The Buddha did not teach in a vacuum. His teachings were directed to those who shared the social world in which he lived. John Peacock, a British scholar who studies and translates in more than a dozen languages and is familiar with the philosophical environment of the Buddha’s day, maintains that by framing the Buddha’s teachings in their original context, it is possible to recover the original meaning of teachings that have been ignored and lost by later Buddhist schools—including the Theravada. This weekend class will examine many of the ways in which Buddhist practice was radically different from the Brahmanical and Upanishadic thinking of the time and, indeed, how it differs in substantive ways from much present day understanding of the Dharma. The exploration will detail the Buddha’s shift away from metaphysical thinking to a focus on internal experience and ethical activity. In the process there will be consideration of how the Buddha’s earliest teachings diverge from much of the western philosophical tradition, and often from what has become the traditional view of the Dharma today as well.