After 10 years at the helm, Suwanda Sugunasiri is stepping down as editor of the Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies. Here is his letter of retirement, and his launch of the search for a new editorial team to take the journal into its next decade… With many thanks for his years of countless contributions to the Buddhist community (and hopes that he will continue to contribute in many ways for years to come), we present his letter to you…
To: Canadian Professors in the Buddhist Academy
It has been my honour and privilege to have founded the Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies, as a peer-reviewed journal, to fill a perceived void in the Canadian Buddhist academy. The initiative was part of celebrating 100 Years of Buddhism in Canada in 2005. CJBS is now online, with free open access, thanks to the platform provided by the University of Toronto.
CJBS is possibly unique not just in Canada but in the Buddhist academic world in that it covers the full spectrum of Buddhist studies – pariyatti ‘Theory’, patipatti ‘praxis’ and pativedha ‘Insight’. In this, CJBS can be said to follow in the footsteps of the Buddha. On the night of Enlightenment, he came by the knowledge of the foundational angst of humanity in the form of Dukkha, formulating the Four Noble Truths (pariyatti ‘Theory’), part of which was the discovery of the root cause in terms of the triple Thirsts (tanha). But it was not only discovering the theory that took place under the Bodhi Tree. Coming to the realization that jettisoning the thirsts was the way to eliminate dukkha (theory again), the striving Samana Gotama was able to jettison the Thirsts in real time (patipatti ‘Praxis’). This then served as the condition for the Awakening (pativedha ‘Insight’), and it is this tripartite reality that CJBS seeks to capture.
With the wonderful support of many of you, we’ve now managed to publish nine issues of CJBS. I am writing to you as I work on Number Ten (2014) to share with you the top secret that this will be my last issue. While I’ve been at it for ten happy years, I couldn’t have done it without your invaluable help—as editors, article submitters, peer reviewers, book reviewers, publicists, etc. So I want to thank every one of you for your support.
So respected professors, now I’m writing, first, to invite you to make a submission to this au revoir issue. Unfortunately, it’s a very short deadline we have, say no later than the end of October. But, any articles that don’t make it to this issue, of course, will be passed on to the new team. In fact, nothing could be happier for them as they begin their task.
If that’s my first request, the second relates to the future. We’re now, you could say, at a critical juncture – of history in the making. It is my hope that you’re ready to be part of it. So I invite you to kindly consider playing your part in the growth of the Canadian Buddhist academy by providing CJBS editorial leadership. So if you feel that CJBS should continue, and feel that you’re ready to do your part to keep it going, I would kindly, and respectfully, invite you to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. We can talk about what specific role(s) you could play once you contact me.
In conclusion, I want to thank Michael Berman and Paul Crowe in particular for their ongoing consistent tangible support. Michael has provided solid support from the very inception of CJBS, and now happily serves as the Online Editor and the Managing Editor. You’ve all heard from Paul annually in compiling the News and Views Roundup. I also want to thank Rea Devakos of the University of Toronto for inviting me to be part of the university’s academic outreach, and for facilitating our online presence. And there have been many others – both faculty and students, too innumerable to be listed individually. But thanks to you one and all.
So my friends, au revoir! It’s been a wonderful learning experience and a great source of happiness putting out nine issues of Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies. But it now needs new leadership, and I know there’s plenty of it out there! It is a source of great pleasure that the Canadian Buddhist academy has grown in leaps and bounds compared to where it was at when I opened the doors. Now I invite you to walk through the doors to make your imprint through the pages of CJBS, and take it to further heights! I have every confidence that you’re up to the challenge.
In my old age, I’m happy to continue my research, putting my rickety old brain to work. And imagine, creaky as it may be, and cranky perhaps, it’s even cranked itself up to continue to make discoveries! The latest? That the Aggañña Sutta of the Digha Nikaya is no ‘satire’ or ‘parody’ as scholars have claimed, but a serious attempt on the part of the Buddha to outline the Devolution-Evolution cycle of the Universe. Equally significant is the finding that the Buddha’s View of the Universe is compatible with that of Science. (See CJBS 9 for the article. An expanded version is to come out in book form under the title, “Dhamma Aboard Evolution.”)
And my next breakthrough? “Triune Mind, Triune brain.” I can’t wait to get it into your hands. The earlier Arahant Mahinda as Redactor of the Buddhapuja in Sinhala Buddhism: with Pali text, translation and analysis, available at: https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/33767.
Wishing you, and your families, the very best in health and happiness!
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