9.3 Imperfect Buddha Podcast: Glenn Wallis on the Immanence & Transcendence Divide

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In this episode, writer, critic, Buddhist scholar and Philadelphia punk legend punk Glen Wallis returns to the Imperfect Buddha podcast for the second part of our discussion on non-Buddhism and its consequences. We go deep into an issue at the heart of contemporary western Buddhism: the seemingly irresolvable division between immanence and transcendence, which in lay man’s terms is the distinction between spirituality as escape or as embodiedness. You may not know how deep these two go down the rabbit hole of modern spirituality and how they sit right at the dysfunctional heart of Buddhism. Applying constructive critique, we look at how Buddhists and teachers avoid the consequences of thinking them through to the very end and how that lack of insight leads to all manner of escapism and confusion.

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9.2 Imperfect Buddha Podcast: Glenn Wallis on non-Buddhism(P.1)

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Show Notes 9.2 Glenn Wallis Interview

Why would a modern day Buddhist engage with the work of non-Buddhism? Why bother to be forced to question your relationship with Buddhism? Why risk destabilising the status quo? Why not carry on as usual? If the last episode didn’t convince you, maybe the man who started the thing will.

The instigator of the non-Buddhism project graces the Imperfect Buddha podcast with his presence and with such rich material and such a sharp mind, we couldn’t contain everything in a single episode. Glenn’s interview straddles two episodes and the development of ideas across them. The humanity shines through and for those who may have been unsettled when approaching the revolutionary work at the Speculative non-Buddhism site, the content of the podcast may be surprising.

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9.1 Imperfect Buddha Podcast Meets non-Buddhism

This episode tackles a complex but thoroughly important topic, namely non-Buddhism. A theoretical project/applied critique of Buddhism as ideology; as an unintentional prison. This work gets at the heart of what’s missing in Buddhism and Buddhist discourse; a failure to understand the collective formation of selves. Due to such, Buddhism operates at the level of the individual and the abstract mythical landscape that is the six realms. It fails to understand the collective formation of selves and the omnipresent role of ideology in the mass suffering and ignorance that grips our species. Non-Buddhism is here to wake Buddhists up to this ignored and uncomfortable reality.

Glenn Wallis is the architect of this wondrous and terrible journey into the heart of darkness. He is a wordsmith and profoundly insightful corrupter of all that is beloved and pure in Buddhism in its guise as escape from reality. He is also a punk rock driven despiser of conformity and liberal ignorance. Glenn may be more compassionate than many realise as he provokes whilst simultaneously offering western Buddhist a way out of their voluntary imprisonment in the false promise of Buddhist refuge.

Stuart and I tackle the vocabulary, the concepts, the philosophy, the hard business of thinking, so that you dear listener can get a grasp on one of the most radical critiques of Buddhism to emerge in its entire history. Really.

Will it withstand the power of insight? Will it remain intact? Will it be changed by those who get it? Who knows? That’s in part going to be up to you.

Can your Buddhist identity take it? Can you withstand the depth of dismantling decimation? Can you handle the truth?

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8.0 Imperfect Buddha Podcast: Ben Joffe on the paranormal, Tibetan Buddhism & the Ngakpa

To listen to the podcast episode click here

What do the Dalai Lama, the X Files, UFOs, Sex Magic, Tibetan singing bowls, Yeti-Monsters, demons, dharma, wizards, Tantra & Darwin have in common? Why, Ben Joffe of course. He was our latest guest on the Imperfect Buddha podcast and he had quite a lot to share. So who is he?

Ben Joffe is a cultural anthropology PhD candidate from South Africa whose research focuses on the anthropology of Tibet and Tibetan diaspora. His doctoral dissertation research is specifically concerned with Tibetan Buddhist non-celibate tantric ritual specialists, or ngakpa/ma (sngags pa/ma སྔགས་པ/མ), living outside Tibet. He is interested in how the esoteric knowledge and charisma of these long-haired tantric Buddhist wizards are being mediated, circulated, appropriated and contested. His research explores how this is taking place both as a part of the increasing globalization of Tibetan Buddhism, and in light of Tibetans’ efforts to make legible a Tibetan nation in exile and to both preserve and reform Tibetan culture as stateless refugees. His research examines how ngakpa/ma engage institutional and other forms of authority in exile, and the ways in which the expertise, charisma and activities of these specialists can be said to contribute to the forging of particular moral orders and imaginaries in situations of dislocation, change and uncertainty. As such, Ben’s interests include:

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7.4 Imperfect Buddha Podcast: After Enlightenment, Coaching, Support & Ongoing Development

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Imperfect Buddha Podcast: Episode 7.4

Intro

We recently finished the third in a 3-part series looking at Buddhist enlightenment. This series has been quite popular and it marks something of a way stage for Stuart and me. In our first episode, we explored ideas raised over at the Post-Traditional Buddhism site, in which a humanistic, non-dual practice approach was loosely married to the four stages of awakening. We looked at myths, language and identities and asked a lot of what ifs of Buddhist enlightenment.

