Glenn’s post points out the subsumption of “Buddhism” beneath the stultifying shallowness of the self-help ideology, its edges blunted by the demands of marketing a product in a neo-liberal capitalist system of commodification.
American religion has always been the secure playground of charlatans and sociopaths. That is one of the things that makes the increasing role of Christian dominionism within our current political system and Presidential administration so scary. As demonstrated by Kevin M. Kruse (One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America) contemporary Christianity has itself been created in the service of corporate capitalism. From the pious trappings surrounding our national identity to the shifting of the ground for social policy, it is a nationalistic Christianity that dominates contemporary popular religious culture.
To the extent that Buddhist “leaders” such as those noted in Glenn’s post choose to operate within such conceptions of religion, modeled as they are on the dominant popular religious culture, they will “naturally” be subsumed and co-opted into replicating the same pieties of well-being through molding yourself to the current condition.
Well-done, once again, Glenn.
This post is a call to arms. I hope to incite a collective that produces thinking, concepts, dialogue, texts, and practices toward an ideologically-disruptive usage of buddhist materials. The ideology that is being disrupted is, of course, that of our current capitalist-corporate-consumerist World.
What prompts this post is my perusal of the Mindful Living Week hosted by the Awake Network and Shambhala Mountain Center (links below). I don’t know what to say about it. I was just staring at the pictures of all the smiling facilitators (“World-Renowned Psychologists, Mindfulness Teachers, and Thought Leaders”),
reading through the descriptions of the course (“Inner World: Calm, Clarity, Motivation; Outer World: Strength, Harmony, Delight”), viewing the teaching of one Dr. Rick Hanson (“Day 1 Challenge: Pay Attention. Begin the day by setting the intention to pay attention”), observing the childlike images of those puffy white flowers you blow in the spring, people holding hands, and…
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