In the old days, meaning like the 90’s and earlier, Heavy Buddhism, had not really developed. Heavy Buddhism means the oh-so-serious, reverent, you-bet-your-life-on-it, narrow, leaded-crystal Buddhist industry that is rapidly spreading across the spiritual landscape. It is often characterized by an almost fundamentalist zeal towards ritual, ceremony, nice robes, “authentic” retreats and authoritarian discipline-minded teachers. There is some arrogance involved.
But there is already a backlash against this sapping of the creative and original fiery face of Buddha. (Check some of your Buddha statues and thankas. Is that a halo? A halo is light. Light came from fire in Buddha’s time)
Part of that backlash is the light and fluffy kind of thing that gets labeled as Buddhism in the media. I’ve gone on about that before so won’t rant on it right now.
Another part of it though is an irreverence towards many things Buddhist. To some extent I maintain that attitude myself so there’s my bias. There is sometimes though a question of respect that comes up. When does irreverence and fun become disrespect?
Currently there is a little controversy between The Urban Monk and The Hoodie Monk with The Punk Monk (Brad Warner) getting thrown around in between them. It’s like a mosh pit around the staff room of the Buddhist quarters of Samsara sometimes.
This began with the posting of a certain photo on Dogo Barry Graham’s blog to which Rev. Gomyo Kevin Seperic took exception. Brad Warner’s name was kicked back and forth like a football. Others got involved in the action including teacher Kobutsu. The result is a Dharma Dueling Showdown at the OK Corral involving rhymes and rap sometime in the New Year.
It is a very interesting approach to conflict resolution.
The images are Indian, Tibetan and Mongolian from my small collection.