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7.3 Imperfect Buddha Podcast: super groovy Daniel Ingram interview

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 Episode link click here

Some of our more critical listeners will no doubt scoff at the sight of another Daniel Ingram interview, but fear not dear listeners, the interview/chat was a good one and Daniel was a real gentleman of a guest. We discussed a range of fascinating topics that are ripe for critique and consideration. Give it a whirl.

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In this last episode in the enlightenment series, we interview Daniel Ingram, the Arahat. Dan created quite a bit of controversy when he came out and claimed enlightenment a few years back. For listeners of our previous episodes, you will know that such a claim is loaded with all sorts of assumptions and implications. Dan joins us in stripping away many of the romantic myths surrounding the ideal of enlightenment and presents his pragmatic model of awakening. We also discuss the future of awakening.

Dan is the author of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha and one of the most interesting characters to come out of the pragmatic dharma movement. He stirred up a great deal of controversy when claiming Arhatship and was instrumental in setting up the Dharma Overground; a site dedicated to exploring progress in practice in a lively, peer-to-peer environment and a location where folks make often dramatic progress in their pursuit of awakening.

In this chat, we covered the following themes;

1. Daniel’s coming out & the impact this had on the Buddhist community
2. His model of awakening and how it contrasts with the views we explored in episode 7.0
3. Exploding popular myths surrounding enlightenment & addressing taboos
4. The political implications of claiming, or not claiming enlightenment
5. Death & awakening
6. Evolving models of awakening
7. The degree to which individuals are willing to ‘get enlightened’
8. Supporting up and coming teachers
9. The future of it all
10. …and more.

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7.2 Imperfect Buddha Podcast: Adrian Ivakhiv on Immanence

 

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Click here for the podcast episode

In discussing enlightenment, it is necessary to consider the change in perspective that accompanies such a radical shift. We are beset by dualistic thinking and the way we frame our perspectives, our personal and impersonal experiences, is beset by this philosophical bedrock. So what are the alternatives to the subject-object dualism we inherited from Mr René Descartes? In the latest episode of the Post-Traditional Buddhism Podcast, we interview Professor Adrian Ivakhiv, who shares his thinking around an alternative perspective, one based on viewing the world as process and as always in relationship. This view has much in common with Buddhism in which a truly separate self has no place and impermanence and inter-connection form the basis for our experience. The metaphors that emerge from viewing the world in this way lend themselves to the abandonment of anthropocentrism. This coupled with greater concern for the ‘us’ over the ‘I’ leads us inevitably towards greater environmental concern and deep questions concerning co-existence not just between races and nations, but with the other living and non-living creatures that inhabit this Earth.

Adrian is a Professor of Environmental Thought and Culture with a joint appointment in the Environmental Program and the Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources. His research and teaching are focused at the intersections of ecology, culture, identity, religion, media, philosophy, and the creative arts. He is the author of Claiming Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Politics at Glastonbury and Sedona (Indiana University Press, 2001) and Ecologies of the Moving Image: Cinema, Affect, and Nature (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013), an executive editor of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, a former president of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada, and on the editorial boards of several journals including Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture, Green Letters, The Journal of Ecocriticism, and two book series in the environmental humanities.

Adrian’s interdisciplinary background includes work in the humanities, creative arts, and social sciences. Canadian by birth, his research on culture and environment has taken him to Kyiv (a.k.a. Kiev), Ukraine, and the Carpathian mountains of east central Europe, Cape Breton Island and Haida Gwaii off either coast of Canada, the U.S. Southwest, and southwest England. In a previous life as a choral conductor and ethno-psych-avant-garage-folk-punk-fusion musician, he performed at monasteries in Egypt, concert stages in Ukraine, and at the Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa (honestly, once). When he isn’t teaching, researching, writing, or serving on committees (aargh), he makes music, hikes in the Green Mountains, eats Vermont’s artisanal cheeses, and reads The Nation, Grist, Spacing, and Ji Magazine. He has lived in Burlington since 2003. From his west-facing window he watches for Champ. He is the author of “Claiming Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Politics at Glastonbury and Sedona” (Indiana University Press, 2001), “Ecologies of t he Moving Image: Cinema, Affect, and Nature” (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013), an executive editor of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (Thoemmes Continuum, 2005), and a former president of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada. His current writing projects include a book of popular philosophy entitled “Against Objects: Philosophical Living in the Shadow of the Anthropocene” and a book-length analysis and assessment of the environmental arts and humanities. He blogs at Immanence: EcoCulture, GeoPhilosophy, MediaPolitics (blog.uvm.edu/aivakhiv).

The sites below link to his work.

University website http://www.uvm.edu/~aivakhiv/

Immanence website http://blog.uvm.edu/aivakhiv/about/

Academia link http://vermont.academia.edu/AdrianIvakhiv