Buddhist studies, buddhist practice and the trope of authenticity
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In conversation, in the lecture hall, in the Dharma centre and in the public teaching, Buddhists and students of Buddhism worry about authenticity. Is the doctrine defended in a particular text or is a particular textual interpretation authentic? Is a particular teacher authentic? Is a particular practice authentic? Is a phenomenon under examination in a scholarly research project authentically Buddhist? If the doctrine, teacher, practice or phenomenon is not authentically Buddhist, we worry that it is a fraud, that our scholarship, teaching or religious life is vacuous, or at least that it is not really Buddhist studies or Buddhist practice. It is hard for me to remember a conversation of any length with a Western or Tibetan colleague, or with a serious advanced student in which the term “authenticity” or a cognate did not arise, and in which that term did not function as a term of approbation.
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