Speaker Series: Buddhist Meditation as Technology and the Effects of Modernity



Speaker Series: Buddhist Meditation as Technology and the Effects of Modernity


Fri., Mar 31 2017 - 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM



Please join Prof. Kate Crosby for two talks about Buddhist Meditation as Technology and the Effects of Modernity.

Please register here to join us for these free events.

This lecture series will look at the key features of the form of Theravada meditation that dominated much of Southeast Asia prior to the popularity of Vipassanā. That ‘traditional’ or ‘old’ form, as it came to be called in the light of the newer Vipassanā, uses techniques to induce change recognizable from other technologies: pharmaceuticals, obstetrics, chemistry (alchemy) and generative grammar. What happened when, under the influence of colonialism and modernity, these other technologies changed? How has our understanding of meditation practice been affected by an implicit assumption that the process of adopting modernity is acultural, from less civilized and less technologically advanced to more civilized and more advanced.

Kate Crosby is Professor of Buddhist Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College, London. She has previously held posts at the universities of Edinburgh, Lancaster, Cardiff and SOAS, London, as well as visiting posts at the Buddhist Institute, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; McGill in Montreal and Dongguk University, S. Korea. She was educated at the universities of Oxford, Hamburg and Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar. She works on Sanskrit, Pali and Pali-vernacular literature, and on Theravada practice in the pre-modern and modern periods. She has conducted fieldwork in most Theravada countries and particularly enjoys the opportunities she has had to collaborate with local and traditional scholars. Books by her include Santideva’s Bodhicaryavatara: Buddhist Path to Awakening, Oxford University Press 1995, with Andrew Skilton; The Dead of Night & the Women, New York University Press and JJC Foundation, 2009; Traditional Theravada Meditation and its Modern Era Suppression, Buddha-Dharma Centre of Hong Kong 2013, and Theravada Buddhism: Continuity, Diversity, Identity, Blackwell-Wiley, 2014. She is co-editor of the international peer-review journal Contemporary Buddhism. She is currently working on the varying responses to modernity across a range of Theravada practices and countries.

This event is co-sponsored by the Nelson Family Lectures on Southeast Asia.
Please note, there is a second more specialized talk entitled "Preconceptions, Secrecy and Access: the challenges of pursuing Practice in pre-reform Theravada Meditation" on March 30 (Thu), 6:30-8:00 pm at MRY 115. 
*Advanced registration preferred but not required. If the event reaches capacity, registered guests will have first seating priority.  In the case of unforeseen event changes, we will be sure to communicate to all registered guests.