Speculative Non-Buddhism

ruins of the buddhist real

Posts Tagged ‘cognitive science’

Buddhists of Oz?

Posted by Glenn Wallis on May 19, 2011

Do Buddhist teachers in North America affect thaumaturgy? If so–and, bear with me; this is not meant as a nasty question–how would they compare to the Wizard of Oz? With the aid of high sensory pageantry and other catalyzing paraphernalia, the Wizard of Oz affected wonder-working powers. Do North American Buddhist teachers do so as well? (See links to movie clips at the very end of this post.)

Recent research in cognitive science, suggests that they do. The evidence suggests, however, that they do so in subtle, barely discernible, ways. In the article that I present for you here, “Exploring the Natural Foundations of Religion,” Justin Barrett presents evidence that “the cultural phenomenon typically labeled as ‘religion,’ may be understood as the product of aggregated ordinary cognition.” Barrett asks, for example, whether God concepts are really all that different from guerrilla concepts, or whether performing a religious ritual is fundamentally different from sending a greeting card to a friend. Read the rest of this entry »

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