Take Note >>

Traditional Buddhist cosmology is topic of 'Creation' talk Oct. 7

By Leslie King | Emory Report | Oct. 7, 2014

Buddhist concepts of the origin of the universe and "world-making" will be the topic of a talk at the Michael C. Carlos Museum.

John D. Dunne, associate professor of religion in Emory College of Arts and Sciences, will deliver a lecture entitled "Delusion or Compassion? World-Making in Buddhist Philosophy, Practice and Art" on Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in museum’s reception hall.

Traditional Buddhist cosmology imagines a beginningless multiverse of diverse "world systems," known as lokadhātu, created by the conscious minds that inhabit them, Dunne says.

These worlds are said to be distorted by the confused perspectives of those minds, but another possibility emerges: the creation of "Awakened Fields," or buddhakṣetra, that arise not from confusion, but from the wise compassion of enlightened beings.

These alternative modes of world-making figure prominently in Buddhist art, Dunne says. He will discuss how these worlds are articulated not only artistically, but also in Buddhist thought and practice.

This lecture is part of Emory's Creation Stories project, a year of events at the Carlos Museum that will include exhibitions, gallery tours, the book club, children's activities and talks.