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Buddhist Spiritual Practices: Thinking with Pierre Hadot on Buddhism, Philosophy, and the Path

Buddhist Spiritual Practices: Thinking with Pierre Hadot on Buddhism, Philosophy, and the Path


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Buddhist Spiritual Practices is a collection of integrated essays that applies Pierre Hadot’s well-known approach to philosophy to Buddhist thought. Hadot maintained that philosophy in the Hellenistic period was understood as a form of spiritual practice—a guide to a way of life. These essays, written by prominent Buddhist scholars, demonstrate that Buddhist philosophy can fruitfully be analyzed in line with Hadot’s insights, and that doing so can contribute to contemporary discussions of the purpose of education and the role of spirituality in philosophical discourse. A must read for anyone interested in the current state of philosophy and Buddhism’s place within the academic curriculum. It will also appeal to historians, students of religion, and anyone interested in the deeper aims of education. An extensive bibliography of works by and on Hadot, Buddhist sources, and other secondary literature complete the book.



Publication Date



Mangalam Press


Berkeley, CA


Buddhist Studies | Philosophy | Religion


Description, cover image, and reviews courtesy of Mangalam Press.

Chapters made available by permission of the publisher.

Subject Areas

Hadot, Pierre -- Criticism and interpretation; Buddhism

Author/Editor Bio

David Fiordalis is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Linfield College. He holds a Ph.D. in Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Michigan, an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and a B.A. in Asian Studies from Carleton College.


"The Western reception of Buddhism has long been tied in knots over the seemingly intractable question: is it a religion or a philosophy? French philosopher Pierre Hadot’s constructive redeployment of Ignatius Loyola’s ideal of “spiritual exercise” has therefore been seen as offering a welcome way to cut through the dilemma. The present volume, whose seven chapters skillfully explore the prospects for developing Hadot’s thought within Buddhist Studies, represents a valuable new contribution to this important discussion." - Matthew T. Kapstein, Director of Tibetan Studies, École Practique des Hautes Études, Paris; Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies, The University of Chicago Divinity School.

"This fine volume of new essays—some by established and influential scholars of Buddhism, and some by rising stars in Buddhist Studies—explores the value of Pierre Hadot’s work for understanding the relationship between philosophy and religious practice in the Buddhist world, and for understanding the enterprise of Buddhist Studies itself. The authors call upon us to look anew at the relationship between Buddhist philosophy and spiritual practice, and between Buddhism and Buddhist Studies." - Jay L. Garfield, Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy, Logic and Buddhist Studies, Smith College; Visiting Professor of Buddhist Philosophy, Harvard Divinity School

"This welcome and timely collection captures a cultural moment in which academics in the disciplines of Buddhist Studies and Philosophy can, thanks to the work of the French philosopher Pierre Hadot, become partners in a dialogue between Buddhist thought and practice and the ancient Western conception of philosophy as a way of life." - Michael McGhee, Honorary Senior Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool.

Buddhist Spiritual Practices: Thinking with Pierre Hadot on Buddhism, Philosophy, and the Path