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Lecture, 10/2

Originally Posted on admin, October 2, 2009

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Lecture, 10/2: “Reason and Insight in Tibetan Buddhism”

Who:     Louis Hunt, Associate Professor, Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy, James Madison College, Michigan State University

What:    Dean’s Lecture and Concert Series

Title:      “Reason and Insight in Tibetan Buddhism”

Where:   Great Hall, Peterson Student Center, St. John’s College

When:     Friday, October 2, 8:00 p.m.

Details:   This lecture is free of charge, open to the public, and followed by a question-and-answer period.

This lecture addresses the role of reason in Tibetan Buddhism. The primary goal of the lecture is to demonstrate, through an examination of Tsong Khapa’s “Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment” (1402), perhaps the most seminal work in Tibetan Buddhist thought, that the mainstream of Tibetan Buddhism regards the use of reason and rational analysis not as an obstacle to enlightenment but as a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for its achievement. For Tsong Khapa (1357-1419), the path to enlightenment requires both intellectual analysis and meditative practice. This lecture will examine both the tension between meditation and analysis and Tsong Khapa’s attempt to reconcile the two within the framework of his account of the Buddhist path to enlightenment.

This is the sixth lecture in the Fall 2009 Dean’s Lecture and Concert Series. Open to the community, the free lectures offer an opportunity to explore a deeper reading of books in the St. John’s Program as well as other topics.

Louis Hunt is associate professor in political theory and constitutional democracy at James Madison College, Michigan State University. Hunt earned his doctorate in political science at Boston College. He was a Fulbright Graduate Fellow at the University of Erlangen in Germany (1987-1988) and an Olin Fellow in Political Theory (1995-1996). His scholarly work has addressed Kantian and Hegelian political philosophy, the Scottish Enlightenment, problems of modern civil society, and the idea of spontaneous order in Friedrich Hayek’s economic and political thought. Hunt’s current research focuses on the place of political philosophy in the Buddhist tradition. He was a visiting scholar at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, India, in fall 2008.