Imagining Paradises: Invoking Blissful Abodes

Luis Gómez, Professor Emeritus of Buddhist Studies, University of Michigan

HCBSS Forum: Exploring the Buddha Fields. The word "paradise" may evoke a heavenly place to be experienced as just reward for a life of piety and virtue (or through the grace of a superior spiritual power); traditionally, it has been understood as a concrete location experienced by the senses. Buddhist traditions have such conceptions of paradise. And they have also conceptions similar to our contemporary view of paradise as a metaphor for a state of mind. But, whatever our theological preferences, we cannot ignore the role of imagination, memory and naming and calling in creating a believer's expectation of a place or condition better than the ones we know in our daily lives. This lecture will explore some of the ways in which Buddhist texts create such expectations.

Thursday, November 05, 2009 | 5:15 pm — 7:00 pm
Encina Hall West - Room 208

Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford