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Institute of Buddhist Studies Podcast

Everything tagged with Numata lecture

Cleaning Cloths, Poetry, and Personal Buddhas: Laywomen’s Healing Practices in Contemporary Japan

Domestic Dharma: Beyond Texts, Beyond Monasteries, Numata Symposium 2012 Keynote Address by Prof. Paula Arai.

Creativity, flexibility, and accessibility are qualities characteristic of the Buddhist practices that women in contemporary Japan engage in as they weave healing activities into their daily life. Home-made ritualized activities, which draw upon and innovatively adapt age-old traditions, include common greetings turned into healing events, cleaning cloths performing medical mysteries, and poetry writing. In addition, this domestic Dharma often sees a loved one transformed into a Personal Buddha upon death, bestowing wise counsel and compassionate support.

Originally recorded on 22 September 2012
(c) 2012 The Institute of Buddhist Studies and Paula Arai

An audio-only version of this talk is also available.

Cleaning Cloths, Poetry, and Personal Buddhas: Laywomen’s Healing Practices in Contemporary Japan, audio

Domestic Dharma: Beyond Texts, Beyond Monasteries, Numata Symposium 2012 Keynote Address by Prof. Paula Arai.

Creativity, flexibility, and accessibility are qualities characteristic of the Buddhist practices that women in contemporary Japan engage in as they weave healing activities into their daily life. Home-made ritualized activities, which draw upon and innovatively adapt age-old traditions, include common greetings turned into healing events, cleaning cloths performing medical mysteries, and poetry writing. In addition, this domestic Dharma often sees a loved one transformed into a Personal Buddha upon death, bestowing wise counsel and compassionate support.

Originally recorded on 22 September 2012
(c) 2012 The Institute of Buddhist Studies and Paula Arai

A video version of this talk is also available.

Play

Nuns at Home, Nuns as Homebuilders: Rethinking Ordination and Family in Medieval Japan

Domestic Dharma: Beyond Texts, Beyond Monasteries, Numata Symposium 2012 Keynote Address by Prof. Lisa Grumbach.

An exploration of the roles of ordained women within the social and familial structures of medieval Japan. Focusing on the reasons women became nuns, their age at ordination, and the work they performed as nuns, Prof. Grumbach argues that women used ordination as a way to build and maintain homes rather than as a way to “leave home.” Autobiographical writings by women, historical and biographical information about nuns, and medieval literature are used to show that ordination and family life were not opposing categories for many women, suggesting that we need to revise our understanding of what it meant to be a “nun” in medieval Japan.

Originally recorded on 22 September 2012
(c) 2012 The Institute of Buddhist Studies and Lisa Grumbach

An audio-only version of this talk is also available.

Nuns at Home, Nuns as Homebuilders: Rethinking Ordination and Family in Medieval Japan, audio

Domestic Dharma: Beyond Texts, Beyond Monasteries, Numata Symposium 2012 Keynote Address by Prof. Lisa Grumbach.

An exploration of the roles of ordained women within the social and familial structures of medieval Japan. Focusing on the reasons women became nuns, their age at ordination, and the work they performed as nuns, Prof. Grumbach argues that women used ordination as a way to build and maintain homes rather than as a way to “leave home.” Autobiographical writings by women, historical and biographical information about nuns, and medieval literature are used to show that ordination and family life were not opposing categories for many women, suggesting that we need to revise our understanding of what it meant to be a “nun” in medieval Japan.

Originally recorded on 22 September 2012
(c) 2012 The Institute of Buddhist Studies and Lisa Grumbach

A video version of this talk is also available.

Play

Our Buddhadharma, Our Buddhist Dharma : 2012 Commencement Address

The 2012 Graduation Commencement Address was delivered by Prof. Franz Metcalf and generously sponsored by the Numata Foundation. “Our Buddhadharma, Our Buddhist Dharma” explores our evolving Buddhist dharma in two senses. That is, it tries to begin clarifying dharma in the sense of (a) what the Buddhadharma, as teaching, is; and (b) what our dharma, as duty, is toward that Buddhadharma. While the former is a bottomless pit of circularity into which scholars may sink their careers, and the latter is a deepening chasm of responsibilities into which practitioners may throw their lives, the sinking and the throwing need doing. Treading (and thereby perhaps obliterating) one line between scholarship and practice, this address attempts to trace a path on which scholars and graduates may walk together, down into the darkness.

Prof. Metcalf is a teacher at the California State University, Los Angeles, and the author of numerous books applying Buddhist teachings to our everyday lives, including Just Add Buddha and Buddha in Your Backpack.

