Buddhism, Marx, Alienation.

Dharma: The specular omen pontificator of samsaric contingency. Like God, Justice, Logos, Rta, The Dao, and so on, The Dharma (English: The Norm as buddhistic trinity of dispensation, truth, and cosmic structure) is the architect of thecosmic vault and the keeper of its inventory. As such, The Dharma is the buddhistic hallucination of reality. In its decisional function, The Dharma is the transcendent-immanent operator that synthesizes the purely immanent dyad of spatiotemporal vicissitude (samsara) and contingency (paticcasamuppada). The hallucinatory quality results from the fact that The Dharma is a function of a purely idealized (transcendent) grammar that produces oracular statements infinitum about the finite world (immanence). The Dharma is the buddhistic gathering together (under the authority of The Dharma) of reality’s posited (by The Dharma) splintered whole, which splintering is exhibited by the (dharmically indexed) world condition articulated (by The Dharma) as spatiotemporal vicissitude-contingency. ( Wallis, Glenn: Nascent Speculative Non-Buddhism.)

Decisional structure produces a circularity of thought – Buddhism’s relentless revolving about its own axis; a strangely paradoxical mirroring of the concept of the circle of samsaric suffering. This spin produces “ oracular statements infinitum about the finite world (immanence).

Buddhism’s spin inflicts a form of delusional suffering on its adherents. Non-Buddhism is, in the first instance, for such a one  locked into decisional structure and seduced by the Dharmic vibrato, the charisma of the Guru and the allure of Buddhist phantasmagoria, from states of meditative bliss to immersion in complex ritual re-enactments of esoteric accomplishment. For the adherent in the first flush of conversion such wonders seem to open one’s mind upon a magnificent prospect — a shining enlightenment awaits as the final fruit of the path and, along the way, entry into an increasingly exclusive world of exotica – an experiential cornucopia on a par with the delusional extravaganza of consumerist abundance but without its connotations of gross materialism and greed. For such a one, blind to the way capitalism markets a range of “spiritual” commodities and a vision of the human as the passive accumulator of acquisitions, Buddhism seems to promise a re-enchantment of the world. Continue reading


What is non-Buddhism? Simply put it is a work on Buddhism. It tries to retrieve from Buddhism certain postulates and practices with liberatory potential for the individual and the collective. In doing so it makes these ideas and practices unrecognisable as Buddhist, although to anyone familiar with the Buddhist charism, they exude an unmistakably Buddhist aroma. Detached from the system of Buddhist postulation, however, they can no longer be rightly called Buddhist. They become material useful for anyone who wishes to creatively employ them in their day-to-day life.

One could describe Non-Buddhism as a sub-set practice of Non-Philosophy (with important differences) which uses Buddhist material, retrieving buddhistic ideas and practices for use. In doing so it shatters the self-sufficiency of Buddhism. Rupture, disruption and a certain violence of language and action mark the Non-Buddhist style as a matter of course. In doing its work Non-Buddhism neither reforms, revolutionises, or revives, in some religious context, a failing Buddhism — a Buddhism which is going the way of all mainstream religious practice in the face of the relentless secularisation of modernist culture and the destruction of traditional values in the name of globalisation and the dictatorship of economy.

Like Non-Philosophy, Non-Buddhism is a performative practice; it does something with and to the material on which it works. It is nor simply descriptive. On one level it is a disinterested practice akin to science or academic research; it tries to be aware of  subjective or ideological inputs that might prejudice its conclusions. I can’t see though, how, as formulated by Wallis, one can practice it as an academic discipline. It arises out of  an affective condition of a Buddhist:

[…] A person reflexively beholden to the structural syntax of buddhistic decision. The embodiment of (“the shape of”), hence the central agent in, the buddhistic thought-world. A person whose speech concerning exigent matters is constructed from buddhemes. (Wallis, Glenn: Nascent Speculative Non-Buddhism)

This Buddhist person, comfortably ensconced within the Buddhist fold, is suddenly and unintentionally marked by perplexity and disenchantment. This leads to enquiry. One result is that emotional distress is intensified consequent on the loss of ground which the process of enquiry ensures.  The birth, re-invention or recalibration of a Subject requires that the old Subject be killed of; it’s a slow death and very personal. One cannot say much about the details, since they vary so much from person to person. It is a process of passing out of Buddhism into something new. Continue reading

Reform or radical critique?

A talk has been published on Soundcloud by Matthew O’Connell and Stewart IdontKnowHisLastName: 2.2 Imperfect Buddha Podcast: the Dharma Overground gets enlightened & the non-Buddhist cause a stir. It is about some figures from so called Post Traditional Buddhism and the whole second part is a talk about the SNB project. That section begins at around 54:30 in the sound file.

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The Unsolved Question.

Die ungelöste Frage ist: Welche Handlungen ergeben sich aus der Erkenntnis der Manipulation die sich Wahrheit nennt? (The unsolved question is: What kind of action result from the understanding of Truth as a form of manipulation) Matthias Steingass: here

I am constantly troubled by that question. My life has been, on one level, a series of idiotic attempts to escape the tension which accompanies such questions by either plunging into action of some sort or into a form of thinking in which the tension seemed to find a resolution in some new thought-fad.

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Why we need Auto-commentary as a Lived Practice.

I would rather take the measure of the usefulness of any thought by placing it against the horizon of my life in its lived singularity. In order to do this one must find a way of connecting theoretical enquiry to one’s everyday existence.  Let the lived be the measure of thought and not thought the measure of the lived. This is, surly, the most useful insight of Non-Philosophy and certain forms of Buddhism. Which is not the same as saying that Non-philosophy or Buddhism (or any other “ism” ) presides over the lived. Both as subsumed under the lived, even if they deliver, via thought, the knowledge of that truth. This knowledge separates out into thought without ever leaving the lived — that is to say, (in the language of Buddhism) it is a non-dual or immanent thought-of-the-real that is also a real thought, neither above or below any other thought — what Laruelle calls a democracy of thought and what Buddhism calls quiescence or suchness.

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Non-Buddhism by another name?


Timothy Morton’s essay “Thinking the Charnel Ground” (link below) is by any standard a radical reformulation of Buddhist postulates. Anyone who has read Glenn Wallis’s text Nascent Speculative Non-Buddhism or perused the long comment treads at SNB will recognise in Morton’s essay an example of the sort of thing Wallis expected from anyone practising Non-Buddhism — one brings the postulates and practices of Buddhism into proximity to critical thought and/or science, decoupling them from the decisional structure and re-conceptualising them as axiomatic first names. Morton does just that with the terms meditation and enlightenment by bringing them into proximity with Freud’s concept of the death drive. In this way he arrives at a thought about meditation/enlightenment that cuts across biology, Freud’s theory of drives and Dzogchen.

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How, in an era of globalization, market volatility, and crisis can differing theoretical positions and different models of organization and programs of action function as one effective transnational movement for change? Historically, Marxists answered this question by pointing to the uneven development of the productive forces in different regions and the varying levels of working class consciousness dependent on this development. As a result Marxists classed certain countries as in the vanguard of the revolutionary movement in contrast to other politically and economically “backward”regions.

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