All of this means is that Vincent Horn has work to do. Hopefully he takes his Buddhist Geeks project to a better place as a result of this.
Anyway, I was looking at some of their material yesterday, and was struck by a few things:
- The Buddhist lineage holders they have represented ...are...just who? There's Diane Hamilton. Is Shinzen Young a recognized lineage holder? I know, I know, he's trained in this and that, and maybe he does have some authentic lineage recognition. I think he's a decent enough teacher from what I've seen. Ken McLeod has some training though. But Rinzai seems largely missing (with one exception I'll get to shortly). South East Asian: absent. Asian teachers from Asia are scarce except perhaps for a Tibetan teacher. Yes, yes, they had Martine Batchelor. But still...
- There is a huge over-representation of those "Integral" folks. "Integral," for those of you who read this blog and don't know about it, is a philosophy as crafted by someone who didn't really know what was going on in philosophy at the time. I can't really put it more politely than that, and I can be substantially less polite, so I should leave it there. (But for a hint as to why I'm so negative, let the thing speak for itself, so to speak.) To a Buddhist, a Mahayana Buddhist, a Mahayana Buddhist that's read Nagarjuna and the Lotus Sutra, "Integral" "philosophy" which purports to "explain/address everything" is not simply redundant - it's not even wrong, as the physicist (Pauli?) said. (You can go back and read that sentence in your best Christopher Walken impression, if you want.) Teachers associated with "Integral" in Buddhist Geeks include Diane Hamilton, Keith Martin-Smith, David Frenette, Hokai Sobol and others. Remember the overwhelming majority of Buddhist teachers in the US have no connection with "Integral" whatsoever. "Integral" is not anything that professional philosophers work with in any degree that I'm aware of. "Integral" has been roundly and justly derided in more than a few places (including this place) for its arrogant claims. Why this over-representation? Why no critics of Integral, of which there are more than a few, not the least folks who do have at least an introductory understanding of Western and Eastern thought? This I think is related to why BG have been so reluctant to respond to Arun's points about the lack of Asian representation in BG. Implicit in Arun's comments (not to mention Barbara's and mine) is that there's something missing from BG. But Integral folks would claim their philosophy has "nothing missing," which is kind of absurd because it doesn't contain its annihilation or synthesis. (Take some Hegel with some Nagarjuna and call me in the morning.) At any rate a decent portion of the Buddhist blogosphere, Brad Warner included, regards these Integral folks as spiritual hucksters. That these folks have a prominent place at any Buddhist conference raises some questions, to say the least.
- Regarding the things of technology, Buddhist Geeks is again highly provincial. I can't expect them to be exposed to the breadth of technical folks that I have. But just as one point: with the exception of a few folks dealing with computers/communication (and most that I've seen not in any deep sense) what other technical areas have been represented? By whom? I deal with folks who approach this subject much more deeply, and yes, that means these folks are not doing the difficult work, generally. And more to my point, environmental, biological, defense/security sciences, etc. are all left out of BG, as far as I've been able to tell.
- Oh, yes, they have "meditation as technology." This is rather problematic from a Buddhist standpoint, unless it's simply a bad expression. Technology relates to the use of tools. Tools are used for purposes, and meditation neither needs tools, nor, strictly speaking, is itself a tool.