Showing posts from 2013

Is There a Problem with Buddhism?

Below is my response to Brad Warner who posed the above question in a recent blog post he published on his website, Hardcore Zen:
Brad, Thank you for clarifying your position in response to Adam Fisher.Of course the onus for abuse lies on the teacher and not on the student.
You say, “I don’t blame the victim” while you claim that “blind obedience” is the culprit.But who obeys? It still sounds like you are pointing to the student.Moreover, in all these cases of abuse, even when itcomes to Sasaki or Shimano, nobody ever issued an “order” to which anybody ever “obeyed”.
Brad, are you sure that the student’s (pathological) obedience to the teacher is the issue, as opposed to the teacher’s abuse of the student’s (healthy) trust?Even your well-meaning piece of advice “Be careful out there,” while probably intended to empower students, makes it look like you think that the abuse of authority is due to students’ lacking vigilance as opposed to their not knowing what to look for.
While I ap…

Attachment, Empathy and Human Agency- a response to Glenn Wallis’ The Empathic Dogma

In two recent essays[1], Glenn Wallis, author of the controversial blog Speculative Non-Buddhism, takes issue with the notion of “empathic resonance”, particularly when the existence of “mirror neurons” is submitted as evidence for the ability to “feel another’s pain”.  Glenn criticizes this notion, especially as it has been co-opted by influential Buddhist figures, because he finds that it perpetuates human bondage in sad contradiction to Buddhism’s own “emancipatory teachings”.

Glenn claims that, to be more consistent with classical Buddhist teaching, the notion of "empathic resonance” needs to be replaced with a notion that is more interactive, one that would account for our responses to each other on the basis of reactions to gesture, facial expression and language, rather than on the basis of an inert “reactivity” that bypasses human agency.

The purpose of this response is not to deal with Glenn’s exploration of empathy as it pertains to what he calls x-Buddhism, but to ch…



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