LECTURE> "That Is Why The Buddha Laughs: Apophasis as Practice", by William Edelglass; Somaiya Center, March 7

A. Charles Muller's picture

Posted on behalf of the Somaiya Center for Buddhist Studies

We are pleased to invite you to a special lecture by Prof. William Edelglass of Marlboro College, Vermont, USA, titled "That Is Why The Buddha Laughs: Apophasis as Practice", to be held on 7th March 2018, at 2.00 pm.
The paradox of language as liberating and ensnaring is at the heart of much Buddhist thought and practice.  This tension between two aspects of language is not merely an interesting side-note.  Transforming our relation to language—and thereby transforming our relation to the world—is, for many tradition, central to the Buddhist path.  Liberation means relinquishing the idea that words somehow reach out and have traction with reality.  But, even as awakened awareness is widely regarded as a transcendence of language, and mind and reality exceed the grasp of language, words and concepts are necessary to make progress on the path.  This talk will explore apophasis in Buddhist traditions, including doctrines of ineffability as well as texts that employ silence and other linguistic strategies of unsaying.  It will suggest that doctrines and moments of Buddhist apophasis are not an empty lack, but meaningful; their meaning is dependent on the specific linguistic context and also more broadly on the ways they are situated in interpretive communities.  To ask what apophatic discourse says, as if it were in the business of articulating truths in a naturalized language, misses what apophasis is about.  Buddhist apophatic discourse is more like poetry; it is interested in transformation.  A better question, then, is what does apophasis do?  We can understand the study and contemplation of Buddhist apophasis, then, as a cognitive and affective practice on the Buddhist path.
About the Speaker
William Edelglass is Professor of Philosophy and Director of Environmental Studies at Marlboro College in Vermont, USA, is a regular faculty member at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and has taught Western philosophy at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamshala.  His research is primarily in the areas of Buddhist philosophy, environmental philosophy, and 20th-century French and German thought.  William is chair of the board of directors of the International Association of Environmental Philosophy and is co-editor of the journal Environmental Philosophy. He is also co-editor of Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings, the Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy (both with Jay Garfield), and Facing Nature: Levinas and Environmental Thought.  He is currently co-editing the Routledge Handbook of Indian Buddhist Philosophy.  William lives with his wife and two daughters on an off-the-grid homestead in the Green Mountains of Vermont.
Kindly note the details regarding time and venue:
Date: 7th March 2018
Time: 2.00 pm
Venue: K J Somaiya Centre for Buddhist Studies
Somaiya Vidyavihar, Mumbai 400077
The lecture is open to all who are interested. Should you have any queries, please call us on 21024338 or 21022537.
Look forward to having you with us,
Supriya Rai