There may be something of a large hullabaloo across the Buddhist internets in recent days in regards to the whole Buddhism v. science thing. The issue has to do with an opinion piece written by Athena Andreadis (whose name, by the way, is awesome) about how people love to find compatibility between science and Buddhism. Her argument, in sum, is that people who arenâ€™t experts at something should really keep their yaps shut. Oh, and she said some stuff about Buddhism that was, shall we say, a little outside her area of expertise. That last little point was what got Barbara Oâ€™Brienâ€™s hackles in a huff over on the eponymous Barbaraâ€™s Buddhism Blog where she thoroughly bemoaned Ms. Andreadisâ€™ piece for its pot-and-kettle routine. I heard about all of this via NellaLouâ€™s Enlightenment Ward. And I can only assume that this debate has spread far and wide because, at the end of the day, it is exactly the sort of thing that will turn a host of otherwise well-intentioned people into a hoard of charlatans, dilettantes, and indignant banshees. I’m going to stay well out of it.
According the Internets, “This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giverâ€™s opinion, brilliant. This award is about bloggers who post from their heart, who oftentimes put their heart on display as they write from the depths of their soul.” I’ve been nominated. You have been, too. Spread the joy.
“The well-known quip in social scientific circles, “the plural of anecdote is not data,” should caution non-social scientists against generalizing about North American Buddhists based on minimal, unsystematic, or no actual fieldwork. In my mind, insistence on empirical grounding would be the most significant social scientific contribution to an interdisciplinary field of study on this this topic, especially when dealing with questions about Buddhist identity and organizational dynamics.”
Note to the RSS Interwebs: I’m feeling snarky for no good reason. So there may be some good bits in here, but I may very well be full of it. Which, I guess, is probably true of most things in this pretty shabby-looking blog.
Ah, the more things change. If we hop into the way-back machine, we’ll find this editorial to Tricycle magazine from 1991 wherein then editor Helen Tworkov writes, “so far, [Asian-American Buddhists] have not figured very prominently in the development of something called American Buddhism.” Nearly two decades later and not much has changed. The mainstream Buddhist press continues to talk about white converts to Buddhism as if they’re the only thing that’s happening out there in Buddhist America. I had a feeling this would get worse after the Pew Report. Ah well. Frankly, I’m not surprised and am even a little equanimous about the whole thing. Despite the fact that we just elected a
black mixed race President, looks like some folks just can’t wrap their heads about this whole “race” thing and why it’s relevant to Buddhism.
I’ve got a couple of quick things I wanted to interject here. It’s nearly ten in the morning, and I really need to start working. Big big IBS website redesign project nearing completion. More on that later. Sentence fragments here. Heighten tension. Anyway, while tooling around the web this morning, I found a very well-written […]
Because I have so much time on my hands (I mean, it’s not like I’m writing a dissertation or getting married or anything), I’ve decided to start up a new web project. Called Buddhoblogosphere (a silly word I found through Wordie and Buddhist geeks), it’s going to be a directory of all things Buddhist online. […]