Join the University of Arizona Center for Buddhist Studies for our
Pu Yin Lecture Series Fall 2021 No. 1
PERFECTION OF WISDOM AND THE CORONATION SACRIFICE: EMPTINESS AS POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
Prof. Joseph Walser, Department of Religion, Tufts University
Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 4:00 PM Mountain Standard Time
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There is a tendency within Buddhist studies – especially its philosophical wing – to represent the rarified abstractions of Buddhist philosophers as far removed from the political machinations of court and kingdom. From this perspective, there could be nothing more apolitical than the Buddhist doctrine of emptiness coming out of the Perfection of Wisdom corpus. Through a close look at the early development of the Perfection of Wisdom, Prof. Walser shows that its authors were concerned to establish what Charlene Makley has called a “politics of the apolitical” in securing a place for Buddhist Brahmins within the new sacrificial order of the Srauta coronation sacrifices.
Joseph Walser is Associate Professor of Religion at Tufts University, Medford MA. He works on Mahayana Buddhism and has published two books: Nagarjuna in Context: Mahayana Buddhism and Early Indian Culture (Columbia University Press, 2005) and more recently Genealogies of Mahayana Buddhism: Emptiness, Power and the Question of Origin (Routledge, 2018).