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.
As part of the National Council Meeting of the Buddhist Churches of America, the Institute of Buddhist Studies hosts an annual symposium. I was asked to contribute a paper to the 2009 Symposium, and the theme was American Shin Buddhist music or, more extravagantly, “The Great Sound of Enlightenment.”
This paper, a revised and stripped down version of Chapter 3 of the dissertation, was presented at the XVth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies on June 26, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.
It does mean something to be a Buddhist. Every day people make claims about Buddhism. And every day we think of ourselves as Buddhist or not Buddhist in some way. And those claims, ultimately, effect what Buddhism means. Buddhism as an institution, as a socially constructed reality, exists as such because we keep talking about it in very specific ways. Which means (and I think here is my point) that we can change it. The institution of Buddhism can be whatever we want it to be, based on whatever interpretation of the Dharma we think is most apt, or most applicable to our lives today. Which is both terribly liberating and a little unnerving.
Here it is! The long awaited Dissertation! Ritual theory! Post-colonialism! American Buddhism! It’s all here!
There are, as I write this, four full copies of my dissertation sitting on my desk. One for me, and one for each member of my committee. That’s right. I’m done. I’ve put all I can into this damned thing and it’s finally complete. The “final,” “defensible” draft, all wrapped up and ready to be […]