"There is no self, but you can get enlightened." "All is one, but my sect of Buddhism is the correct one." "The dharma is timeless, but it can be accessed as particular phenomenal events." "There is no separation, but there is a pure consciousness, not of this material reality, which you can recede into." These … Continue reading Ineffable F***ing Stupidity
This post is an informal response to an article recently published in the Buddhist magazine Tricycle, titled Buddhism According to Pessimism. I would be remiss not to point out straightway—as did Glenn Wallis, who brought this piece to my attention—the significance of such an essay even being published in what is by-and-large a fairly bland … Continue reading Buddhism: Pessimism Before It Was Cool
It’s time for my mid-day meditation. I find a quiet corner to sit at alone, put my electronic device aside, and close my eyes, gradually starting to pay attention to the flux of thoughts and feelings as they arise and pass away in the mind. The sense is that I am performing an intentional act … Continue reading The Myth of Solitary Contemplation
The following is an article I wrote for the Speculative Non-Buddhism blog, a project which I think offers an urgently fresh and desperately needed take on Buddhist discourse.
I highly encourage anyone who is interested in a critical discussion of Buddhism to explore the work published on this site over the last several years. If you haven’t been exposed to this project in the past, be prepared to have your conception of Buddhism challenged.
Reality As It’s Not
by Chaim Wigder
One night in long bygone times, man awoke and saw himself.
He saw that he was naked under cosmos, homeless in his own body. All things dissolved before his testing thought, wonder above wonder, horror above horror unfolded in his mind.
Then woman too awoke and said it was time to go and slay. And he fetched his bow and arrow, a fruit of the marriage of spirit and hand, and went outside beneath the stars. But as the beasts arrived at their waterholes where he expected them of habit, he felt no more the tiger’s bound in his blood, but a great psalm about the brotherhood of suffering between everything alive.
That day he did not return with prey, and when they found him by the
next new moon, he was sitting dead by the waterhole.
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My Dear Reader, I'm afraid I've got some bad news. You've been scammed. This is it, right here. You're stuck, fucked, and out of luck, and there's nowhere for you to go short of complete and utter annihilation. The thing you've been seeking — the "Truth", "enlightenment", "awakening", "freedom", your "True Self" — is not the … Continue reading A Benevolent Hoax
In Judaism there is something called the yetzer hara, which all boys and girls in Orthodox schools learn about at an early age. In some ways analogous to the concept of Original Sin found in Christianity, the yetzer hara can be thought of as the human inclination to commit evil. This is in contrast to the … Continue reading Is your Rabbi a mindfulness master?
There are few things in this world more boring than listening to two people argue about their respective enlightenments. Imagine if every time you went to the gym, you overheard your fellow gym goers bicker about which one of them was the most fit. Furthermore, imagine if this bickering consisted of each person taking turns … Continue reading The Enlightenment Olympics Has No Medals
In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, there is a lot of talk about the meditative stages of insight. Strangely enough, Western Buddhist teachers - even those who have extensively trained in Theravada - rarely speak clearly about these stages. Apparently there is some sort of taboo around discussing the subject in public, and there has been … Continue reading The Buddhist Stages of (non-meditative) Insight – Part 1