The Famen Buddhist Temple (in what is now Shaanxi Province, in the People’s Republic of China) has been an important center for Buddhism since it was built near the end of the Six Dynasties period (220-581 CE). The temple is particularly famed for housing a Buddhist religious relic, an alleged finger bone of the Buddha. The relic had the reputation of producing miraculous cures, and several times during the Tang dynasty (618-906) it was brought to the royal palace, in nearby Chang’an (present-day Xi’an), when the emperor or empress was ill. During one procession from Famen to Chang’an, t
David Shepherd Nivison, emeritus professor of philosophy, religious studies, and Chinese language at Stanford University, passed away peacefully on October 16, 2014, aged 91. I am honored to have been one of his doctoral students.
One of the many people who is considerably smarter and more productive than I am is Prof. Eric Schwitzgebel of the University of California at Riverside. Eric writes the blog, The Splintered Mind, and one of his many research interests is whether there is any empirical connection between studying ethics in a contemporary college or university and the improvement of one's character. So far, the evidence is that the academic study of ethics does not make you a better person. Why?