The Buddha’s Middle Way - Experiential Judgement in his Life and Teaching - Robert M. Ellis

The Buddha’s Middle Way - Experiential Judgement in his Life and Teaching - Robert M. Ellis

The Middle Way in the Buddha’s Ministry

The Buddha’s Middle Way - Experiential Judgement in his Life and Teaching - Robert M. Ellis

Robert M. Ellis [+-]
Middle Way Society
Robert M Ellis has a Ph.D. in Philosophy and a Cambridge BA in Oriental Studies and Theology. Originally from a Christian background, he spent about 20 years practising Buddhism, including as a member of the Triratna Order. However, he now describes himself as a Middle Way practitioner without exclusive loyalty to any one religious tradition. Over the last 20 years he has developed Middle Way Philosophy, initially in his Ph.D. thesis. This is best described as a practical and integrative philosophical approach, incorporating many elements not only from Buddhism but also from psychology, neuroscience, and other aspects of Western thought. In 2013 he founded the Middle Way Society (www.middlewaysociety.org) to develop and apply Middle Way Philosophy beyond the limitations of the Buddhist tradition, both in theory and practice. Robert has earned a living for more than 20 years as a teacher and tutor of philosophy and related subjects. He has previously published both academic and introductory books about Middle Way Philosophy, and recently a parallel book on Christianity, ‘The Christian Middle Way’.

Description

This section continues the pragmatic interpretation of stories of the Buddha’s life, focusing on selected aspects of his later approach that illustrate the application of the Middle Way. The Buddha’s decision to teach in his own right reflects the provisionality and incrementality of his Middle Way, avoiding any absolutisation in response to the huge difficulties in communicating it. His first address to others begins with the Middle Way, and it is argued that the Middle Way is needed to interpret the Four Noble Truths in the remainder. The Buddha’s mode of teaching through his career was consistent with his recognition of the autonomy of the individual, each of whom needed to find the Middle Way in their own experience rather than by merely accepting an abstraction. The Buddha’s response to political conflicts suggests a simple extension of the integrative practice he offers to individuals, and a recognition of a variety of ideological values without absolutisation of any of them. As he approaches death, the Buddha manages to strike a balance both in his response to imminent death, and in the degree of responsibility he tries to take for his legacy.

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Citation

Ellis, Robert. The Middle Way in the Buddha’s Ministry. The Buddha’s Middle Way - Experiential Judgement in his Life and Teaching. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 50-93 May 2019. ISBN 9781781798201. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=36783. Date accessed: 21 Nov 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.36783. May 2019

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