my awkward summary post

I’d like to switch gears here for a moment, away from all that sardonic snark of earlier this afternoon. (I’m not sure if sardonic is the right word, here. Sure it was mocking, but not really grim. Oh well. Let’s let it ride.) The Bottom of Heaven, one of my favorites, routinely posts short summaries of random media or links. I like this idea. It seems to me a good way to deal with something I struggle with; namely, how do I share information with my readers without resorting to the restrictions of 140 characters which, it seems to me, often get lost or go unnoticed?

So, without further ado or explanation, I’d like to draw your attention to the following:

  • It’s come to my attention lately that the vast majority of Buddhist blogs I follow have a decidedly Zen slant to them. And that they are all rather circularly self-referential (i.e., they all list each other on their respective blogrolls). This seems weird to me given the fact that I am not a practitioner of Zen Buddhism. So, in an effort to broaden my (and your) horizons, I am going to go on the hunt for more Shin or specifically Pure Land blogs and other online media, primarily in English. It seems that, for whatever reason, these blogs aren’t as well connected which is sort of shame. So, to that end, I present you with Echo of the Dharma, a bi-lingual blog by Prof. Toshikazu Arai of Soai University in Osaka, Japan. He’s got a rather good, straightforward writing style in his take on Shin Buddhist doctrine. And he’s not afraid to step bravely in Shin Buddhism’s own, considerably quieter, Dharma War.
  • Speaking of Dharma Wars, while not getting into that whole issue, I wanted to draw your attention to a similarly astute post by NellaLou over on Enlightenment Ward. In this one, she’s got Jerry Kolber of the One City Blog squarely in her cross-hairs. What’s interesting (refreshing, astute, brilliant, etc.) about this piece is that she actually touches on a host of related issues that, in my view, clearly inform a lot of the mainstream writing on American Buddhisms: namely, the bi-costal (in this piece she takes aim at NYC) nature of cultured elites writing with often little regard for marginalized groups or the host of Buddhists living between the coasts; the homogenization of American Buddhisms through the incessant desire to “brand” it to a larger audience; the concomitant trend to strip the label “religion” from Buddhism which is inevitably offensive to those for whom Buddhism is very much a religion. There’s a lot of good stuff in there.
  • In political news, unless you’ve been living in a cage, you’ve no doubt heard about the massive failure of Presidential security leading to the ability of a couple of socialites to crash a party. Yes, they “crashed a party.” But let’s be clear about something: the Secret Service screwed up their number one job of keeping crazy people from being a position to kill the president. How did this happen? The good folks over at Truthout have a good take on the issue. (Spoiler alert: it’s got to do with white privilege.)
  • Speaking of Pres. Obama, rumor has it he won the Nobel Peace Price. If, like me, that makes you feel funny for reasons you can’t quite put your finger on, or if, like me, the anger and ire directed at the President for winning the Peace Prize makes you feel funny for reasons that are sadly familiar, here: watch this. It helps. A lot.
  • Finally, if, also like me, you’re confused by this whole “Twilight” thing but feel compelled to see the movies because that’s what everyone else seems to be doing, here, read this. Now you can use that twenty-bucks I just saved you to donate to charity or something.

That’s enough outta me today. Oh, alright. Here’s one more:

On one hand, every single one of my ancestors going back billions of years has managed to figure it out.  On the other hand, that's the mother of all sampling biases

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7 thoughts on “my awkward summary post

  1. I have to say, in terms of Shin blogosphere controversy, I’m very turned off by Cirlea’s stridency. I also happened to see part of a video clip in which Cirlea and Kobai disputed someone’s shinjin! It’s quite hard to listen to their arguments when they’re using such tactics. I’m fine with heated argument and debate… but that’s taking it a step too far for me.

  2. Thanks very much Scott for your generous words and the reference to my blog.

    This phrase

    “homogenization of American Buddhisms”

    is something that I really want to address more fully in the future. It is as if all the “Buddhisms” are being distilled into the lowest common denominator and then dumbed down and hyped up for the consumer culture. If another person tells me that Buddhism in totality is “mindfulness” or “loving-kindness” I may…I don’t know. Heave a big sigh.

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