On the Liberating Force of Non-Buddhism
Posted by Glenn Wallis on September 24, 2016
UPDATE: I recently did a couple of interviews with Matthew O’Connell at the Imperfect Buddha podcast. Skype has its drawbacks as a format for conversation. I suppose that’s pretty ironic, given that conversation is the sole purpose for Skype. In any case, Matthew does an admirable job of guiding the conversation into interesting places, and of fostering dialogue. I wonder if that—genuine dialogue—is what’s missing from Western Buddhist practice today.
Heartfelt thanks to Matthew for taking the time and trouble of working through the non-buddhism material. If, doing so, he has come to recognize the practical and theoretical value of our work for contemporary Western Buddhism, maybe others will as well.
Matthew O’Connell and Stuart Baldwin have a lively, humorous, and insightful discussion of non-buddhism at the Soundcloud podcast Imperfect Buddha.
It’s heartening to listen to a discussion of our project by two intelligent and informed people. Thanks to Matthew and Stuart for putting in what must have been a considerable amount of time and effort to engage with Speculative Non-Buddhist ideas. We appreciate it.
If the listener takes away only one of the many fine points that Matthew and Stuart make, may it be the one about non-buddhism as a productive practice.
Here’s the description from Matthew’s blog Post-traditional Buddhism.
This episode tackles a complex but thoroughly important topic, namely non-Buddhism. A theoretical project/applied critique of Buddhism as ideology; as an unintentional prison. This work gets at the heart of what’s missing in Buddhism and Buddhist discourse; a failure to understand the collective formation of selves. Due to such, Buddhism operates at the level of the individual and the abstract mythical landscape that is the six realms. It fails to understand the collective formation of selves and the omnipresent role of ideology in the mass suffering and ignorance that grips our species. Non-Buddhism is here to wake Buddhists up to this ignored and uncomfortable reality.
Glenn Wallis is the architect of this wondrous and terrible journey into the heart of darkness. He is a wordsmith and profoundly insightful corrupter of all that is beloved and pure in Buddhism in its guise as escape from reality. He is also a punk rock driven despiser of conformity and liberal ignorance. Glenn may be more compassionate than many realise as he provokes whilst simultaneously offering western Buddhist a way out of their voluntary imprisonment in the false promise of Buddhist refuge.
Stuart and I tackle the vocabulary, the concepts, the philosophy, the hard business of thinking, so that you dear listener can get a grasp on one of the most radical critiques of Buddhism to emerge in its entire history. Really.
Will it withstand the power of insight? Will it remain intact? Will it be changed by those who get it? Who knows? That’s in part going to be up to you.
Can your Buddhist identity take it? Can you withstand the depth of dismantling decimation? Can you handle the truth?
Find out by checking out the latest and greatest of recent Imperfect Buddha podcast episodes. Get some non- going on.