Speculative Non-Buddhism

ruins of the buddhist real

Posts Tagged ‘Gilles Deleuze’

Witch’s Flight

Posted by Glenn Wallis on May 24, 2013

tree10That which founds is the ordeal.

To think is always to follow the witch’s flight.

—Gilles Deleuze (respectively: What is Grounding? and What is Philosophy?)

I find the prevailing x-buddhist “image of thought” disturbingly conservative. Wherever it manifests, that image mimics society’s established values of conformity and order. The x-buddhist image of thought refracts a practitioner who is “well-adjusted,” regardless of the repressive (e.g., Thailand) or hedonist (e.g., the U.S.) climate of his or her state and society. Examining the American x-buddhist product, I find this judgment unavoidable: x-buddhist thought serves the prevailing political-cultural status quo, and, to that end, functions to bolster the mind of its subject against challenges to the comforts of convention.

An animating contention of this speculative non-buddhism project is that x-buddhism suffers from a pathological inability to unleash the force of its own thought. Whether oblique (going against the stream, home-leaving, not taking the bait of the world, abandoning the raft) or direct (no-self, causal contingency, emptiness, dissolution), x-buddhist ideas suggest lines of thought that are primed to subvert, or otherwise profoundly disrupt, contemporary modes of life. And yet, American x-buddhism, whether in religious or secular guise, panders to contemporary culture like a kowtowing sycophant.

Why is that? We can attempt to answer that question in several ways. Read the rest of this entry »

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