Over the weekend, thanks to the miracle that is the Internets, I found out that I was quoted in the Winnipeg Free Press in an article about a newly opened Buddha Bar in that fair city. Funny, I thought to myself, I don’t recall having been interviewed by anyone from the Winnipeg Free Press, or ever having traveled to Winnipeg, let alone to any Buddha Bar. But, there I am. Waxing philosophically about the evils of capitalism and everything that’s wrong with a drinking hole named after the founder of my religion.
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.
What would be really interesting, of course, would be something bringing these elements together. What would be really cool would be someone making music that brings together the best of both worlds. Which, of course, isnâ€™t a radically new idea, and I think you could make a case for Ravenna Michalsenâ€™s music being a representative example of such blending of traditions â€” hers is, essentially, devotional music directed toward her teacher, the Buddha, and the Dharma, but arranged in the Western musical tradition.
I thought I’d revisit an article (and my response to it) by Clark Strand on American Buddhism, raising Buddhist children, and other sticky issues like baby boomers and white folk. Being a big believer in allowing one’s opinions to grown, mature, and even change over time, I thought I’d reassess my position and see if my own opinion had done just that.
Just ask this scientician. He’ll tell you that, in nature, one creature invariably eats another creature to survive.
I’ve been reading a book lately called Selling Spirituality: the Silent Takeover of Religion by Jeremy Carrette and Richard King. I’m reading it to help collect my thoughts about a piece I’m working on about Buddhism and pop-culture, the commodification of Buddhism, and how Dharma Burgers will ultimately destroy Buddhism and take down the whole world in the process. (That’s about 75% hyperbole, by the way.)
The Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies will be held in Kyoto, Japan, from June 12th through June 15th. While I won’t physically be there, I’ll be there in mind. A paper of mine will be included in a panel titled Shin Buddhism in the World of the Twenty-first Century […]
Hate to break it to you, but that’s not Buddhism. And it sure as hell ain’t Zen.
I have three, at the very least, reservations (at the very most out-and-out critiques) of the whole “Buddhism isn’t a religion” or “spirituality is better than religion” trope that we come across these days in these United States.
But I think we need to understand that anger, that being offended, that being ruffled or riled, is okay. “Offended” is, at the end of the day, an emotion. It is essentially no different than “happy” or “in love” or “light-hearted” or “sad” or “jealous” or, dare I say it, “enlightened.” And this knee-jerk reaction against being offended isn’t any more “Buddhist” than a calm or equanimous reaction. In fact, when you judge “offended” or “self-rightous” as “bad” and “calm” or “letting it go” as “good,” isn’t that nothing more than discriminative thinking?