of Buddha Bites episodes is the first time I’ve tried talking about it. It’s a simple concept: our experience comes in flavors of pleasant and unpleasant. But the implications… It’s easy to say “E=MC2“; rather more difficult to articulate the implications. Feels the same with Vedanā.

I built a mindmap (surprise!). The first version had twelve primary branches; it’s now down to two primary branches with four and five secondary branches. I love you, mindmaps.

The premise behind Buddha Bites is a platform to practice talking about concepts in simple, brief language. Not my forté. I am usually able to get episodes down near sixty seconds, but the last two were closer to three minutes. I think there are at least two more episodes, possibly three, to finish the series.

If you’re interested in hearing how its coming together, here are the three Vedanā episodes so far (Episodes 23, 24, 25):

Intro to Hedonic Tone (aka Vedanā), Episode 23
Implications, Episode 24
Exploring unpleasant Hedonic Tone, Episode 25

Or, if video is your thing, here’s a playlist of the episodes as audiograms:

And, as always, if you have thoughts, please send word. I’d love to hear from you.

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