Flash of (personal) Insight
BAKULA at delphi.com
Sun Mar 19 03:58:00 UTC 1995
On 18-MAR-1995 21:28:08.0 BUDDHA-L%ULKYVM.BITNET said to BAKULA
My recent barb on Birgit's 'Ignore-ant' philosophy may not address the
real issue on Indology-L. My very good friend Richard P. Hayes has written a
book on how to run a serious academically oriented group. I take liberty to
quote following without his permission.
> Reply-to: Buddhist Academic Discussion Forum
> <BUDDHA-L%ULKYVM.BITNET at uga.cc.uga.edu>
> X-To: Buddhist Academic Discussion Forum
> <buddha-l at ulkyvm.louisville.edu>
I'm a neophite Buddhist scholar (my primary interest being
linguistic anthropology); therefore what'd be more helpful (for me) is
some more broad-based look at the overall philosophical trends in
Buddhism, and vignettes on the lives of some of its major proponents.
Now I'll be glad to keep quiet if that's not really the purpose of
this list (it seems to me as much a professional forum as a general
interest list). But I AM curious as to how many others share my
views and why those who don't don't. Thanx.
> There is a list called buddhist at jpntuvm0.bitnet on which all kinds of
> philosophical trends in Buddhism are discussed. Occasionally someone
> even sends in a vignette on the life of a major proponent. The buddhist
> list is unmoderated, and discussions are likely to take almost any
> direction. Although there are some academics who send material in to
> the buddhist list, it has a much less academic flavour than buddha-l.
> There is a reason for that.
> Buddha-l began when a small group of subscribers to the buddhist list
> thought it would be a good idea to have a smaller, quieter moderated
> list especially for the discussion of purely academic issues,
> especially the teaching of Buddhism in universities and research aimed
> at academic journals. When Jim Cocks and I established buddha-l, we
> thought the subscription list would level off at around 40 or 50, all
> of whom would be professors of religious studies, philosophy or Asian
> languages and literature, or graduate students in those disciplines.
> We assumed that buddhist at jpntuvm0 would continue to grow rapidly as a
> forum for much more broad-based discussion. Things have not evolved as
> we thought they would. The buddhist list still has about 250
> subscribers; the number has been steady for years. buddha-l has grown
> steadily to its present readership of 975, and continues to grow
> daily. This baffles me. But then, most things do.
> It's possible that the reason there is so little discussion of the
> lives and works of great Buddhists is that the principal contributors
> to buddha-l take knowledge of such things for granted and feel no need
> to repeat the basics to one another. Rather than telling one another
> what Naagaarjuna said, academics are more likely to get into discussions
> of whether what he said made sense (an issue that kept Lusthaus and I
> at each other's throats for much of the spring of 1994), and this may
> require quite a bit of discussion of chapter and verse in the original
> Sanskrit. Rather than reminding one another that there are four noble
> truths, academics are more likely to reduce the four down to three or
> expand it to five, or comment on whether Gotama the Buddha might have
> plagiarized these four truths from Gotama the Naiyaayika.
> Given that the principal purpose of buddha-l is to serve the needs of
> academic scholars and teachers of Buddhism, I am always open to
> suggestions on how this mission might be better served. I welcome
> comments from everyone.
> When buddha-l first got started, a few people complained about the fact
> that we have too much fun on this list. There is a certain amount of
> clowning that goes on, which sometimes gives buddha-l the atmosphere of
> a faculty club or the cash bar at the AAR. I have always defended
> this on the grounds that I have never been able to tell the difference
> between work and play in the academic world (where our jokes tend to be
> quite serious, and our serious work tends to be quite laughable). The
> recent thread on Buddhist artists has been mostly light-hearted, and I
> let it continue (perhaps a bit too long) for the simple reason that I
> think that we all need a little bit of levity, and I figured some
> people might enjoy playing around with this theme. It was a lightness
> that defied the gravity of discussions about funding.
> When I say that Jim Cocks and I are open to your suggestions and
> comments on how to make buddha-l better serve the needs of the academic
> community, I do mean it. Please share your views with me.
> Richard P. Hayes cxev at musica.mcgill.ca
> Associate Professor Associate Member
> Faculty of Religious Studies Dept of Philosophy
> McGill University Montreal, Quebec
Need I say more, Dominik?
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