Originally recorded on 18 May 2012
(c) 2012 The Institute of Buddhist Studies and Franz Metcalf

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Karmic Mindfulness: Rethinking Morality in Contemporary Buddhism

As a basic principle governing moral thinking, the Buddhist concept of karma is brilliant. With clarity and simplicity, it informs participants in Buddhist cultures that what becomes of them in life is dependent on the quality of their relations to other people and on what they do in life. The fact that the concept of karma was transferred from one religious tradition to others in Asia has meant that its early mythological foundations have been weakened, to some extent allowing it to stand on its own.
Although western religions have moral principles that function in similar ways, in each case these concepts cannot so easily be severed from their mythological grounding in the ideas of the will of God, heaven and hell. That difference suggests that karma’s potential as a moral principle for contemporary global culture is outstanding. In order to live up to that role, however, some dimensions of the concept of karma would require rethinking. In this lecture, Prof. Wright assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the idea of karma, and suggests how certain aspects of the idea can be developed into a powerful and realistic moral framework for the approaching global society.

An audio-only version of this talk is also available.

Originally recorded on 28 October 2011, at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, Ca.
Copyright © 2011 Dale Wright

Karmic Mindfulness: Rethinking Morality in Contemporary Buddhism (audio only)

As a basic principle governing moral thinking, the Buddhist concept of karma is brilliant. With clarity and simplicity, it informs participants in Buddhist cultures that what becomes of them in life is dependent on the quality of their relations to other people and on what they do in life. The fact that the concept of karma was transferred from one religious tradition to others in Asia has meant that its early mythological foundations have been weakened, to some extent allowing it to stand on its own.
Although western religions have moral principles that function in similar ways, in each case these concepts cannot so easily be severed from their mythological grounding in the ideas of the will of God, heaven and hell. That difference suggests that karma’s potential as a moral principle for contemporary global culture is outstanding. In order to live up to that role, however, some dimensions of the concept of karma would require rethinking. In this lecture, Prof. Wright assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the idea of karma, and suggests how certain aspects of the idea can be developed into a powerful and realistic moral framework for the approaching global society.

A video version of this talk is also available.

Originally recorded on 28 October 2011, at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, Ca.
Copyright © 2011 Dale Wright

Play

Making Sense of the Blood Bowl Sutra: Gender, Pollution, and Salvation in Buddhist Sermons from Early Modern Japan

Sometime during the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century, several variants of an indigenous Chinese sutra known as the Xuepenjing 血盆経 (“Blood Bowl Sutra,” Jpns. Ketsubonkyō), were transmitted to Japan. Emphasizing the impurity of women’s reproductive blood, this short scripture teaches that women are fated to fall into a special hell known as the “Blood Pond Hell” (chi no ike jigoku 血の池地獄) in retribution for the sin of polluting the earth with blood. By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, temples throughout Japan actively promoted the cult of the Blood Bowl Hell as a method of saving women. In this cult, disgust for the female body, first emphasized in Buddhist texts as a means of encouraging celibate monks to remain distant from women, is directed not to celibate monks, but to a new audience of lay men and women. My talk will explore two early modern commentaries on the text in an effort to understand how priests presented the teachings of the Blood Bowl Sutra to this audience. 

An audio-only version of this episode is also available.

Originally recorded April 22, 2011 at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, Ca.
Copyright © 2010 Lori Meeks

Making Sense of the Blood Bowl Sutra: Gender, Pollution, and Salvation in Buddhist Sermons from Early Modern Japan

Sometime during the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century, several variants of an indigenous Chinese sutra known as the Xuepenjing 血盆経 (“Blood Bowl Sutra,” Jpns. Ketsubonkyō), were transmitted to Japan. Emphasizing the impurity of women’s reproductive blood, this short scripture teaches that women are fated to fall into a special hell known as the “Blood Pond Hell” (chi no ike jigoku 血の池地獄) in retribution for the sin of polluting the earth with blood. By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, temples throughout Japan actively promoted the cult of the Blood Bowl Hell as a method of saving women. In this cult, disgust for the female body, first emphasized in Buddhist texts as a means of encouraging celibate monks to remain distant from women, is directed not to celibate monks, but to a new audience of lay men and women. My talk will explore two early modern commentaries on the text in an effort to understand how priests presented the teachings of the Blood Bowl Sutra to this audience. 

Originally recorded April 22, 2011 at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, Ca.
Copyright © 2010 Lori Meeks

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Shinran’s Devotional Hymn of Prince Shotoku: Kōtaishi Shōtoku hōsan

The Fall 2010 Numata Lecture at the Institute of Buddhist Studies was delivered by Prof. Kenneth Lee of the California State University, Northridge. Prof. Lee discussed Shinran Shonin’s wasan, the Kōtaishi Shōtoku hōsan in devotion to Prince Shotoku, revered as the founder of Buddhism in Japan.

An audio-only version of this episode is also available.

Originally recorded November 19, 2010 at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, Ca.
Copyright © 2010 Kenneth Lee

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