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

Interpreting the Eightfold Path

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 surveys the dependence of the practical path on the Middle Way, which is needed for its helpful interpretation. The Eightfold Path provides one possible way of describing the practice of integration, with all elements needing to be treated as incremental and interdependent. In the sphere of meditation, concentration and mindfulness need to be held in balance, without either being absolutised against the other, whilst right effort involves a further awareness to ‘tune the lute’. In ethical practice, the precepts need to be interpreted as part of the wider path and not absolutised as ends in themselves. This includes not repressing our awareness of others as persons. Thus the Middle Way is required to interpret Buddhist ethical injunctions. In relation to wisdom, right view and right aspiration are interdependent, and require combined intuitive, cognitive and emotive engagement with the Middle Way rather than just ‘knowledge’ of Buddhist doctrines.

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Citation

Ellis, Robert. Interpreting the Eightfold Path. The Buddha’s Middle Way - Experiential Judgement in his Life and Teaching. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 170-192 May 2019. ISBN 9781781798201. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=36786. Date accessed: 24 Jun 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.36786. May 2019

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