If you are at all interested in the critical project called non-buddhism, this site offers you a wealth of material. The sites linked to the right will also be useful.
This phase of the project is over Yet furies remain aflight. As long as they do, I will post news and updates concerning the non-buddhist project.
Please let me know if you discover any interesting bits to share. You can do so by leaving a comment, which is closed to the public.
If you want to be involved in current discussions on non-buddhist critical practices, here’s where to do so:
Peace and thanks.
For now, here’s what’s happening (most recent first; newest updates are in red):
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April 6, 2014, 2014. Join the discussion on x-buddhist circularity at The Non Buddhist. Original post by Matthias Mauderer.
April 4, 2014, 2014. Alain Badiou talk in Athens, Greece: “True Communism Is the Foreignness of Tomorrow.” The relevance of many of the ideas communicated in this talk to non-buddhist thought is, I hope, not too difficult to see. (Thanks to NellaLou for the link.)
Thirty years ago there was an ideological wall, a political iron curtain. Today there is a wall that separates the jouissance of the rich from the desire of the poor.
Everything works as if sharp separations have to be drawn among living bodies according to their provenance and resources, in order for the single world of monetary signs and objects to exist. Today, I repeat, there is no world. That is, because the cost of the unified world of capital is the brutal, violent division of human existence into two regions separated by walls, police dogs, bureaucratic controls, naval patrols, barbed wire and deportations.
Why is it that so-called immigration has become a fundamentally important political question across the entire world? Because all the human beings who come, trying to live and work in different countries, are the proof that the democratic unity of the world is entirely false.
If it were true, we would have to welcome these foreigners as people from the same world as ourselves. We would have to love them like you would someone on a journey who comes to a halt just outside your house. But that is not at all the case. The great mass of us think that these people come from another world. This is the problem.
March 31, 2014.. I just posted an interview with Ulrich Baer at Lines of Flight. We discuss poetry, photography, how art might inspire change in the world, and more.
March 29, 2014. Two very interesting and relevant essays and discussions at The Non-Buddhist blog: “‘Money is not our God’: Selling Spirituality,” by Fionnchu; and “Cruelties of Thought,” by Patrick Jennings. Be sure to check out the comments as well.
March 29, 2014. “How the Self-Help Industry Hustles America,” an article from AlterNet, is relevant to anyone looking critically at x-buddhism. At least, it is if you think there is merit in my contention that contemporary western x-buddhism is basically nothing more than a buddhisized version of the age-old American self-help oversell. Here’s a quote from the articl:
The self-help industry is the modern secular version of our grounding myth. It’s a $10 billion annual business that sells its services by claiming that there is almost no problem–from weight loss to financial struggles–that can’t be overcome with grit, determination, and willpower.”
>March 19, 2014. “The Final Turn,” by Matthias Steingass at The Non-Buddhist. In this post, Matthias announces his abandonment of the raft. Lesson: x-buddhism, which admonishes you to abandon the raft! incapacitates your ability to abandon the raft. Engagement with non-buddhism, by contrast, facilitates the process.
Matthias refers the reader to Craig Hickman’s essay at noir realism “Global Resistence and the Collapse of Civilization: Berardi, Deleuze, and others, in which he asks (!) “When will we ever come to an end of questions and begin to build a new sense of purpose and meaning?” This question may be what’s driving the people who have created the Non-x Discussion Forum and the Non-x Wiki (see below). Hickman offers some words that can serve as both encouragement and caution to those sifting through the rubble of their collapsed x-buddhism for materials with which to create new constructions.
Again and again, networked social movements around the world have called for a new form of democracy, not necessarily identifying its procedures but exploring its principles in the practice of the movement. … These networked social movements are new forms of democratic movements, movements that are reconstructing the public sphere in the space of autonomy built around the interaction between local places and Internet networks, movements that are experimenting with assembly-based decision-making and reconstructing trust as a foundation for human interaction. …The legacy of networked social movements will have been to raise the possibility of re-learning how to live together. In real democracy. (Manuel Castells, Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age. Wiley. Kindle Edition, p. 245)
March 18, 2014. A conference on “Buddhism and Social Justice” should produce interesting materials for the non-buddhist critic-constructor. What can we expect? Just x-buddhist business as usual: hawking the fantasy of dharmic plenitude? Or might x-buddhist models of social justice offer real-world solutions for us, here and now? Who is interested in thinking through a non-buddhist theory of social justice?
These papers look promising:
“Buddhist notions of justice and modern concepts of Human Dignity” (Claudio Cicuzza)
“On the ‘gentle violence’ of a stable social order” (Steve Collins)
“Buddhism as Colonialism: Mining and Social Exploitation on the Commodity Frontier” (Johan Elverskog)
“Political Revolution and the Commoners’ Cause in the Transmission of the Cakrasaṃvaratantra” (Chris Wilkinson)
Paper abstracts and further information can be found at the Buddhist and Social Justice site. Here’s the conference description.
Moving away from a common perception of Buddhism as intrinsically a tradition of peace and justice, our project—based at Leiden University—seeks to explore the various ways in which historically Buddhist societies have shaped, transmitted, and adapted Buddhist ideas and ideals about equality, fairness, and freedom. We are further interested in how (if at all) such societies have instantiated these ideas and ideals.
The intent of the conference “Buddhism and Social Justice” is to gather scholars to discuss Classical and modern Buddhist notions of justice and their real world reflexes. We will be most centrally concerned with Buddhist visions—implicit or explicit—of ideal (just) societies and the role of human action, as these appear, for instance, in the realms of freedom and its constraints, social hierarchy and mobility, economic opportunity, and power and self-determination.
March 18, 2014. An interesting conversation about a lengthy Facebook discussion in which Master Tutteji was labeled a “troll” and banned is taking place at Tutteji’s site. This blasphemous “Dogen” quote sparked over 100 comments on the Soto Zen Buddhism FB page.
March 17, 2014. Two posts worth a look by Master Tutteji. My Argument with Soto Zen, or How I Learned to Fear the X, and a follow-up to that one, Update. Join the discussion.
March 16, 2014. Non-X Discussion Forum just launched. Here is the forum description:
This is a place for people who are inspired or intrigued by the work at Speculative Non-Buddhism, The Faithful Buddhist, The Non-Buddhist, Tutteji Wachtmeister, Der Unbuddhist or similar sites. The aim of the forum is to facilitate collective effort at understanding and wielding these ideas and exploring unmarked territory.
There are no rules as-yet; just keep in mind the things that gave life to SNB.
One project I will start in a few weeks is a group book discussion, starting with Alain Badiou’s Ethics. It’s a fairly accessible work that helps illuminate what Tom was up to at The Faithful Buddhist and gives direction to what we could be doing here.
I also think this could also be a place to facilitate in-person meetups, and if anyone has good ideas on how to make that happen, let me know. The current thought is just to add an area where people can list their cities and see if anyone else is around. It would be neat to get that working with a google map, though.
Apart from all that, make this place what you will. Let me know about any ideas you have for the site (changes of format, discussion sections to add) or if you have a project I can help with in some way (even not-Buddhist projects related to critical theory, marxist critique, queering capitalism, social satire, you-tell-me.)
March 13, 2014. John L. Murphy’s review of Cruel Theory | Sublime Practice at The Journal of Buddhist Ethics. It’s an intelligent, well-informed treatment of the book. Let it serve as a point-of-entry into the text.
March 12, 2014. Scott A. Mitchell posted a thoughtful essay on criticism.