Buddhism and the Perils of Advocacy


  • Ian Reader University of Manchester




This article raises problems with the use of advocacy in Buddhist Studies, and critiques those who bring their Buddhist beliefs into the classroom and into their research. It argues that the foundations of the academic discipline (Religious Studies) within which Buddhist Studies is located are grounded in the search for an objective, non-confessional approach to the study of religion, one that distinguishes Religious Studies from Theology, and that this perspective is what gives the field its integrity. It cites examples of the problems that occur in teaching and research when such objectivity is replaced by confessional approaches, and provides an example from another field (the study of new religious movements) in which immense problems have occurred because some scholars have become advocates rather than analysts, to warn of the problems that can arise when confessional approaches become a dominant field paradigm.

Author Biography

Ian Reader, University of Manchester

School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures


How to Cite

Reader, Ian. 2015. “Buddhism and the Perils of Advocacy”. Journal of Global Buddhism 9 (February):83-112. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1307132.



Research Articles