Thursday, January 29, 2009

You learn something new everyday...

That obnoxious Shamwow guy is sort of Scientology political prisoner, speaking metaphorically. And an allegedly horrible film maker. Which explains why he sells Shamwows on TV.

One might not be surprised then if Billy Mays was a world-renowed koto player, but I've no information on that, or whether instead he's studied shakuhachi.

I've got another post percolating in my head on the "spiritual hucksterism" riff, from the 12 step bit: the relationship between spiritual paths a.k.a. religious paths and science.

In particular, The Zennist's false dichotomy mentioned here should be addressed:

On the same track, if Buddhism appears to be dying or overly detranscendentalized in which it seems no longer spiritual to us but, instead, scientific, it owes this—doesn’t it?—to the influence of Western Buddhists who are closet nihilists—or heading in that direction?

Why should we trust such Westerners? Didn’t these same Westerners turn to Buddhism’s emptiness in their darkest hour who were overfilled with nihilism and a disgust for the sacred? Even now, don’t they believe that emptiness means that there is fundamentally no spiritual absolute, since all is dependently originated and, therefore, finite? And isn’t the proof of their doctrine this: that in zazen we should find nothing that is not also found in the commonplace mind of the consumer who is drinking a cafè latte at a coffee house?

One of the things I admire about Buddhism, as I've apprehended it, is that you don't have to check your brains at the door or shrink to making writhing logical fallacies in response to pretty much any philosophical exposition.

This is a double edged sword, because on the one hand you've got the folks who can make Buddhism into anything ("Look! Buddhism was invented by Bill Wilson!" "And it's compatible with what Oral Roberts says!") and on the other and you can make Buddhism into not anything, as the Zennist does above.

So, like, uh, dude, where's the middle path in all of this?

More to come, and peace be upon the Shamwow guy...

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