Trash Community #1

Speculative Non-Buddhism

Join us Saturday, June 22 at 4pm EST on Google Hangouts for a gathering to discuss, well, more gathering.

I hear almost daily from people who are struggling mightily in the desert that has become the practice community. Mainly, I mean people who have found themselves exiled from the usual suspects for reasons that readers of this blog can surely predict. This isolation occurs at multiple levels. On one level, there is the shear dearth of options to gather in community with similarly-minded others. On another level, there are the many logistical difficulties attending the creation of a new community. On yet another level, even if we can get past these first two constraints, people are deeply confused about even the most basic forms or contours that such a community might take.

Chaim Wigder of The Failed Buddhistand I would like to invite you to join us as a…

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Killing the (x-)buddha(ist subject): A Review of Glenn Wallis’ A Critique of Western Buddhism

“What are we to make of Western Buddhism?” So Glenn Wallis begins the introduction of his new book A Critique of Western Buddhism: Ruins of the Buddhist Real. Semantically, this question may be viewed as asking two quite different things. The first way to view this question is to read it diagnostically or perhaps sociologically: … Continue reading Killing the (x-)buddha(ist subject): A Review of Glenn Wallis’ A Critique of Western Buddhism

Ideological Injustice in Social Justice Ideologies

In my last post, I used Kenneth Gergen's social constructionist theory to try to weave out what I see as being a crucial error so prevalent that even progressive psychologists repeatedly make it. Tom Pepper's comments on that piece were enormously helpful in clarifying some things for me, and I'm grateful for those comments because … Continue reading Ideological Injustice in Social Justice Ideologies

Socially Constructed Confusion

I've been interested in the trend, present within the fields of sociology and psychology, for theorists and researchers to weave social constructionist ideas into their work. There is obviously an incongruity here at the level of mental health industry practice: many psychologists seem to believe that mental illness (i.e. the pseudoscientific categories found in the … Continue reading Socially Constructed Confusion

Well…are you just going to sit there?

Speculative Non-Buddhism

Well…are you just going to sit there?

By Chaim Wigder


“Just sit!”

Is Dōgen here passing on to us the pinnacle of the Buddhadharma, or a historically obscured instance of plain and simple trolling?

“The essence of Zazen is to just sit.”

So said the Rōshi at the first Zen sangha gathering I ever attended, after about twenty minutes of tedious rituals, including—but not limited to—walking in circles while chanting, placing offerings beside a statue of the Buddha, and bowing in every direction upon taking one’s seat. All apparently important remnants of tradition. Yet these were no more than mere traditional remnants, ancient social practices that, despite being quite foreign to a group of white, middle class Westerners gathering in present-day Massachusetts, were nonetheless an important aspect of “Buddhist practice”—whatever that term may mean. Ritual is extremely important, yes.

Zazen, though: now there is the “it” of it all…

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The Myth of Human Nature

Dualism has become something of a pejorative in scientific circles, and yet it appears that many self-proclaimed materialists are keen on unironically, if unknowingly, embracing it. In the ever-fatuous "debate" over nature versus nurture, held between the so-called 'skeptic' community and their enemies, the former camp, under the guise of science, has reinvented the Cartesian … Continue reading The Myth of Human Nature

Metamodernism’s Atman

What should come after postmodernism? What I find interesting about this question is that it points to an interesting turn in metaphilosophical discourse. One would think that such a question would fall mostly under the epistomological jurisdiction of professional philosophers. However, I can't be the only one who's noticed that there is an impressive amount … Continue reading Metamodernism’s Atman

On Demands For An “Alternative”

I want to briefly address a particular strain of criticism that commonly sprouts from those "critical" of critical Buddhist thought. This critique is less of an actual critique, and more of a sort of deflection, one which functions as no more than a justification for the Western Buddhist status quo. I have heard such criticism … Continue reading On Demands For An “Alternative”

On Right View: Beware Reductionism and Postmodernism!

This is my first, somewhat embarrassing, attempt at putting Badiou’s "hypertranslation" idea into practice. I was inspired by Tom Pepper's essay The Truth of Anatman, which includes (I think) the first and only instance of this using Buddhist material. Here I'll be making use of the Kaccayanagotta Sutta. Given that I can't actually read Sanskrit or … Continue reading On Right View: Beware Reductionism and Postmodernism!