Contribution to Book
Buddhism and Skepticism: Historical, Philosophical, and Comparative Perspectives
Numata Center for Buddhist Studies
Hamburg Buddhist Studies : 13
The past century and a half has seen various attempts in both Asia and the West to reform or re-conceptualize Buddhism by adding a simple, often provocative, qualifier. This paper examines some of the links between “secular,” “critical,” “sceptical,” and “radical” Buddhism in order to ascertain possibilities in thinking Buddhism anew as a 21st-century “project” with philosophical, ethical, and political resonance. In particular, I am motivated by the question of whether “sceptical” Buddhism can coexist with Buddhist praxis, conceived as an engaged response to the suffering of sentient beings in a globalized and neoliberal industrial capitalist world order. Let me state from the start that my attempt to make sense of these terms and to draw connections between them is very much in nuce; that is, a work in progress that might serve as a kind of meta-analysis of the research I have undertaken over the past decade and continue to pursue in my various projects. As a result, this chapter is also autobiographical in the sense that it is rooted in my own ways of thinking, including my biases, about the ideas, movements, and persons I have chosen to study.
Shields, James Mark, "Skeptical Buddhism as Provenance and Project" (2020). Faculty Contributions to Books. 266.
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