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In this episode, we speak with Dr. Maria Heim about her beginnings as a scholar of classical South Asia, the role of commentaries in Buddhism, and the importance of emotions to the Buddhist path. We also preview her upcoming online course, BSO 202 | Visuddhimagga: The Path of Purification, which will focus on this important Theravada text written by Buddhaghosa in the 5th century and cherished by Buddhists ever since. We discuss Buddhaghosa's theory of the Buddha's speech as endlessly meaningful, and what that means for how we might read Buddhist texts ourselves.
Dr. Maria Heim is George Lyman Crosby 1896 & Stanley Warfield Crosby Professor in Religion at Amherst College. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 1999, and was honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. She currently chairs the Department of Religion at Amherst.
Heim works on Sanskrit and Pali textual traditions. She has written three books on Buddhaghosa (The Forerunner of All Things: Buddhaghosa on Mind, Intention, and Agency, Oxford, 2014; Voice of the Buddha: Buddhaghosa on the Immeasurable Words, Oxford 2018; and Buddhist Ethics, Cambridge, 2020). She is currently working on emotions in ancient and classical India, and her most recent book, A Treasury of Emotions from Classical India, is forthcoming from Princeton University Press. She is also translating the Milindapañha for the Murty Classical Library of India.
Referenced in the Episode