When I first began to get serious about Buddhism, after years of casual interest - I don’t know when that was, 6 or 7 years ago now? - I found lots of stuff both to read and listen to. In addition to the endless supply of “dhamma talks” and meditation guidance of every shape and variety, there was also a fair amount of scholarly material - lectures and lecture series, podcasts that had a permanent or occasional scholarly bent, books, etc. I have always been especially interested in historical context: the people who were interested in deciphering what was going on in the years in India just before, during and just after the lifetime of the Buddha, and making sense of the spotty historical record of those times, including the record preserved in the EBTs. So these would be people like Gombrich, Bronkhorst, Wynne, Gethin as well as some of the more intellectually adventurous scholar-monks.
But lately, this material seems to have slowed down to a trickle. I especially find it very difficult to find anything new to listen to on my walks - at least things that don’t just review well-worn territory. Also, despite the continuing interest in “mindfulness” in contemporary western culture, there seems to me to be some kind of falling off of Western interest in early Buddhist thought, and also a narrowing of that interest to a small portion of topics dealing with meditation techniques.
Or maybe I just don’t know the right places to go and find this material?
Is anybody else having this experience? For me it’s very frustrating. I feel very intellectually stagnant where Buddhism is concerned. The last set of lectures that really piqued my interest were the ones Alexander Wynne delivered at the OCBS. But the OCBS doesn’t seem to have updated its website in some time.
Some of the other discussions seem to be degenerating, with cranky and bossy scholar-monks complaining about one another but no new ground broken.
What’s going on? I feel like something is dying, but that the next new thing hasn’t been born yet.