So, I am home after 10 days in hospital and a bit of a scare. I am now on the mend and should hopefully return to full health within the next three months. I have to say that the hospital care I received in Italy has been fantastic and was a reminder of how important a National Health Service is. I discovered that the cardiology department in Trieste is one of the best in Europe too. The idea that a person would be denied the care I received because of an inability to pay is astonishing and in my view thoroughly immoral.
Being so vulnerable and so reliant on others is a fascinating and destabilizing experience. Being in hospital was also a deeply moving experience, not only for my own suffering and the difficulties I faced and shared with my wife and family, but in seeing my fellow humans in various stages of frailty, decay and differing degrees of vicinity to death. The care with which the doctors and nurses and auxiliary staff treated each and every one that I came into contact with was profoundly touching. Staying in hospital is like living in a different time zone, an alien place in which many of the normal rules of life simply vanish and even the staff acknowledge that this experience of time and place was similar for them. The experience was similar in many ways to being in prison or in a monastery too, and I feel like I was released after serving a sentence; one that was to be paid to those gods that remind us of our mortality in the most explicit of ways.
The podcast will now start up again. The break was relatively short for you listeners but it happened in the middle of several projects taking place. The next three interviews share a similar theme, which is the meeting of Buddhist Modernism with what comes after, including critiques of Buddhist Modernism, reactions to it, and the attempts to give sense to something else. The three guests that participate in this exploration are Scott Mitchell, David L. McMahan, and Ann Gleig. Each is commenting on the contemporary Buddhist landscape, starting with America, and then spreading outwards. Scott comes on first and he and I had a fun conversation, which exceeded my expectations, in which we bridge Buddhism from America to Europe to the rest of the world in a way which I think is rather productive. I then talk to David about his work since The Making of Buddhist Modernism. He’s written some rather interesting work since and we look at the relationship he sees between a variety of thinkers operating after modernity. The interview with Ann still has to take place and will cover her new book, American Dharma: Buddhism beyond modernity. The interview with Scott will be up very, very soon.
There will also be a short Incite seminars interview with A. K. Thompson in the middle of the three above.
A month off of work should give me a bit of time to start thinking about a book I’ve been meaning to write. I’ve no idea if people bother reading books any more, but I’ve got one which I think is rather important. If family life, and life more generally, permits, I shall start putting something together.
Finally, I put together a Patreon page if anybody’s interested in throwing a bit of coin at the podcast. The link can be found below.