ABSTRACTThis article analyzes the moral-psychological stakes of Jay Garfield's reading of Buddhist ethics as moral phenomenology and applies that thesis to the pedagogical mechanisms of the Tibetan Buddhist lojong tradition. I argue that moral phenomenology requires that the practitioner work on a part of her subjectivity not ordinarily accessible to agential action: the phenomenological structures that condition experience. This makes moral phenomenology a highly ambitious ethical project. I turn to lojong as an example of a Buddhist practice that claims to (...) accomplish this ambitious task. As a training toward the ethical ideal of bodhicitta, lojong utilizes practices of meditation and contemplation to disrupt the habitual, affective responses that arise from the conventional phenomenological orientation to the world, replacing them with imagined responses of radically compassionate altruism. This ultimately inculcates a transformation of the phenomenological structures that underlie both ethical action and conscious experience, fulfilling the aim of moral phenomenology. (shrink)
In this article I examine views of groundlessness that appear in three very different philosophical traditions: bardo teachings in Tibetan Buddhism, Michel Foucault's heterotopia, and Gloria Anzaldúa's nepantla. While each of these concepts is formulated in response to specific psychological, philosophical, and political questions, I argue that they each describe—in intimate, first-personal terms—experiences of rupture or dissolution of one's own selfhood and/or thought. Using this formulation of groundlessness as a lens for reading these three concepts alongside one another, I offer (...) a descriptive analysis of each of them, drawing out the moral-psychological ramifications of the nonfoundationalist claim that there is no fundamental “ground” to subjectivity or thought. I argue that bardos, heterotopias, and nepantla each exemplify how the rupture of groundless experience can become a vehicle for moral-psychological transformation by serving as an opportunity to recognize the pliability and spaciousness of a dynamic and unfixed selfhood. (shrink)
Bruce Janz, Jessica Locke, and Cynthia Willett interact in this exchange with different aspects of Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad’s book Human Being, Bodily Being. Through “constructive inter-cultural thinking”, they seek to engage with Ram-Prasad’s “lower-case p” phenomenology, which exemplifies “how to think otherwise about the nature and role of bodiliness in human experience”. This exchange, which includes Ram-Prasad’s reply to their interventions, pushes the reader to reflect more about different aspects of bodiliness.