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The most immediate and obvious connection between existentialism and Buddhism is the recognition of anguish and despair as being at the heart of the human condition. Buddhism speaks about this as dukkha and existentialism as the experience of angst. Both Buddhists and existentialists are interested in the nature of freedom, self, conditioning, being-with-Others, meaning and meaninglessness. So what does existentialism have to offer for the Buddhist practitioner?
This course l examines existential approaches that enhance, illuminate and sometimes disagree with Buddhist approaches to many of the issues mentioned. Reading Buddhism through the lens of existentialism, and vice versa, can help us gain a clarity into the important complementarity of both approaches in the contemporary world.
Sessions will consist of introductions to key themes, discussions and questions.