Thursday, June 17, 2010

Buddhist blogs, Blogisattva awards, and What Makes You Think I Can Tell You Anything Abut Buddhism?!?

As everyone in the eclectically self-selected world in the Western Buddhist blogsosphere knows, the Blogisattva awards have been resuscitated.  The award categories are:

Blog of the year, Svaha!

Best Post of the Year

Best Achievement in Skilled Writing

Best Achievement Blogging on Buddhist Practice or Dharma

Best Buddhist Practice Blog

Best "Life" Blog 

Best Blogging on Matters Philosophical, Psychological or Scientific

Best Achievement in Kind and Compassionate Blogging

Best Achievement Blogging Opinion Pieces or about Political Issues

Best Engage-the-World Blog 

Best Achievement in Design

Best Achievement in Wide Range of Topic Interests Blogging 

Best Achievement with Humor in a Blog Post
And in thinking about who I would nominate for these posts, I am thinking about the history of this blog, about blogging in general, Buddhist blogging (whatever that is - I still am not quite sure what that is), blogging as Buddhist practice, etc.
What is a good Buddhist blog or blog post?  If I were to post a bit about PowerPoint Edward Tufte,  would you realize that was a Buddhist blog post? I think it would be, but you might not think so.   I had first blogged on this blog July 26th 2004, and at that time this blog was largely a political blog that happened to be written by a Buddhist.  I was very concerned  -and still am today - about the situation in our country, where there is a great over-weighting of conservative ideation, including such ideation in religious matters.   (Google "Institute for Religion and Democracy" as an example.)  Almost all the posts from 2004 are political in nature (at one time the original Firedoglake blog linked to this blog), but as I had more time and blogging experience I realized that there are others that care more and do more on this than I could, and besides, there's a lot to blog about where I am.

But it was always a Buddhist blogging.  Or so I think.   Even back in 2006  I was a Buddhist criticizing PowerPoint.   Round about 2007 this blog started getting more "Buddhist" in the sense that this blog had more posts specifically about Buddhism,  Buddhist blogs, etc.

I was still a Buddhist blogging.  Or so I think.  

I like the way this blog has evolved.  But... were any of these posts good Buddhist blog posts? 

How should I know?

And what of other bloggers?

Some of them - some quite better at writing blog posts that capture thinking -than this  racket here -  have been practicing Buddhism for a shorter period of time than I've been blogging.  Good for them.

I've been thankful to have seen many of these bloggers' works, even if sometimes their take on Buddhism is provincial enough to make me bury my head in my hands *.  From others, I've learned a great deal, even if their work sometimes comes across as synthetic versions of Shunryu Suzuki,  D.T. Suzuki or Taizan Maezumi.  

And yes, I've been shocked to find that there are folks that take Ken Wilber seriously.

Is it all good Buddhist blogging? Is any of it good Buddhist blogging? Is any of it in particular good Buddhist blogging?

I suppose if it furthers the objectives of Buddhism one could call it that.   But just as in the early days of this blog I think  in terms of tthose objectives my blog fell terribly short of those goals, I think everyone in the Buddhist blogosphere falls short too. (And I continue to do so myself.)  None of us are authorized by anyone to have the "definitive" versions of Buddhism, whether it's Norman Fischer, Brad Warner, or any of the other guys with seals of approval.

None of us are anointed by anyone to opine on Buddhist-Political issues any more than any other.

None of us are authorized to tell you, dear reader, wherever you are, how you should practice Buddhism, or whether you should even practice Buddhism at all!

I read some of the bloggers of whom I find a great deal of lack of exposure of the world of Buddhism to which I've been exposed, and wonder from time to time, what makes you think they can tell you anything about Buddhism? 

What makes you think could tell you anything about Buddhism?  
What makes you think that anything I, or anyone else says is Buddhism?

In a world with Dennis Genpo Merzel, what makes you think I'm giving you a counterpoint to that?

The world is vast and wide, why do you put on your robe at the sound of the bell?

Yeah, yeah, they're Yun-Men's words, why should you listen to that dead guy?
* Of course my own work is just as provincial; I've only been to where I've been physically mentally, and practice-wise.


Kyle Lovett said...

Sooo not sure, are you criticizing the award thing? This would be like the fifth one today...../sigh

Mumon said...


Not at all. Really, not at all!!!

I think, rather, it's a wonderful thing simply because it raises this question!

Thank you!!!

Kyle Lovett said...

Would you like to volunteer to help put together the rules that feel may fit with your ideas of who is eligible and who isn't?

Mumon said...

Sure. You can contact me at MumonJMK---&*&^* at*&*&*^*^gmail dot com.

With of course the removal of non-alphabetics and spaces and the replacement of the at and dot with the appropriate symbols.

Hopefully you understand that and the spam-bots don't.

Anonymous said...

I really see no better choice, but to say yes, I agree. Let's all jump on the bandwagon.
This is a clear example of a harmless meaningless post, so why delete it, mr Moderator?
I don't have a website yet, but I'm planning on starting a blog like yours, any tips?
I'm not sure I agree with you on some key points. Do you allow guest blog posts? I'd love to write on this topic.

File not found. Should I fake it? (Y/N)