New book is out. A Critique of Western Buddhism

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007fc460e2a640>


‘Every philosophy has to be equal’ is artificially forcing a normalisation for political correctness.


In order to maintain itself as an institution within the consumerist capitalist framework in which it operates, says Wallis, “Buddhism” must package and market itself. In doing so, he contends that Buddhism negates the very teachings it aims to convey.The Case Against “Buddhism” - Lion's Roar

This message is hardly new or unknown, as dhamma for mass consumption distorts the message to gain popularity.


It would be interesting to see if Lion’s Roar accepts any letters or comments in response to the interview.

Wallis’ points present a certain outlook that isn’t always seen in a Buddhist publication–at least in such a lofty and provocative form–but then again, is that outlook much different from what adherents of Buddhist-influenced secularism have presented? I’ve seen more than a few names present the same ideas about the perceived need to separate out what they consider the fantastic elements of Buddhism.

As for the glorification of mundane observations—like mindfulness helping stress—I’ll agree that that isn’t a profound truth that needs to be labeled “Buddhist.” But if anyone reduces the entire Buddhist path to a simple technique—a technique, which is, at best, 1/8 of what Buddhism could be said to be about—then they’re missing something quite large about the Buddhist project. (I’d also note that Buddhism often—but not always—points out things that seem to be “common sense,” yet somehow no one seems to follow that advice anyway.)

Unless it somehow gets library circulation, I’ll probably never get around to reading it, though :man_shrugging:t5:


Yes, I don’t think Lion’s Roar would have any trouble with an article calling for separating out the fantastic from the non-fantastic elements of Buddhism. After all, the magazine was founded by Chogyam Trungpa who was known for his very psychological interpretation of the colorful imaginarium and history of Tibetan Buddhism.

But I gather Wallis wants to go further than this, and wants “western” Buddhists to stop thinking of themselves as Buddhists altogether, and to enter a new phase of “non-Buddhism” where Buddhist ideas have no sort of ideological supremacy in their lives, but just exist side by side with other systems of occasionally helpful ideas with which they are in dialogue.


Sorry for taking so long to reply I haven’t been online for a bit. Thanks for clarifying for me, from memory what he had to say was so full of undefined terminology that for me it was next to impossible for me to follow what he was saying even in broad terms. To be honest it doesn’t surprise me, just another academic who has failed to put any of the Buddha’s teachings into actual practice whilst pontificating on the subject with little to no practical understanding.




Is Wallis advocating secular Buddhism?


I don’t know if that’s right. I dont know that much about Wallis, but my understanding is that he was a dedicated practitioner for years and then became disillusioned with the instituons or ideology of western Buddhism.


I don’t think so. I think he views secular Buddhism as something that still wants to see or identify itself as a kind of Buddhism.