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Colloquia and Visiting Speakers: 'Crossing the Dharmascape: Mindfulness and Insight Practice in Burma and America'

Dr. Erik Braun, University of Virginia. Fri., Jan. 27, 2017 at 4:00pm. Location: UH 122

Jan 18, 2017

University of Toronto/McMaster University, Numata Buddhist Studies Program 2016-17

Crossing the Dharmascape: Mindfulness and Insight Practice in Burma and America

In this talk I trace changing approaches to mindfulness (sati) in the work of Burmese monastic figures who have profoundly influenced conceptualizations of insight practice (vipassanā) in the U.S. (for example, Ledi Sayadaw, Mahāsi Sayadaw, Pa Auk Sayadaw, and Sayadaw U Tejaniya). By doing so, my goal is to explore how their teachings about mindfulness (and their receptions) reshape insight practice and senses of its purposes (as a therapeutic tool, as a means to escape from saṃsāra, as a secular versus religious resource, etc.). As we will see, neither forms of practice nor the worldviews that those forms entail and affect change seamlessly. Rather, arguments by these monks about mindfulness and the requisites ofinsight practice frequently diverge and even conflict. Such frictions produced by the movements of ideas and people across the complex landscape of dharma teachings that includes Burma and the U.S.—what I am calling the “dharmascape”—will be seen to reformulate the possibilities of practice.

About the Speaker:
Erik Braun is an associate professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, specializing in the study of Burmese Buddhism. He received his Ph.D. in the study of religion from Harvard University

When: Friday, January 27, 2017, 4-6 pm
Where: McMaster, University Hall 122

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Reading Group:
The Birth of Insight. Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw

When: Thursday, January 26, 2017, 3-5 pm
Where: University of Toronto, JHB, Room 317