2022 Glorisun International and Intensive Program – Lecture 3: Birgit KELLNER

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Lecture 3: Birgit KELLNER (Austrian Academy of Sciences): “Philosophy and the study of Buddhism: Perspectives and Problems” (Lecture 2, Segment 2)

Philosophical ideas that were formed within Buddhism have been subject to intense intellectual engagement across Asia and more recently also beyond. Buddhist philosophical traditions in ancient India, medieval China or Tibet developed sophisticated interpretations of such fundamental doctrinal concepts as emptiness, momentariness or the fundamentally unsatisfactory nature of existence; they elaborated fundamental analyses of causality and put forward deep and penetrating accounts of consciousness. While the existence of philosophy in premodern Asian contexts is nowadays no longer challenged on the ground of a presupposed cultural-civilizational hierarchy, the place of philosophy within the modern academic study of Buddhism is often unclear. It is, in any case, far from being fixed. This talk will sketch some of the problems involved, outline contextualism and philosophical engagement as two approaches to the study of Buddhist philosophy and advance an argument about how they are, or should be, related to each other.