long time no see/academic quotes

It has been entirely too long since I’ve written anything, I know. The last couple of weeks have been exceptionally busy. And it’s only going to get worse as I prepare for the IABS conference in Atlanta, two summer classes (and then a third), and then the fall semester with a new course on Global Buddhism as well as another conference, symposia, etc., etc. Not to mention the fact that I’ve been working pretty hard on some back-end stuff for the IBS website. So, lately, my mind has been oscillating between hardcore sociological theory, Buddhist philosophy, and AJAX. Oy.

At any rate, I wanted to chime in here real quick to let everyone know I haven’t gotten hit by a bus and more thoughtful, interesting, topical posts (let alone election commentary) are due out soon. In the meantime, if you’re missing the sound of my voice, Rev. Harry and I are still recording and posting the DharmaRealm regularly. (A new episode is due out tomorrow! And you should become a fan at Facebook! I’m a sell out!)

The other thing I wanted to do was post this quote I found from Robinson and Johnson’s The Buddhist Religion, mostly because D.T. Suzuki keeps popping up, and I like this assessment. Enjoy!

This second category of Suzuki’s writings [on the transcultural nature of “Zen”] was by far the more influential. His separation of Zen from Zen Buddhism gave rise to the impression that Zen might hold the answer to the search for pure, unfettered experience. From this it followed that Zen’s connections with aspects of Buddhist doctrine that were more problematic to the modern, relativistic Western mind—such as the teachings on karma and rebirth, the seeming nihilism of nirvana, and the role of ethics on the Path—were simply cultural baggage that could be dispensed with at will. This opened the Buddhist fold to a group of thinkers and artists who felt little or nor allegiance toward the Buddhist tradition per se. At the same time, Suzuki’s portrayal of meditation as the realization of the beauty to be found in the midst of the ordinary has had an overwhelming influence on how meditation has been taught in the West—an influence that has extended not only to Rinzai Zen, but also to Soto, Son, Thien, Dzogchen, and even Therevadin vipassana.