Author, psychologist, and Zen Buddhist Priest

Seth Zuihō Segall, Ph.D.

Seth Zuihō Segall, Ph.D. is the author of The House We Live In: Virtue, Wisdom, and Pluralism (Equinox, 2023), Buddhism and Human Flourishing: A Modern Western Perspective (Palgrave MacMillan, 2020), Living Zen: A Practical Guide to a Balanced Existence (Rockridge Press, 2020), and Encountering Buddhism: Western Psychology and Buddhist Teachings (SUNY, 2003).

Buddhism and Human Flourishing: A Modern Western Perspective

The Buddha and Aristotle offer competing visions of the best possible life human beings can aspire to. In this volume, Seth Zuihō Segall compares Theravāda and Mahāyāna accounts of enlightenment with Aristotelian and neo-Aristotelian accounts of eudaimonia, and proposes a syncretic model of eudaimonic enlightenment that, given prevalent Western beliefs about well-being and human flourishing, provides a credible new end-goal for modern Western Buddhist practice. He then demonstrates how this proposed synthesis is already deeply reflected in contemporary Western Buddhist rhetoric. Segall re-evaluates traditional Buddhist teachings on desire, attachment, aversion, nirvāṇa, and selfhood from the eudaimonic enlightenment perspective, and explores the perspective’s ethical and metaphysical implications. The book will be of interest to Buddhist scholars, teachers, and practitioners, as well as to readers interested in cross-cultural philosophy and the psychology of well-being.

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Living Zen: A Practical Guide to a Balanced Existence

A practical introduction to Zen for the seriously curious, this book focuses on applying Zen principles to problems of everyday living at home, work, and on the go. It includes a brief introduction to Zen history, philosophy, and practice along with practical advice on deepening one’s practice and finding a sangha.

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Coming Soon:

The House We Live In: Virtue, Wisdom, and Pluralism (Equinox Press, 2023) 

The values of liberalism, pluralism, and democratic governance are under sustained attack from right-wing Christian fundamentalists, white ethnonationalists, and economic populists. At the same time, liberal democracies are failing at cultivating and transmitting the values, wisdom, and virtues that are the perquisites for individual and collective flourishing. Liberal democracies seem increasingly unable to negotiate diverse visions of the good life rooted in regional, ethnic, racial, religious, generational, and socioeconomic differences. Aspiring autocrats and social media organizations exploit these divisions to enhance their power or profit, resulting in increased tribalization and affective polarization.

Solving these problems requires a renewed understanding of human flourishing and the wisdom and virtues that make it possible. The House We Live In explores the commonalities underlying three classical approaches to virtue ethics—Aristotelean, Buddhist, and Confucian—to develop a flourishing-based ethics capable of addressing the problems of liberal democracies. The book examines the moral and intellectual virtues that promote flourishing, the diversity of ways in which we may flourish, and the factors all flourishing lives share. It shows how a flourishing-based ethics can serve as a corrective to the historical Western over-emphasis on individualism at the expense of community. Finally, it addresses problems in domestic and foreign policy and the difficulties in talking to each other across the political divide from a flourishing-based perspective. The book is a reaffirmation of pluralism, the liberal democratic tradition, and the necessity of a pragmatic approach to living together despite seemingly incommensurable differences.

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