Site hosted by Build your free website today!


            A description of my love and interest in Buddhism or in Chinese culture may give the false impression that I am being monomaniacal in what I have read or studied, so any description of who I am or what I consider important must also contain references to the various impacts that modern thought has had.  In this context, “modern” must be understood to mean thought of the last, say, 200 years.  Aspects of my environment framed by such thought have enabled me to continue a path of analysis and self-criticism that I hope never ceases.

            The post-colonial theory of Edward Said shed light for me, as perhaps the whole construct of American Zen Buddhism has evolved around what he deemed “Orientalism,” a way of rendering civilizations such as those in East Asia as hopelessly exotic, mysterious, the source of some divine specialness that can teach Westerners final solutions to the mysteries of existence.  As I considered this, I began to notice that the true nature of Zen practice is not to inject the mystery with a solution, but merely to be aware of the mystery as it reveals itself.  There is nothing to figure out in the completion of the present moment.  Although I am grateful for the teachers who came to America and spread the dharma, the hierarchy and worship of superiors, no matter what their behavior, seemed to grant them too much power.  How often have I heard modern Buddhist teachers boldly attempt to define what was never meant to be nailed down in such a way…notions of True Enlightenment, or Mindfulness, that have always been as relative and fluctuating as the breeze before a spring storm.

            It is out of this said relativity that comes the notion of the impact of modern thought.  I can recognize not only Edward Said’s influence, but Mandelbrot’s patterns of chaos, Dostoyevsky’s trace-like character of Prince Myshkin in The Idiot, The ability to distrust the paradigm of Judeo-Christianity through the works of Nietzsche, the delirious nightmares of Paul Bowles, the theoretical physics surrounding quantum theory, and the post-colonial perspective of Falon.  Foucault’s relativism has struck a chord with me also.  Sartre’s cynicism keeps me humble, while Derrida also keeps me on my toes.  As new thinkers are slowly discovered, I find their warnings as a further evolution, not a reactionary diversion, to the established Western Enlightenment thought of the 16th and 17th Centuries.

            Marx and Engels have also left their mark, and I find a correlation between the sharing and sense of community of the sangha and their theories.

            Obviously more needs to be said on this, which I will continue to elaborate on as time allows.


Links of Interest:

The Archaeology of Knowledge by Michel Foucault (first three chapters)

An Integral Theory of Consciousness by Ken Wilber

Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant

Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

Discourse and Truth by Michel Foucault

From "Spectres of Marx" by Jacques Derrida



Diary: Index: Writings: Inner Pages: Research:Teachings:

Happenings: April Archive: March Archive: Feb. Archive:

Passions: Link Archive