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About the blog

Speculative Non-Buddhism was founded in May 2011. Since then, we have published over 120+ long-form essays and 7,000+ comments, many of them quite substantial in their own right. We have attracted 800,000+ views and 1000+ subscribers…and counting. We have been discussed and criticized in scholarly journals and books and in popular podcasts and magazine articles. We have agitated or inspired several blogs and numerous blog posts. We have even catalyzed a few books. And we have had an impact, for better or worse, on the discourse (and actual vocabulary) of Western Buddhism. Why such a response? I believe that one explanation is this: we touch a nerve, or a place of emotional and institutional sensitivity, that the Buddhist culture at large is unaware even exists.

From its inception the blog has been intended as a warehouse of critical and constructive tools. The tools are intended to be used for speculation on Buddhism, or, more properly, on what I call “non-buddhism.” My hope is that some readers will use these tools to craft new ideas concerning Buddhism’s maturation, rupture, and disruption on the current North American and European scenes. To state it more bluntly, I hope these tools prove useful to you as you sift through the ruins of the dilapidated latter-day fortress of what most people refer to as “Buddhism” or “Western Buddhism, and I call x-buddhism. Who knows what treasures you may find? As we like to say around here, our ruin is ruin because of treasure.

But I am getting ahead of myself. This blog neither takes for granted the salubrity of Buddhist teachings for the contemporary world nor forecloses on the possibility of adaptation, renovation, and application. It sees in the very questioning of tradition a speculative opportunity. The approach taken here does risk destruction. For that reason, the blog is outré in mainstream x-buddhist circles. So, why take such an approach? In short, because, like the Buddha, I still believe in the possibility of something like human liberation.

Linked Table of Contents

This page contains an alphabetized, hyperlinked list of all posts and pages.


Posts fall under one or more category. Here are posts organized by category:

Most of those categories are self-explanatory. Still, it should be kept in mind that even “Creative Writing” is creative writing that hews closely to the aims and interests of the blog. Same for “Conversation.” “Criticism” is a piece that highlights some feature of thought or practice and points out its problems in terms of, for instance, conceptualization, ideological opaqueness, covert values, and so on. “Critique” is a piece that does that as well but also offers ways around the problems. “Event” means an announcement of some relevant meeting, seminar, or even publication. It also captures posts that ask questions of readers, like “How Would the Buddha Vote?” “Buddhofiction,” means a piece that uses or proposes using x-buddhist materials in same way that will seem quixotic to a convicted practitioner. At present, the blog probably has only one “pure” buddhofiction (“Sutras of Flesh and Blood“). Several posts, however, make bold moves in that direction (see “Sitting, Full of Shit“). A post might be tagged with several categories. “Traumatized By Toast,” for example, offers a review of The Trauma of Everyday Life, by Mark Epstein, as well as serious criticism of many of the notions found in the book, plus, valuable ways to rethink those notions.

About the blogger

My name is Glenn Wallis. (Visit my Linktree for my additional work.) I have been an observer of Buddhism in North America and practitioner of Buddhist-style meditation since 1975. As you will gather from the blog, however, I am not a “Buddhist,” at least not in any conventionally recognizable sense of the term. I have written several books and articles on various aspects of Buddhism, including, most recently, A Critique of Western Buddhism: Ruins of the Buddhist Real. You can find further information about my work at my website.

More recently, I have found the entire Buddhist project fruitlessly tedious. (And I felt this long before it limped its way into the current New Age desert of mindfulness, wellness, positivity, and yoga culture.) I’ve been asking myself this galvanizing question: what might happen if I were to take seriously the Buddha’s admonishment to “cast aside the raft” and “leave the collapsed house in shambles”? In thought, in relations, in life, what might happen?

Incite Seminars

One thing that has happened is that the very notion of “practice” has been, and still is being, conceived. I founded Incite Seminars in Philadelphia to foster this conception of practice. The work of this blog is thus closely tied to the educational work.


Since founding Speculative Non-Buddhism in 2011, I have been fortunate to be joined by others. Please visit the Authors page for more information.

10 responses to “About”

  1. John Willemsens Avatar
    John Willemsens

    Reblogged this on Advayavada Buddhism.

