Here’s a bunch of stuff that you’ve probably already seen (and some you might not have) around the Internets.
Doing something a little different around these parts. It’s Monday, and we could all use a little Dharma. So, here’s a quote from Rev. Patti Usuki on two important Buddhist women from the Jodo Shinshu school of Buddhism: Eshinni and Kakushinni. Her whole piece is worth a read.
Bodhisattva, Superstar is an interesting movie. A self-described “allegorical documentary,” it’s got all of the talking heads one would expect, but it also has the documentarian himself, Michael Trigilio, right in there along with a few scripted characters who find themselves at various places along the path, struggling with what it means to be a Buddhist in America. America is a place and a time where Buddhist ideas, terminology, images — indeed Buddhists themselves — can be co-opted in any number of ways that often make the purists (for lack of a better word) among us cringe.
There’s a lot in this film. At 83 minutes, it’s practically a feature-length movie, so I don’t think that it would be right of me to try and sum up all of my thoughts on it in a blog post of all places. I find myself at a place in my life where I’d very much like to get off the information superhighway and resist its demand that we always comment on everything and anything that happens, immediately offering up our opinions and criticisms and acting as if those opinions and criticisms aren’t what they truly are — knee-jerk reactions to information overload; no, I’d rather hop off the twenty-four-hour comment-athon from time to time, thank you, and allow for things to sink in, give myself permission and time to reflect on things before coming up with My Definitive Word on the Subject. But, clearly, that’s a different rant for a different day.
Be thankful for what you got.
Over the past couple of months, I have not felt a particularly strong urge to blog. I’ve been compelled to write. Some of that has ended up in other places, but most of it has ended up in stuff that I hope to have published in that old-timey medium called “books” (all fingers and toes crossed). So my writerly impulses have been satiated elsewhere, offline. Moreover, to paraphrase Grandpa Simpson, I used to pay attention to the news and read blogs, but they angry up the blood. So, in an effort to be self-compassionate, I’ve been keeping my head down a lot lately.
“Any scholarly attempt to describe groups should at least consider how members describe themselves. Our descriptions must be nuanced to account for exceptions, parallels, blends, and developmental processes. They also must pay attention to the history and ongoing effects of racism in the United States. As a white scholar, I have tried to use my own privilege to draw attention those effects, in support of efforts to dismantle them. If we cannot do this, then as Jan Nattier cautioned, ‘there will always be “two Buddhisms” in America: Us and Them, however we define each other.'”