From The Academy

Magazine

Top Ten List

The recent spate of interest in Buddhism in magazines (like Time) and on television (like “The Oprah Winfrey Show”) inspired the students in my BS (for Buddhist Studies) 230: Introduction to Buddhism to compile a list of the ten most common misconceptions that Americans have about Buddhism. The students were the first to admit that […]

By Donald S. Lopez Jr.

Magazine History & Philosophy

Performative Utterance

One of the occupational hazards of being a professor of Buddhism, at least in the United States, is that one is inevitably asked at some point during the semester, “Are you a Buddhist?” Sometimes at the end of a lecture, I will ask, “Any questions?” and a student will raise her hand and say, “Are […]

By Donald S. Lopez Jr.

Magazine

Digesting The Dharma

In my last column, I provided a brief history of the attempt to anthologize Buddhist texts, to reduce the teachings of Buddhism to a single volume. The organization of these anthologies was often telling, revealing the presuppositions and prejudices of the editors. Some were chronological, beginning with Pali texts (believed to be the earliest sources) […]

By Donald S. Lopez Jr.

MagazineHistory & Philosophy

Digesting the Dharma, Part I

Last year, a new anthology of Buddhist texts, entitled Buddhism in Practice, was published. It seems that only once in each generation does someone have the audacity to produce such a book, and in this case, I was that person. In so doing, I placed myself in a long and venerable tradition of trying to […]

By Donald S. Lopez Jr.

Magazine

If and When

Last fall I was interviewed on ABC’s “Nightline” in connection with Ted Koppel’s conversation with the Dalai Lama (aired September 13, 1995). The producer asked me what I thought the role of the Dalai Lama would be if Tibet ever regained its independence. “If and when Tibet regains its independence . . . ,” I […]

By Donald S. Lopez Jr.

MagazineSociety & Environment

The Return of the Suppressed

The Chinese rejection of the Dalai Lama’s choice of the next Panchen Lama, the second most important Tibetan lama, represents the greatest threat to the Tibetan institution of the incarnate lama in its history. It is a long history. With the decline of the Tibetan monarchy in the ninth century, political and religious authority shifted […]

By Donald S. Lopez Jr.

MagazineHistory & Philosophy

A Sangha-less Sangha

One becomes a Buddhist by going for refuge in the “three gems”—in other words by saying, “I go for refuge to the Buddha, I go for refuge to the dharma, I go for refuge to the sangha.” But what exactly are these three gems? This was a question that vexed the early Buddhist community. When […]

By Donald S. Lopez Jr.

MagazineHistory & Philosophy

Buddhism(s)?

EVERYBODY KNOWS there is really no such thing as Hinduism. The name is derived from an ancient word for sea, sindhu, used also for the Indus River. Persians living to the west of the Indus modified it to hind, and used it to refer to the land of the Indus valley. Eventually, Muslims used hindu to refer […]

By Donald S. Lopez Jr.

MagazineHistory & Philosophy

The H Word

In 1987, the Zen Buddhist Temple of Ann Arbor, Michigan, sponsored a conference on “World Buddhism in America.” The title was meant to convey the fact that representatives from various Buddhist traditions had gathered to talk about the current problems and prospects for their respective traditions in the United States. There were representatives from the […]

By Donald S. Lopez Jr.
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