Slavoj Žižek’s Interpretation of ‘Buddhism’

Dr. Dion Peoples

While never personally knowing Slavoj Žižek, and admiring some of his work, many of my associates within Buddhist Studies have become disturbed or are confused over his philosophical representation of Buddhism, and what he feels are important ideas for Buddhists. Therefore, this article examines some of his interpretations, and where or how I can, represent or correct any erroneous presentation. It was in a recent video that he said: “In order to understand…, you already have to be…”, so it is the hope of this Buddhist studies scholar to make some sense of Professor Žižek’s lectures and publications pertaining strictly to portions dealing with Buddhist material, because if an engagement was done into other aspects of his works, this would be a voluminous publication – and being a trained-Buddhist should allow me to do this. Containment, working only within Buddhist thematic ideas, was necessary and as a result full explanations may not be possible.