This post has been updated.

This much I know.

No one likes their identity to be defined or described by a third party, particularly when that third party is an anonymous total stranger. No one likes to be labeled or defined or described by someone else; and when they are, they’re understandably upset by it.

Here’s a couple more things I know.

I have absolutely no problem, in principle, with white folks “remaking” Buddhism to suit their particular cultural needs. I have no problem, in principle, with Buddhist teachers reinterpreting Buddhist doctrines or practices to better serve the needs of some group of practitioners, regardless of ethnicity or cultural background. (I say “in principle” because the Buddhist apologist in me has concerns about some of these changes, but that’s beside the point. Or, rather, beside the point of this particular post.)

Buddhism, pop-culture, and the homogenization of the Dharma

Presented as part of a panel on Shin Buddhism in the west at the XIV Biennial meeting of the International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies, this paper is a more reasoned, researched, and well-articulated version of some themes with which my long-time readers will be familiar: Orientalism, the dumbing-down of Buddhism, and the politics of representation.