The Emergence of Buddhist Critical-Constructive Reflection in the Academy as a Resource for Buddhist Communities and for the Contemporary World

John Makransky


Academic Buddhist Studies investigates historical and social conditions behind Buddhist formulations and institutions. Buddhists must appropriate these findings to establish their place in the modern world and to speak effectively within it. But many traditional Buddhist centers remain largely uninformed by such findings. Some academic scholars of Buddhism, who also practice Buddhism, are exploring new ways to serve both the critical interests of the modern academy and the constructive needs of their Buddhist communities in meeting the modern world. This new vehicle in the academy has been called “Buddhist critical-constructive reflection” or “Buddhist theology.” How might academic knowledge inform contemporary Buddhist understanding and practice? How might Buddhist understanding and practice help address current social needs and provide new insights into current issues? Buddhist critical-constructive reflection explores those questions.

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