You Gotta Watch This…

Charles Prebish

I’ve blogged before about Utah State University’s wonderful Charles Prebish, who is (among many other things) effectively the Dean of the Study of Buddhism in North America. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the absolutely essential, must-reads Luminous Passage: The Practice and Study of Buddhism in America and Buddhist Monastic Discipline: The Sanskrit Prātimoksạ Sūtras of the Mahāsāmg̣hikas and Mūlasarvāstivādins. In addition, he is the co-founder of The Journal of Buddhist Ethics, the Buddhism Section of the American Academy of Religion, and Routledge’s “Critical Studies in Buddhism” series. Most recently, he was very deservedly honored with the “festschrift” Buddhist Studies from India to America: Essays in Honor of Charles S. Prebish in 2005, which acknowledges the tremendous debt our field owes him for all of his efforts.

Chuck, whom I had the great pleasure to meet at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting in San Diego in 2007 and today enjoy a lovely e-mail correspondence with, is retiring in December. His last academic presentation as “an employed scholar” was the keynote address at last month’s “Buddhism in Canada: Global Causes, Local Conditions” conference at the University of British Columbia: “The Swans Came to Canada Too: Looking Backward and Looking Forward”. The video of that address is below, and it’s an exceptional “state of the union” kind of talk about past and present trends in the study of Buddhism in North America.

Among other things, Chuck looks seriously at Buddhist blogs. In doing so, he ends up saying some really lovely things about this blog. I’m incredibly honored and flattered by his comments, especially since he’s been such a hero of mine as a young academic situated firmly in the “scholar-practitioner” category he defined. Anyway, if you want to skip ahead to the section of his talk on Buddhist blogs, click this link. Otherwise the entirety of his talk is below — and I strongly encourage everyone to watch it and (if you’re a blogger) blog your thoughts about it.