Common or Garden Dharma. Essays on Contemporary Buddhism, Volume 1 The emergence of e-books has created new opportunities for academic authors. Like many academics, there are a number of shorter works that I have published over the years for which I never signed away the electronic publishing rights - mostly because they didn't exist at the time!
Some of these started out as academic articles and have needed to be rewritten extensively to appeal to a broader audience. Others were always written in a more popular style, but were tucked away in newsletters that were not archived effectively, or appeared in now-defunct websites. A few were published in books that went out of print years ago.
I am making a few of these available as a free e-book on Smashwords. It does not include articles that can easily be found online, even if they are stuck behind a paywall. If you would like to see a volume 2 in this series, drop me a note: my email addresses are listed at the back of the book.
These essays have served their purpose: they appeared where they needed to appear, they were read by the people whom I needed to read them. They brought me to where I am today. So why dredge them up and rework them for a new audience?
Academics are funny creatures: most of us are used to working for below-average salaries, and we can labor on for years with no realistic hope of tenure. The one thing academics can't stand is being ignored, having no-one read their work. So, is this a vanity project? Why, yes, of course it is. I am a Buddhist. I never said I was a good one. This is an attempt to get my thoughts onto the perpetual backlist of e-books, my pathetic little shot at immortality. Thank you for participating!
The essays that follow are not arranged from oldest to newest. They don't pretend to form any sort of coherent whole. Each essay stands (or falls, more likely) on its own. Each one expressed my opinion at the time: I may have changed my mind since then, but you will have to wait for my new publications to find out. And here and there I have sneaked in something that doesn't deal with Buddhism at all, but which I still think is worth sharing.