  2. A review of A critique of Western Buddhism: Ruins of the Buddhist Real | Post-Traditional Buddhism Avatar

    […] first encounter with Wallis was through the Speculative non-buddhism (SNB) site and his experimental writing on contemporary western Buddhism. That site brought him to […]

  3. […] first encounter with Wallis was through the Speculative non-buddhism (SNB) site and his experimental writing on contemporary western Buddhism. That site brought him to […]

  4. Sensei Mu Avatar
    Sensei Mu

    I suspect I would really enjoy a private conversation with Wallis, and I have some kind of deep respect and feeling of necessity with regards to his project. But I also get the feeling that he’s doing something like playing with fire. He’s explicitly Nietzschean — he’s no blogger, he’s dynamite.

    He’s mentioned somewhere that there is a specific intended audience for his blog, and that he doesn’t want it to be read by (something like) people who are beginning their Buddhist practice. I wonder if this aspect of his project is made explicit and clear somewhere. Is it alright to call Wallis’s blog an elitist endeavor? Not in the disparaging sense — but in the sense that it’s almost like a high-level esoteric tantric thing.

    Something he comes back to is the danger of becoming ensnared in wishy-washy Buddhist tripe and ignoring the whole history of Western ideas. And in expressing this he often claims that Buddhism is actually pretty shoddy compared to the feast of knowledge and learning that’s available through other philosophies of ethics, awareness, etc. This doesn’t ring entirely true to me, even if I really try to look out from my dharmic bubble.

    One of the best clusters of ideas I found in Western philosophy is related to Spinoza’s conception of the book as a material object that works by cause and effect — is written in human language and affects human beings in certain ways not directly determined by the author. Spinoza applies this to the Bible. Texts are objects and they affect people. William James in his Varieties of Religious Experience also has this “pragmatic” take on religious systems. It’s true of the Pali canon, the Zen discourse, the emerging secular Buddhism, and of Wallis’s blog series.

    Words are real. They do things; they affect people. Likewise with systems like “the dharma.” Theories, even if somewhat rough and approximate — like the lists and rules of traditional Buddhism — are catalysts, tools. This is why

    I love Buddhism and devote myself to it even though I am in some sense ironic about it.

    And writing that, I see that I am an adherent of ironist Buddhism, a way that combines the personal practice of traditional forms of Buddhism with the Rortian stance:

    *She has radical and continuing doubts about the final vocabulary she currently uses, because she has been impressed by other vocabularies, vocabularies taken as final by people or books she has encountered;
    *She realizes that argument phrased in her present vocabulary can neither underwrite nor dissolve these doubts;
    *Insofar as she philosophizes about her situation, she does not think that her vocabulary is closer to reality than others, that it is in touch with a power not herself. (From Contingency, irony, and solidarity — a great read.)

    Thus, personally and somewhat secretly, I do believe that “the dharma” is some kind of ultimate truth. But I don’t talk to people out of that fundamental assumption, premise, “decision” to use Wallis’s word.

    Gate, gate, para gate, para sam gate, bodhi svaha!

  5. Paula Burns Avatar
    Paula Burns

    Hi – I don’t seem able to access the drop down menu re categories – is it still operational?

  6. Glenn Wallis Avatar

    Hi Paula,
    If you look at the upper right of the blog page, you should see a Menu tab with three horizontal lines. If you click on that, then click on some empty space therein, and then scroll down, you can see the categories. It should not be difficult. Otherwise, if you let me know what you are looking for, I can send links.

  7. Paula Burns Avatar
    Paula Burns

    Hi Greg,
    for some reason it only brings up main menu list (begins with HOME followed by PATREON, etc). Where would I find the link for Buddhofiction for example or Critique? Thanks.

  8. Paula Burns Avatar
    Paula Burns

    Sorry – that should have read Glenn ! No wonder I can’t sort the Menu but would appreciate those links. Cheers.

  9. Jundo Cohen Avatar

    I heard that you folks are stinkin’ up the joint, so I decided to come around and straighten you up.

    Seems some narrow minded views of the B-way around here.

    Gassho, Jundo Cohen

    Soto Zen fellow. Here’s my own podcast where I also piss some people off from time to time. mostly the more traditional kind.

  10. kioratash Avatar

    Limitless Dharma Gates! Keep on opening. 🙂 Good luck.

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