Some problems in teaching Buddhism

This is a Prezi I presented a few years back at an HEA event, which picked out some particular issues in the teaching of Buddhism (so it’s a bit more discipline specific than most things on this blog).

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You can read more over at the The British Association for the Study of Religions’ archive of Discourse HERE, but I start along these lines:

Buddhism suffers from a peculiar crisis. It is a crisis that is peculiar in that it is strange, interesting and fascinating. It is also peculiar in that it is rather unique to Buddhism. This is a crisis of representation: Buddhism is widely portrayed in ways that introduce misconceptions and that obscure its complexity. So far, though, we might consider that many religious traditions suffer from this. So what is unusual in the widespread, cultural representation of Buddhism? What is peculiar here is that misrepresentation is often due to, or overlooked due to, its benign nature. It is a crisis in that an unquestioned account of Buddhism can blind us to genuine and troubling issues regarding the tradition—say in regard to ethical and socio-political engagement, or its political implications. Contemporary western culture often regards (and presents) Buddhism as ‘gentle’, and tends to look upon it with a sunny, but simplifying gaze of patronising approval. This obscures the tradition’s diversity and complexity in a way that is a substantive obstacle to the educator…


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