Tricycle is pleased to offer the Tricycle Talks podcast for free. If you would like to support this offering, please consider donating. Thank you!
Buddhism is not a religion at all––at the same time, it’s the true essence of all religions, which is still compatible with science or even a “mind science” itself.
Do these ideas sound familiar? They’re part of a constellation of claims that scholar Evan Thompson calls “Buddhist exceptionalism,” the idea that Buddhism stands apart from all other religions as uniquely rational.
Evan is a professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia as well as a longtime fellow at the Mind and Life Institute, which examines the intersection of science and contemplative wisdom. However, in his new book—provocatively titled Why I’m Not a Buddhist (Yale University Press, January 2020)—Evan argues that Buddhism and science are not uniquely compatible, despite what many have claimed, and challenges the popular modernist belief that science can validate Buddhism’s soteriological and ontological goals.
Here, Evan talks with Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss the problems with Buddhist modernism, his own spiritual and philosophical journey, and why he is, in fact, not a Buddhist.
Start your day with a fresh perspective
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.