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DharmaPhD

Some thoughts on “Bhava”, “Saṅkhāra”, “Habit”, and Basil Ganglia: Part 1, Untangling the Knot

Sometimes ideas get all wrapped up and around and through each other and a clever theory, when gently prodded, reveals itself a writhing, gnarly mess. Maybe this doesn’t happen to you? It totally happens to me. I think I understand a thing, I get all excited about it, I try explaining it to someone, or […]

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Discourse Scholarship

Conditionality (Idappaccayatā) vs Dependent Origination (Paṭiccasamuppāda): Part 2, Conversations with Leigh Brasington

Edit: If you want to start with Part 1, that’s here. The meditation teacher Leigh Brasington wrote a book on Dependent Origination which he self published and made available for Dāna on his website. He kindly (and enthusiastically!) read my previous post on DO and Conditionality. With his permission, here’s an image we cobbled together: A few […]

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Discourse Meta

What About “Postmodern Dhamma”?

After I left military service in 2014, I moved to Paris and studied Philosophy for two years. The most important course I took during that time was “Modern Critical Theory” where a long-limbed, curly-cue of a Frenchman introduced me to Postmodernism and Critical Theory. In that course I read Western thinkers touching into the same concepts […]

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Discourse Meta

The Why, What, and How of the Independent PhD: Part 1.1, Why? Independent vs Institutional PhDs

In Part 1 we talked about motivation for starting an Independent PhD. But why an Independent PhD rather than a classic, Institutional PhD? I describe my Independent PhD as “Four-ish years of study, practice, and discourse that culminates in a book no-one will read.” But the beauty of an Independent PhD is that it doesn’t have to be four […]

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Discourse Practice Scholarship

Transcendent vs Imminent Nibbāna. Is this a thing? And how does it impact practice? (Part 1)

Part 1 – Are there two Nibbānas?

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Discourse Practice Scholarship

On Anurodha, “Liking”

In your day-to-day, off-the-cushion experience, what part of the 12-link Dependent Origination cycle (12-nidanas) do you notice most readily? I ask because I think it may be the case that many of us spend our days “liking” stuff or “disliking” stuff. But liking/disliking is not in the 12-nidanas. When I first began learning about Dependent Origination I was surprised to […]

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DharmaPhD Discourse Meta

The Why, What, and How of the Independent PhD: Part 1, Why?

Greetings, Friendlies! The writing challenge continues; taking a quick zoom out and spending a few sessions writing about the Independent PhD as the container for this Dharma PhD gig. I don’t know if y’all are interested in this material; maybe anything that is not a sutta spreadsheet is anathema? Let me know if that’s the […]

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Discourse Practice Teaching

Is Pain Vedanā? (And Why Does It Matter?)

(TL;DR: No. Pain is not Vedanā.)

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DharmaPhD

Conditionality (Idappaccayatā) vs Dependent Origination (Paṭiccasamuppāda): What’s What and Why It Matters

When I first began studying Dependent Origination, it was not clear to me where DO (paṭiccasamuppāda) ended and Conditionality (idappaccayatā) began. Today it’s a little more clear; here’s what I think, and why I think it matters: Conditionality (idappaccayatā) is the way the world is. All phenomena are dependent on (conditioned by) other phenomena. The […]

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Meta

Perpetually Prototyping – A Writing Experiment

I’ve recently learned of the writing workshop Ship 30 for 30. The structure is writing <250 word "Atomic Essays" every day for 30 days.

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Discourse Scholarship

¿Is Vedanā Interoception?

Is vedanā interoception? Or is interoception vedanā? In a 2018 talk on Vedanā (link) @MartineBatchelor referred to @LisaFeldmanBarrett’s book, How Emotions Are Made. She described interoception and asked, “…the question is, is she talking about the same thing [as] me?” [4:29] Here’s my take: In HEAM, Barrett says: “Simple pleasant and unpleasant feelings come from […]

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Scholarship

Parsing MN 9 – Sammādiṭṭhi Sutta

I thought about titling this post “If You Think This Post is Long, You Should Try Reading the Sutta”, but the SEO would be lousy. Anyway. Greetings! I’m still working on MN 9 for the Bodhi College CPP homework. After building the comparative translation spreadsheet it was a bit easier to parse the content of […]

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Scholarship

MN 9 – Comparing Translations – Sammādiṭṭhi Sutta

Greetings! For the Bodhi College CPP February homework (they don’t call it homework, but it’s totally homework), we were invited to read Majjhima Nikāya 9, the Sammādiṭṭhi Sutta, “Right View”. (I shudder at that translation, but let’s go with it.) As with MN26, I’ve built a table comparing the Pāli and five English translations. You’re […]

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Discourse Scholarship

Commentary on John Peacock’s Buddhism Before the Theravada Part 1

This post accompanies a podcast episode and a transcript of Peacock’s talk. I’d love to hear what you think. Happy reading! It is a lovely July morning. BooBear kisses me farewell and I, grinagog, board the Greyhound bus which is to spend the day ferrying me from Baltimore, MD to New York State. I trot […]

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DharmaPhD Discourse

The Independent PhD, and Why You Should Start One

I am writing this post in July, 2020, amidst a confusion of half-arsed quarantining efforts in the US. The edifice of US formal education is showing its cracks. For many, self-directed education is not only a viable option, it is the best possible option. Particularly for adult learners, and particularly for those adult learners for […]

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Teaching

Four Paths to MBSR Teacher-hood (in English)

Several folks have asked me about becoming an MBSR teacher. Thought I’d share this last draft of my response; it may be helpful to others. :) *******Dear Rachida, greetings! As promised, here is a brain-dump of my knowledge re: becoming an MBSR teacher (in English): Background: As you probably know, MBSR was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn […]

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DharmaPhD

Dharma PhD Update, 2020 Q1

As I divulge more about this little project o’mine, I’m amused and surprised by the interest. To answer questions and track my progress, I’ll make quarterly reports on how the project is taking shape. 2020 Q1 It seems that breaking things into quarters is more intelligible than academic semesters. Though I began thinking about this […]

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Discourse Practice

Dharma Practice, Transmogrified

Last year my dharma practice transmogrified. Let’s call this Part 1: What Happened. I had been practicing in a general way for some years. Omnivorous, secular, hot on cognitive science and evolutionary psychology while grazing here and there the texts and contemplative practices of various religious traditions. Rummaging around in the dharma bin, but unable […]

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Discourse

Pressing Ideas Up Against the World

The deeper I delve into Buddhist psychology, the more I feel at risk of going tharn in the face of its immensity. The work here at CogScifulness is 100% an attempt to deal with that threat of overwhelm. I worry, somewhat, about exposing my under-construction understanding… but I do not believe that wisdom can develop […]

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Scholarship

Majjhima Nikāya 2 — All the Effluents

As I begin to explore the Tipiṭaka (the Pāli Canon, the Buddhist scriptures that began to be written maybe about 400 years after Gotama’s death), I find that I need to further translate the scholarly renditions (from Bikkhus Ñanamoli, Bodhi, Ṭhānissaro, etc), into an every-day English that I can more readily access. This seems to […]