"What is most important is the recognition of our common spiritual experience and the mutual willingness to speak of it on someone else's terms, remembering that there are as many ways to live life as there are people on the planet!" (The Music of Life, p. 5)
Spirituality / World Religions
The Music of Life: Becoming an Instrument of Nature (1998) by Michael-James B. Weaver. Life Theory is an original language study loosely modeled after music theory, in which I syncretize the world's major religions into a common synonymy of everyday words, in an attempt to map out their underlying psychology. Imagined as an interfaith dialogue, it is a cosmic chorus of voices from multiple disciplines: anthropology, brain science, ecology, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, and spirituality. I liken it to a 21st-century Tao Te Ching... Topics include comparative religion, linguistics, and logic. (108 pages. Revised April 26th, 2021.)
Context is for Kings: Is the Amplified Bible Guilty of Illegitimate Totality Transfer? (2020) by Michael-James B. Weaver. In this paper, I have collected more than two dozen published and self-published descriptions of illegitimate totality transfer and many of them mention the Amplified Bible in their discussion. Leaving no stone unturned, I looked up books, blogs, podcasts, Youtube videos, you name it. However, after amassing more than 100 pages on the topic, I am still left wondering what exactly the problem is in the Amplified Bible. It has been my experience working on this project during the past 10 months that all of its amplifications have checked out, namely being found in contemporary commentaries. Topics include Biblical exegesis, hermeneutics, and apologetics. (108 pages. Revised May 7th, 2021.)
Authors cited: James Barr, Darrell Bock, Robert Bradshaw, Donald Carson, Peter Cotterell, Hermann Cremer, David Croteau, Rodney Decker, Matthew DeMoss, David Dewey, Justin Dillehay, Walter Dunnett, J. Scott Duvall, Dan Fabricatore, Gordon Fee, Luke Geraty, Michael Gorman, George Guthrie, J. Daniel Hays, Michael Heiser, Edward Klink, Andreas, Köstenberger, Darian Lockett, Johannes Louw, James Martin, Ryan Martin, Benjamin Merkle, Grant Osborne, Luke Plant, Robert Plummer, Rhyne Putman , Ron Rhodes, Chris, Rosebrough, Melissa Scott, Moisés Silva, Sam Storms, Mark Strauss, Anthony Thiselton, Max Turner, Petrus J. van Dyk, James Voelz, Mark Ward, Shawn Wilson, and Andy Woods.
Empty Mountains: Finding the Middle Way (2001) by Konchog Nyima. A Christian-Buddhist debate, centered on Buddha's two-fold middle way between extremes. Organized by topic, this book presents an interfaith dialogue of sorts that describes (in their own words) how many fundamentalist Christians misperceive Buddhism, and how Buddhists might have responded (again, in their own words). Topics include nirvana, selflessness, and reincarnation. Under way is a new section compiling various 'emptiness' teachings as found in Biblical hermeneutics literature, a potential nexus for interfaith dialogue.(72 pages. Revised February 15th, 2021.)
All the Flowers I Normally See: Validating Kadampa Buddhist Teachings on Faith, Love & Wisdom, by Comparison with Other Buddhist Traditions (2008) by Kelsang Tsondru. A portfolio of essays investigating common, easily-debunked doctrinal criticisms made against the New Kadampa Tradition. In 2019, I added a new 20-page essay on the subject of mindfulness in Kadampa Buddhism, citing Dzogchen, Mahayana, and Theravadin sources to confirm what Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has previously said: "The Dharma is the same"! The text itself is modeled after Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. Other topics include Guru devotion, Dharma Protectors, and emptiness. (108 pages. Revised July 28th, 2020.)
A Festival of Attainments: Understanding Kadampa Ordination, with Reference to Historical Precedents in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism (2011) by Kelsang Tsondru & Konchog Nyima. A Rimé (non-sectarian) approach to explaining 37 difficult points regarding Kadampa ordination vows, using only non-NKT quotes by Indian and Tibetan Lamas. (I even tracked down where Buddha Shakyamuni himself taught that ordination vows can continue past death, as recorded in the Tibetan canon.) Ten new pages of material were added in the past year, including new appendices. Topics include karma, the Vinaya, and avijnaptirupa. (65 pages. Revised May 6th, 2021.)
Triumphalism in Tibetan Buddhism: Accepting the Victory & Offering Defeat (2010) by Michael Weaver, Kelsang Tsondru, & Konchog Nyima. Research notes on the philosophical debate behind the Dorje Shugden Controversy. In particular, I recommend the two-page appendix Social Boycotts vs. Social Discrimination (pp. 94-95), in which George Takei shows why the Tibetan Government-in-Exile is on the wrong side of history when it comes to religious bans. Topics include religious freedom, the tetralemma, and polemics. (108 pages. Revised May 14th, 2020.)
Please note: The different author names used indicate the perspective from which I am writing: Michael Weaver (syncretist), Konchog Nyima (Kagyu Buddhist), and Kelsang Tsondru (Gelug Buddhist).
"I initially conceived the Matrix as a kind of Rosetta Stone for spirituality, psychology, and philosophy. Early on, my world religions professor remarked that Life Theory was "a remarkable attempt at syncretism." Using a multidisciplinary approach, it is my hope to show that they do all paint with the same colors, sing the same song, share the same love, and can even live in the same world." (The Music of Life, p. 11)
© 1998-2021 Michael-James B. Weaver