The Bodhisattva’s Balancing Act: Altruism in an Empty World
Anne MacDonald, Dept. of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna
Indian Mahāyāna works stress the importance of an altruistic attitude for progress on the Buddhist path, deeming the attainment of Buddhahood to be impossible without it. The same works emphasize the necessity of understanding the emptiness (śūnyatā) of phenomena for liberation from the endless cycle of birth and death. But what exactly is the relationship between compassion and the view of emptiness, and how do the texts envision the Buddhist practitioner’s involvement with them? The lecture will attempt to clarify misunderstandings concerning the meaning of emptiness and to illuminate the delicate course to be taken by the meditator aiming to achieve the state of a Buddha.
Anne MacDonald is a professor of Buddhist studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. She received a BA in anthropology from McMaster University, an MA in religious studies from the University of British Columbia and a PhD in indology from the University of Vienna. Dr. MacDonald specializes in the study of Madhyamaka Buddhism, and is currently working on recently discovered Sanskrit manuscripts of major works of the seventh-century Indian Buddhist philosopher Candrakīrti.
Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: David Strong Building, Room C116
Sponsor: Centre for Studies in Religion and Society