July 18 2009 Birthday of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and I’ve decided to write a column within this blog.
Call it cultural or social criticism. Call it participant-observation. Call it Shroedinger’s paradox writ large, for I am as much involved in this enterprise called life as you. Call it Gonzo journalism meaning the author and the subject are inseparable as are truth and delusion a great deal of the time. Call it surfing the Samsaric wave and sometimes being swamped by it. Call it whatever you want. I call it Fear and Loathing in McBuddhaland.
From the 60’s or thereabouts when Zen Buddhism dawned on the horizon of the popular culture of America to the current inflow of many different schools, teachers and practices and the outflow of people going to Asia to bring back bits and pieces of the Dharma, some staying and immersing themselves completely, the mix of this melting pot has become one of diverse flavors. Since I’m boiling in this stew as well, my observation presently is that some of it is starting to taste a little weird. The contents inside could do with some examination. So I’ll lift the lid and have a look.
The meat of the matter is Buddhism of a sort. It is that approximation of Buddhism that is served up to the affluent masses like the fast food full of artificial preservatives, cardboard filler and plastic cheese that is sold in America and elsewhere as alleged nourishment. The results of downing such food-for-practice may be pleasant or may be gruesome. These are the notes of that observation.
The theme song of the moment may be the old one by Buffalo Springfield playing on some battered radio in a backwater service station:
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Or it may be White Rabbit -at least that’s what occurred to me when I saw this photo. Is it a mescaline flashback or is that for real?
This image taken in Thailand and posted at The Worst Horse with commentary. Photo by Than Geoff.