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

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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!

Atman Will Cure Your Smartphone Addiction

Tricycle magazine would like to inform you, dear Buddhist practitioner, that meditation can cure your smartphone addiction. Of course, we wouldn't want you to actually stop using your smartphone altogether, because that would put a dent in our mobile website traffic. Luckily, since meditation will merely cure the addictive nature of your smartphone usage, you … Continue reading Atman Will Cure Your Smartphone Addiction