Dhamma Talk – March 10

 [Summary: Upcoming talk at Chulalongkorn University arranged by 1000 Stars. Topic is the systematic form and rules of debating in Tibetan Buddhism]

The Thousand Stars Foundation and the Center for Ethics of Science and Technology, Chulalongkorn University cordially invites the public to a talk on:

Learning to Philosophize the “Tibetan” Way
Prof. Georges B. Dreyfus
Williams College, USA

March 10, 2008, 10 am to 12 noon.
Room 708, Boromratchakumari Building,
Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University

The Topic

In early Buddhism there were some 18 schools or interpretations of the Buddha’s teachings which used to debate fiercely in the great Indian Universities, while yet dwelling peacefully with each other. In the south Theravada eventually won out over the others, but in the north some of the lineages of Buddhism maintained this tradition of debate and developed it into a fine art form, with complex rules of engagement and etiquette. It is an effective teaching tool that encourages rigorous investigation, avoiding the adoption of an ‘orthodox’ stance on all points as Theravada did.
The tradition is maintained to this day, with the same rules of antiquity guiding the debating sides. An extract:

The defender makes an assertion against which the questioner raises
qualms by putting forth statements of consequences of the type: “It follows that
a is b because it is c.” For all well formed consequences, the defender has the
choice between these three answers: 1) I accept. 2) The reason is not
established. 3) There is no pervasion.

This is Philosophizing the “Tibetan” Way – argument and thorough investigation using a clear set of rules.

The Speaker

Georges B.J. Dreyfus, Ph.D. in History of Religions
Department of Religion, Williams College, Williamstown
Linguistic scholar of Classical and Spoken Tibetan, and Sanskrit

The Svatantrika-Prasangika Distinction: What Difference does a Difference make?
The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: the Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk
Recognizing Reality: Dharmakirti’s Philosophy and its Tibetan Interpretations
A Recent Rediscovery: rGyal-tshab’s Rigs gTer rNam bshad, in collaboration with S.Onoda

Plus countless articles, chairs and awards….


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