"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)
The Music of Life: Becoming an Instrument of Nature (1998) by Michael-James B. Weaver. Combining music theory with symbolic logic, Life Theory is an international "language for the hero's journey," invented to syncretize the world's major religions using a common synonymy of everyday words, in an attempt to map out their underlying psychology. Imagined as an interfaith dialogue, it is a worldwide spiritual symphony featuring 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, ecumenicism, and inspirational quotes. (108 pages. Revised December 7th, 2021.)
The following blogs are presented here for posterity, especially those doing academic research. I quite enjoyed the detective work while I was researching these, and I learned a lot! I remain peripherally interested in the following subjects and do update these periodically with newly-added material that I happen to come across. These writings are apologetic in nature; I often root for the underdog, especially anything I have ever put my own name behind. I describe these writings as a forced interfaith discussion between people who ordinarily would not want anything to do with each other!
Context is for Kings: Is the Amplified Bible Guilty of Illegitimate Totality Transfer? (2020) by Michael-James B. Weaver & Beverly R. Sutphin. Is language amplification a linguistic fallacy, the fool's gold of Bible interpretation? To answer this question, here is all you ever wanted to know about illegitimate totality transfer, an exegetical fallacy sometimes committed by those doing 'word studies'. This seminary-level debate features more than two dozen explanations of this fallacy, comparing various translations of nearly 100 Bible verses, using the Amplified Bible as a backdrop. Indeed, not only is the Amplified Bible on trial here—but the scholarship of its detractors as well, who proffer some mightily weak arguments. Cross-examining the experts has universally proven to be sacrilege and yet, by using his own words against him, the most-cited critic of the Amplified Bible—Mark Strauss—became the star witness for the defense! (See pages 112-121.) The whole issue is mapped out using symbolic logic. Topics include Christian theology, hermeneutics, and exegesis. (144 pages. Revised December 1st, 2022.)
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. (73 pages. March 8th, 2022.)
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 December 2nd, 2021.)
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 2020, including new appendices. This thesis has been cited in Sobisch (2020), Emory-Moore (2019), and Chabot (2019). Topics include karma, the Vinaya, and avijnaptirupa. (65 pages. Revised June 30th, 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.)
Sacred Monster: Living with a Child's Heart (2022) arranged by Michael Weaver. Coming new in 2023 is a biographical acccount of the spiritual life of Michael Jackson (1958-2009), featuring not only lyrics and quotes by the King of Pop, but also by those who knew him best such as Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer—both of whom described Michael as the most spiritual person they had ever met. Conceived as a sequel to Michael's autobiographical work Dancing the Dream, which Chopra described as "Aesop-like tales" about animals and music. Having been a big inspiration in my life, Michael Jackson is also quoted more often than any other person in my book The Music of Life. (18-page preview of 100+ planned pages. Revised January 30th, 2023.)
Editorial note: This bare-bones, no-frills website offers more than 600 pages of unique content: research notes, commentary, and appendices. I have no financial interest in these topics, and this is certainly not my day job. There is nothing for sale here, and no way to donate. There are no ads or visitor tracking. You would be hard pressed to even find an email address.
Cover photo credits: The Music of Life: James Wheeler, Context is for Kings: Dave Drost, Empty Mountains: unknown, All the Flowers I Normally See: OpenClipart, A Festival of Attainments: Prakasit John Khuansuwan, Trimphalism in Tibetan Buddhism: OpenClipart, Sacred Monster: Dilip Mehta
© 1998-2023 Michael-James B. Weaver