Uprzejmie zapraszamy na wykład seminaryjny dr Jonathana Maira ze School of Anthropology and Conservation na University of Kent w dniu 16 kwietnia o godz. 10.00. Sala 2.19.

 

The Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology is delighted to host Dr Jonathan Mair, an Erasmus+ visiting fellow from the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent. Dr Mair will give a seminar talk on his recent research in Taiwan. Monday, April 16, 10.00, room 2.19, Collegium Historicum.

 

 


 

“Chan never leaves the human world”: What can Humanistic Buddhist ethics teach anthropology about transcendence and the everyday? 

 

This paper, is the result of collaborative research carried out with James Laidlaw on a popular Buddhist activity originating in Taiwan in the late 1980s. The ‘short-term monastic renunciation retreat’ is an opportunity for lay members of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist movement to experience the life of a Buddhist monk or nun for seven days. The structure of the event is built around the drama of taking vows of renunciation, living as a monastic then relinquishing the vows, or, to use the Chinese idiom, leaving home, then returning home again. The distinction between life at home (i.e. the life of a householder) and life outside of home (i.e. the life of a renunciate monastic) is constantly evoked, elaborated and explained. The distinction looks as though it could be usefully understood in terms of the distinction in the anthropology of ethics between everyday or ordinary ethics and the transcendent. However, as important as the householder/renouncer distinction may be in this context, it is also constantly called into question as part of the pedagogical process of the retreat. We take two conclusions from this observation. First, that as much as it looks like a classic form of ‘transcendent’ ethics on the terms established in the anthropology of ethics, it is actually nothing of the sort. Second, we think that the teachings of the organisation about the non-separation of the transcendent and the everyday are persuasive and that they undermine the use of the transcendental/everyday distinction in the anthropology of ethics and in the anthropology religion.

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