Wherever Buddhism goes, it absorbs the values, assumptions, and ideologies of local cultures.We speak of Tibetan Buddhism, Late-Ming Buddhism or Western Buddhism. Doing so is a way of inscribing specific cultural modifications into the, ostensibly, stable descriptor “Buddhism.”
Whatever other values are intermixing with the X-Buddhisms in the contemporary West—or certainly, in the United States, where I live—those that originate in psychology are unquestionably among them. Is this cross fertilization salutary? Given the proliferation of mutual admiration societies and celebratory books and workshops, one would assume that the question has been settled. But before allowing psychology’s values to transfuse unseen into the various mélanges of Western/Secular/Progressive/Post/Mindfulness/X-Buddhisms, may we consider the opposite: that the genetic admixture of Buddhism and psychology produces sick—albeit socially “well-adjusted”—progeny?
I present to you here and essay by Tom Pepper (links at the end of the post) that does just that. Read the rest of this entry »