We’re joined this week by Comparative Religion scholar and Buddhist teacher Rita Gross. Rita shares how she got into Buddhist practice, first studying deeply in the Shambhala tradition and then in the last several years with the Tibetan Nun Jetün Khandro Rinpoche.
Rita goes on to speak extensively on the value of studying religion, both as a comparative endeavor and also from the perspective of history. She speaks about the vital insights of the Western European Enlightenment and how the values of rationality and tolerance can imbue our study of Buddhism. She speaks about the types of confusion, sectarianism, and fundamentalism which can reign supreme without this comparative mirror, and urges Buddhist practitioners to learn the clear difference between traditional narratives–the story that tradition tells us–and historical narratives–what a camcorder would record if it were sent back in time. She wraps up our conversation by pointing out that the study of Buddhist history also reveals an incredibly continuity across traditions, and also suggests that we might be at the cusp of a proliferation of Buddhist thought that hasn’t been experienced since 7th century India.
Rita M. Gross ( http://ritamgross.com )
“Buddhist History for Buddhist Practitioners” ( http://www.tricycle.com/feature/buddhist-history-buddhist-practitioners )
Naropa University ( http://www.naropa.edu )
Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khandro_Rinpoche )
Buddhism After Patriarchy ( http://amzn.to/qo1yxp )