X–buddhist inanities (in lieu of an intro)
Two pervasive reductions are now central to x-buddhist practice. To see this simply ‘google’ the word meditation, click on your mouse button, and presto. Here’s one:
So I brought my awareness into the sensations of my body, and that’s when the funny thing happened. It’s something that’s happened before, but every time it does happen it’s wonderful. Suddenly, my walking meditation practice “clicked.” And I found myself looking into my experience with pure, unconditional love. And then I realized that everything I needed in order to be completely fulfilled was contained within that present moment, and all I had to do was notice and appreciate it. Any thinking that I did was going to take me away from perfection, and why would I want to do that? And so my thinking pretty much ground to a halt. (1)
Many people (including the brightest of the mindfulness/integral /secular/pseudo Buddhist /digital guru fraternity) have criticized non-buddhism. The upshot of the criticism seem to be that Wallis and co have set up an x-buddhist straw man and used a blunderbuss on it. My advice to those who give any credence to this argument is to log on to Tutte Wachtmeister’s site¹ and take a few moments to read his latest post, and only then click on the link he has provided at the end of the text . Read through what you find there and then ask yourself this question:
What type of person is the Mindfulness Industry (all the mindfulness-oriented training guides, texts, teacher manuals, organizations, workshops, etc.) forming? ²
If the answer is not obvious and undeniable, you need to go away and do a lot of reading (not necessarily here or at SNB, of course) and, if you are a Buddhist, a lot of self-questioning. I’d recommend this, though, to begin with. And if you are new to Buddhism read the warning on the SNB site. It’s meant in earnest.
As for those coming from the world of ‘corporatist spirituality’, if you must engage with the non-buddhist project (please don’t) ask informed questions, or make a reasoned critique of the project. Anything else is wasting time (mine, yours, ours).
Following up on the recent comment tread, I thought it might be helpful to tie things together via a post.
I have the sense, though, that it could look to an onlooker like we are just ploughing up the same patch over and over, without actually planting anything and letting it grow. This is a problem, since, to continue with the horticultural metaphor, I’m still at the ‘preparing the ground’ stage. That might be boring or irrelevant for those who are looking to reformulate Buddhism in terms of personal practice .
Whatever depends on causes and conditions
Is empty of intrinsic reality
What excellent instruction could there be
More marvellous than this discovery?
Tibetan exegesis extoll the concept emptiness with extravagant and poetic eulogies reserved, in other cultures, for the Gods. One version of emptiness, which probably has had as many condemnations as eulogies, is expounded in the text The short essence of eloquence by Tsongkhapa, the 13th century Buddhist Pandita, whose extraordinary life and work resulted in a Tibetan renaissance and the creation of the the Gelug order, the dominating force in Tibetan Buddhism.
This post investigates what might remain useful after we put his teaching on emptiness to the test by bringing it into proximity with contemporary thought, in the context of the non-buddhist heuristic. With this in mind we can extract postulates from the philosophical systems in which they are normally situated, and use them as working tools, to “prize open fabrications net”, as Tsongkhapa himself puts it.
In this post I explore the concept of the human Marx formulated in the philosophical and economic manuscripts of 1844, which were not published until long after his death. It seems to me that the concept of the human expressed in Glenn Wallis’s term ‘the human of flesh and blood’ resonates on many levels with Marx’s concept of ‘species being’, Marx’s term for the generically human condition, – that concrete condition underlying the illusory consciousness of that condition expressed as ideology.
In this post, the second in a series of three, I use a different approach. I avoid direct quotations in the body of the text and present my understanding of Badiou and Laruelle and the differences between them. This approach, of course, risks glaring misconstruels of both. On the other hand paraphrasing off the top of the head admits to the exploratory nature of writing; writing as an element in the process of enquiry, rather than an attempt at communicating a fixed position, and especially by way of appeal to either Badiou’s or Laruelle’s authority. This approach allows for misunderstandings on my part, and looks to the potential of a dialogue with the reader; a matter of trying to arrive at understanding on a collective basis, as it were. And, in any case, it is true that writing is a collective process in which the reader contributes as much to the process as the writer; so that even if it were a matter of communicating a fixed position, it would immediately meet with a whole series of imponderables in the form of the input of any amount of readers of whom I know nothing. This, then, is an experiment in interrogative writing – preliminary thinking (out loud).