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"Eastern" Philosophy Study Group

Here it is! The long-awaited for reading club for eastern philosophy is coming soon. Please indicate when during the week you can come when you RSVP for this. We will start with one of the Upanishads (not sure which yet), The "Bhagavad Gita", the "Yogas Sutras" of Patanjali and then some Buddhism. All the readings will be easily available online, and no translations will be specified. Please note: the long delay is starting this is not due to lack of interest on my part or on the part of Western philosophers in general. Since William James heard Swami Vivekananda speak in 1893, Eastern philosophy has been embraced by some of the most prominent thinkers including James, Heidegger, MLK, and recently Charles Taylor, Owen Flanagan, Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, etc.. That being said, it will still take many years for the import of this exchange to become clear, and many issues are still up in the air.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks to Adam for organizing. I guess my only comment for a topic like this is it's going to be tricky to arrange the right tone for the discussion. Some people are coming at the topic devotionally, and understandably so, as the Gita one of the world's great works. Others, such as myself, are more used to say a secular, but sympathetic treatment of such a subject, say along the lines of a Badiou for St. Paul or Zizek's "materialist" takes on Christianity. (Even Zizek's commentaries on Buddhism can fit the bill, if one isn't put off by the immersion in post-modernist references.) Anyways, I guess we'll have to see how the program develops.

    October 27, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      While sympathetic to spiritual readings, I am very keen to hear about Badiou and Zizek. It will be pleasure to meet you.

      November 17, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi Ron, I don't have a whole lot of knowledge on Badiou and Zizek, other than the little I've read. But let me say this. I think if we, as Canadians, can work toward a society where the dignity of every individual is paramount, and where a system of governance which is transparent and accountable exists to serve the people and not hide behind legalisms and pursue its own agenda, then I think we will have contributed in a small way to something valuable indeed. It's going to take a lot of work and everyone pulling together, but as my friend Thomas Ponniah would say, "Another world is possible!"

      November 17, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Any idea when the next meeting will be? I'm keen to get started.

    October 30, 2012

  • Richard

    Fascinating topic, thanks Adam. But the Royal Oak is way too noisy for enjoyable discussion.

    October 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Could not hear most of the discussion

    October 26, 2012

  • Dr S. Ranga S.

    not bad. people were somewhat understandably skeptical

    October 26, 2012

  • Adam V.

    I am working far out of town Thursday, so I may be a few minutes late. I reserved the basement, so meet there unless they kick us out. In that case, claim a table upstairs. Now when I say "may be a few minutes late" what I mean is that there is a slightly elevated chance (~20%) of me being a few minutes late. Actually, it is more likely that I will be early, but I just want people to not freak out and run away after 15m.

    October 24, 2012

  • Dr S. Ranga S.

    I am knowledgeable about the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. I will be glad to attend. Thanks.

    October 24, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Good day: I am very happy and interested in taking part of such group... I can't come October 25 unfortunately. When you say :All the readings will be easily available online", does it mean that you will help provide documents to read before a meeting ? I don't know a lot about eastern philosphy...

    October 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I find the vedic texts interesting as they are one if not the oldest record of philosophy know to man. It is interest to see if we are even able to understand their ideas back then and whether they are still applicable to the modern world. If I had the money to fly out to this meetup I would come all the way from the other coast to discuss such ideas! I find it fascinating! It would be great to have open discussions about such ideas!

    October 19, 2012

  • Adam V.

    Here is a little bit of a dharma talk about the Bhagavad Gita by my old guru, Swami Satchidananda. This is how he looked when I lived at Yogaville, and he would come out for Satsang on Saturday night.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbAf5zkiojw&feature=BFa&list=PLED41F497463C6960

    October 16, 2012

  • Adam V.

    Here is the start of a nice lecture by Dr. Beth Sperry about the Bhagavad Gita: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_cam528uF8&feature=endscreen

    I have already watched parts one through four, and I like it a lot.

    October 16, 2012

  • Adam V.

    The Bhagavad Gita in ten minutes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCIBN-UJAeU

    This is from Peter Brook's "Mahabharata", and shows the part of this epic which forms the "Bhagavad Gita". My guru used to tell stories from this epic to illustrate points of dharma.

    October 16, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi Adam, Looking fwd to this discuss. Just a question for you. Do you really find Phillips' piece more convincing than the equivalent of a kind of modified God of the gaps argument? (From my reading of his ch. 1, all I could find online) he supports 'backward' causation because it seems pragmatic for him to do so. As far as the lack of connectivity in Cartesian dualism, does he address the same issue vis-a-vis neo-Platonic theories?

    October 8, 2012

    • Adam V.

      No, I'm still a naturalistic yogi. Since consciousness exists, it must be adaptive and thus amenable to a functionalist explanation.

      October 8, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi Adam, Looking fwd to this discuss. Just a question for you. Do you really find Phillips' piece more convincing than the equivalent of a kind of modified God of the gaps argument? (From my reading of his ch. 1, all I could find online) he supports 'backward' causation because it seems pragmatic for him to do so. As far as the lack of connectivity in Cartesian dualism, does he address the same issue vis-a-vis neo-Platonic theories?

    October 8, 2012

  • Adam V.

    Our first reading will be the first few (at least 6) chapters of the Bhagavad Gita. There are numerous versions of the available online, but I would recommend the public library for a more readable version with some good commentary. On the side, I will be reading "Yoga, Karma and Rebirth" by Stephen Phillips, who defends a robust form of supernaturalism and explains the philosophy behind a typical yoga class. Excellent!

    October 6, 2012

  • Rhona

    I am very interested in this, and am generally available on Tues or Thurs evenings.

    September 30, 2012

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