Buddhist or not.

This article came up in my social media. Shambhala SunSpace » Stephen Schettini: “Why I’m Not a Buddhist”

Here’s a thing I don’t get. Guy doesn’t want to be a Buddhist. No problem, don’t be. You tried it, didn’t suit you, fine. Why make the big hoopla over it? Same with Sam what’s his name, the atheist guy…oh yeah Sam Harris who’s had more than a few pages in Buddhist publications.
And why do Buddhist magazines publish this? It’s really odd.

I decide not to be a Muslim, Christian, Jew or Wiccan, do I expect their publications to put my articles there? Would they? Not too likely. Seems like a lot of these guys are hating on Buddhism but still trying to get some attention or make a buck off of it by scraping a few things off and repackaging it. Are the magazines that desperate for content?

Same with Batchelor and the Speculative non-Buddhism crew and a whole lot more.

Unhealthy attachments are…unhealthy.

And attachments.

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By NellaLou

10 comments on “Buddhist or not.

  1. Saying you are not religious or a member of a religion while espousing the doctrine and practices of the religion is the new religious. Awfully complicated I think.

  2. I found Schettini’s piece mildly interesting. I call myself a Buddhist, but I don’t consider that a statement of fact: partly because “Buddhism” is so ill-defined, and partly because my relationship with it is complicated, and not a matter of tribal membership. Saying “I am a Buddhist” is more like a political stance; it’s saying “there is enough of value in ‘Buddhism’ that I want to promote it, and I acknowledge my debt to its history”. I could also say I was a non-Buddhist, in that I don’t accept any version of Buddhism uncritically. I think that would be less useful, although perhaps also “true”.

    Schettini didn’t leave Buddhism to become a something-else-ist. If he had simply converted to Christianity, that would be entirely uninteresting. But he maintains, and teaches, Buddhist practices. (Ditto Glenn Wallis.) So these guys are walking the boundary; they are right on the edge of “Buddhism”. That seems potentially useful in pointing out where the boundary is. And even for those of us who continue to consider ourselves Buddhists, it may be useful to have them pointing out problems from an informed and somewhat-sympathetic standpoint. (Whereas criticism of Buddhism from evangelical Christians is unlikely to have any value.)

  3. Pingback: Everybody Hates Religion, But Why? | Beyond Growth

  4. Duff, thanks for that video, and also the WSJ piece about it you linked in your post!

    I liked some things about the video a lot (while disagreeing with others, obviously).

    Interested to see that there are responses on YouTube from Muslim, atheist, and Perennialist perspectives. (Maybe others.)

    I’d like to do a Buddhist response… alas, so many fun & useful things to do, so little time!

  5. What you call “hoopla” is critique. To follow your prescription would mean no critique of anything whatsoever. Marx made hoopla over capitalism. You ask: “why bother; if you don’t like capitalism…” Luther made hoopla over Roman Catholicism. You ask: “why bother?” Your dictum reminds me of the Republican bumper sticker of the Vietnam war era: America: Love it or Leave it.

    It is, in fact, critique that allows me to see and then question, for instance, your apparently reflexive employment of the x-buddhist trope of “attachment.” From where did you get this, as you seem to see it, unassailable value that assumes “unhealthy attachments are… unhealthy. And attachments.”? Ask an evolutionary biologist about the nature of “attachment”, healthy or unhealthy (and who determines that anyway?) ,and you will get an answer very different from that given by Buddhism’s Unified Theory of Existence (aka. The Dharma). Then what? Will you engage the aporia? That would throw you into critique–hoopla. Will you guard the dharmic fortress? That’s subscription to ideology. Something else? What

    Finally, surely you see that your very post is an example of hoople-critique, right? So, you must see the point after all.

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