On 6 July 2013 Richard Gombrich gave a thought-provoking keynote address (via video recording) at the 8th Global Conference on Buddhism, held at the Kong Meng Shan Phor Kark See Monastery in Singapore. The theme of the conference was ‘In the World of Rapid Change’ and Prof Gombrich remarked, among other things, on the recent outbursts of anti-Muslim violence, which are to his mind entirely incompatible with the Buddhist values of non-violence, kindness, and compassion. This talk, entitled ‘Taking the Buddha Seriously’, may be read together with his keynote address at a 2010 conference in Bangkok, as there is some thematic and textual overlap between them. The text of both talks may be found here.
As in previous years, the participants of the Pali Summer School 2013 came from a wide variety of backgrounds - geographic, cultural, and educational. They included academics, students, and Buddhist practitioners, all of whom have become very good friends. The texts read this year included the Puṇṇovādasutta (Majjhima Nikāya), parts of the Alagaddūpamasutta (Majjhima Nikāya), the Buddha's first sermon (Vinaya), the fire sermon (Vinaya), the commentary on the Dīgha Nikāya (Dīgha Nikāya Aṭṭhakathā, i.e. Sumaṅgalavilāsinī), and the First Council Selection of verses from the Dhammapada.
We are reviewing the booking system for this course. Some people now book places up to a year in advance, and the 14 places on the course can be all taken by Easter. On the other hand, every year there is a larger number of cancellations, often from early bookers, shortly before the course begins. This is unsatisfactory and has led us to incur financial loss. We therefore need to create a fairer and more efficient system.
Bookings for the Summer School in August 2014 will therefore open on 19 January. You can book on or after this date by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Attempts to book earlier will not be noted. Bookings will have to be accompanied by a deposit of £150. Further details can be found on our website.
We have a very interesting series of lectures coming up this term.
All lectures will be held in Balliol College Lecture Room XXIII Mondays at 5.30 p.m.
Our first two lectures will feature speakers closely connected to the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. Dr Alexandra Green (currently employed as a curator at the British Museum) earned her PhD from the SOAS and Dr Lucia Dolce is currently their Reader in Japanese Religion and Japanese. Later in the term our programme will include talks by two new arrivals at Oxford: Dr Matthew Walton and Dr Jan Westerhoff. More details will be forthcoming on our website very soon.
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