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For further MBL News and Media Information, contact the MBL Communications Office at (508) 289-7423 or e-mail us at comm@mbl.edu .

David EckelThe Story of the Buddha Topic of March 17 Falmouth Forum

WOODS HOLE, MA—David Eckel, Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University, will present the next lecture in the 2005-2006 Falmouth Forum series on Friday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the MBL's (Marine Biological Laboratory's) Lillie Auditorium, MBL Street, Woods Hole.   The lecture is sponsored by the Associates of the MBL and is free and open to the public.

Eckel is the Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Religion at Boston University.   He will present a lecture titled "Four Ways to Tell the Story of the Buddha."

Buddhists trace the origin of their religious tradition to Siddhartha Gautama, who lived in India in the sixth century B.C. and came to be recognized as the "Awakened One" or Buddha. But Buddhists tell the story of the Buddha in very different ways. From these differences grew many of the important distinctions that characterize the varieties of Buddhism today.

This lecture will use the resources of Buddhist literature, philosophy, and art to explore four different ways of depicting the ideal of a Buddha: The Buddha as a historical person who renounced the world, achieved awakening, and escaped the cycle of rebirth; the Buddha as the culmination of a long career, in which the Bodhisattva or "future Buddha" returns in the cycle of rebirth to relieve the suffering of others; the Buddha as a celestial being; and the Buddha as a human teacher, whom one can hope to imitate and meet today.

Eckel has received a B.A. and a M.A. in Theology from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard University.   He began his teaching career as an Instructor in Religion at Middlebury College in Vermont.  In 1980 Eckel was appointed Assistant Professor of the History of Religions at Harvard Divinity School.  He was named Associate Professor in 1985 and Senior Lecturer in 1989.  In 1990 he was appointed Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University and from 2002 to 2005 was Distinguished Teaching Professor of the Humanities.

Eckel is the author of several books including, Understanding Buddhism and To See the Buddha: A Philosopher's Quest for the Meaning of Emptiness.  He has received many honors and awards, written numerous papers, short articles, and opinion pieces, and has lectured around the world.

Admission to this Falmouth Forum presentation is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the MBL Communications Office at: (508) 289-7423 or comm@mbl.edu.

The final lecture in the Falmouth Forum 2005-2006 season will be held on April 7. Clyde McKee, a professor at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut will present the lecture "Corruption in Our Governments: What We Can and Should Do About It.


The MBL Associates support the scientific mission of the MBL through their volunteer efforts to raise funds, and by their gifts to the Annual Fund, assist MBL programs and promote the MBL in the community. The MBL Associates provide fellowships for young scientists, support the MBLWHOI Library, and also help bring the work of the Laboratory to a broader public by sponsoring the Falmouth Forum Series and operating the MBL Gift Shop. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the Laboratory.

The MBL is an international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. For more information, visit www.mbl.edu.