The most recently released IBS Podcast episode is a lecture by UC Chico’s Daniel Veidlinger, and it’s quite good. His overall project is to examine how changes in technology effect the way Buddhism is practiced, and, in this case, he’s looking at the transition from a predominately oral and aural culture to a culture dominated by the written word in ancient South and South East Asia. In other words, the basic question is, what effect did this new invention of writing have on the early Buddhist communities? The answers may surprise you. Or, maybe they won’t, but either way the talk is well worth watching.
I’ll also point out that Prof. Veidlinger is scheduled to present a paper at the Buddhism without Borders conference next March here in Berkeley. His interest in how new communications technology effects the practice of Buddhism is shifted from the textual study of ancient Buddhism to, you guessed it, the Internets. His question is the same only replace “writing” with “the Web,” and if his lecture this past month is any indication of his scholarship and oratory skills, his March paper should be pretty damn good, too.
In other, completely unrelated news, my lovely and talented wife, a force of unrelenting good in this world, is doing a 10K run to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For those who don’t know, St. Jude’s hospitals do research to prevent childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases. So, you know, also damn good work but of a different sort than historical/textual scholarship.
At any rate, her goal is to raise $500, the race is in a couple of weeks, and you should consider giving what you can. I know that there’s a plethora of charitable causes out there, and I know that we’re all pretty broke nowadays; but I also know that if enough people gave just a couple of bucks, that would add up to a whole pile of cash at the end of the day. And, hey, if you felt compelled to give a micro-payment to the Buddhist Geeks podcast, just think of this as micro-payment to Jizo!