"Temples are grand artistic works..."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Experimental Buddhism in Brief

Imagine a "Buddhism" that is...

  • continually reinvented and reworked
  • actively selected and shaped by a variety of actors, in a trial-and-error approach, for relevance that may be both social and religious
  • in synch with historically unprecedented social conditions
  • liberated from conventional teachings, methods, and organizational structures
  • seeking new applications that have relevance for men and women today
  • unafraid to explore unfamiliar themes that challenge the relevance of religion
  • embedded in the social and cultural context in which a person’s life is situated
  • a resource rather than a blueprint for action and meaning
  • pragmatic and rational
  • empirically grounded in the realities of contemporary society
  • aligned with and conditioned by the shifting dynamics of the current day
These points and many more are discussed in detail in my essay, found in the section to the right. I plan to make available chapters of my book as well.

The Basics

Thanks to Tricycle Magazine for providing a kick in the *!#+ to get this Blog in gear! They're publishing my slightly subversive essay about Experimental Buddhism in the 2010 Winter issue, (out Nov. 1st.)

This is a wonderful privilege, and I'm most appreciative. A big and special thanks to editor Andrew Cooper for helping the essay land smoothly and without incident.

And now that you're here, maybe you'll linger two minutes and--in that time--have your conception of Buddhism supplemented and extended via Japan's innovative and activist priests.

Curiosity? Doubt? Affirmation? WTF? All welcome here!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Welcome to the world of Experimental Buddhism! (More about the concept in a moment...)

This site will try and incorporate ideas, trends, practices, and people engaged in new forms of Buddhism in contemporary cultures and societies worldwide.

It will serve as an exploratory forum for making sense of the diverse approaches to "Buddhism," which can range from forest-dwelling monks in Thailand to activists promoting same-sex marriage in Oregon.

(Actually, there is no single entity or organization called "Buddhism," so perhaps it's more accurate to add an "s" to word, although it sounds a bit awkward.)

At any rate, this site is hereby officially launched at 2:15 Sunday afternoon, October 18, 2009, with the sound of a temple bell to commemorate the occasion.