Robert M. Ellis is a philosopher, writer and teacher. He has produced a series of books about the Middle Way, understood as a principle of judgement that throws us onto experience by avoiding absolutes, both positive and negative. He has also founded the Middle Way Society to support the development and practice of the Middle Way understood in this way.

Robert’s academic background is a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Lancaster and a B.A. in Oriental Studies and Theology from Cambridge. His Ph.D., completed in 2001, was the beginning of the work on the Middle Way that he has been developing ever since. However, this work is different from most academic work in combining a great deal of cross-disciplinary synthesis together with strong critical, ethical and practical perspectives.

Robert’s practical perspective comes from past involvement in Buddhist practice, and he was previously a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. His critical perspective owes much to philosophical training. However, he’s never been content with the limiting assumptions of any one discipline or tradition, and is strongly committed to a synthetic or integrative perspective that is also judged rigorously by pragmatic standards. Apart from philosophy and Buddhism, his work draws considerably on recent developments in psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics. He also finds sources of inspiration in Christian tradition, the arts, and Jungian psychology.

Robert’s wide interests have proved incompatible with a conventional academic career, but he has maintained a strong interest in academic developments. The majority of his books offer academic standards of referencing, along with detailed argument and careful anticipation of objections from different standpoints. His most recent books have all been published by Equinox, an academic publisher, and he has also published a few papers in peer reviewed journals. However, he is also concerned to reach a wider audience and support Middle Way practice, so books like Migglism and The Trouble with Buddhism have adopted a more popular style. He has also written fiction, a poetry collection and a hybrid philosophy/ fiction book (Parables of the Middle Way).

Robert has earned a living through most of his life by teaching and tutoring (of philosophy, religious studies, critical thinking, politics and English). In recent years he has divided his time between writing and spending periods teaching English for Academic Purposes. Apart from writing books, he leads retreats and writes on the website of the Middle Way Society. He is also a classical pianist and loves poetry, art, novels, meditation, cycling and walking.

In late 2021, Robert moved to Tirylan House, a large house in rural South Wales that he is turning into a small retreat centre together with his partner, Viryanaya. Middle Way Society retreats are now held there regularly, and these provide the opportunity to explore the implications of his work in a context of practices like mindfulness, the arts and critical thinking. Since moving to Tirylan House he has also become engaged in the design and development of a forest garden – a way of producing food for the retreat centre in a stable, low-input system using only perennial plants.