The article is an interesting one, it’s either way over my head or positively confusing or both, but I struggle with the box that the author puts neo/eb into. Are there neo traps on the way to my kuti that I should be aware of?
The author doesn’t at all mention the practices of Metta, Karuna, Mudita, or upekkha, which indeed work to soften the hard road between the conditioned and the condition-less. Instead, there are terms like disengage and detachment and a rather bleak picture of making dukkha the salient feature of life, maybe it is, but not in a depressing way. I definitely wouldn’t use the words disengage and detach. It’s my belief that the divine abidings are the important features of life. Metta, equanimity, and all that in between.
If someone argues that a good experience that ends in suffering, was ultimately worth the suffering, then they haven’t fully understood just how long we’ve been in samsara. And because they haven’t fully understood how long we’ve been in samsara, they haven’t understood the full extent of dukkha. If they don’t understand dukkha, then passion arises, and if it leads to passion, it’s not the path. Dukkha is wearisome, and even the best experiences become a reminder of that. If it wasn’t for the Brahmaviharas, I could see how the path would seem pessimistic, but rather, it is full of love and joy and with some work, equanimity! Experience joy, but don’t lose the balance of your mind when it’s gone. Am I way off base here?
If neo Buddhist spread the idea of life affirmations in one hand but in the other hand judge conditioned reality as dukkha. Wouldn’t the practice of the divine abidings reconcile these apparent opposites? We must work within the field of the conditioned in order to break free into the condition-less. Letting go of the world is one aspect, cultivation of wholesome qualities is the other.
I live in a community of lay followers who are all celibate, who alternate between five and eight precepts regularly, who meditate a minimum of three hours daily, and who serve the community by hosting courses that spread (a digestible amount of) dhamma to people who would otherwise not-likely visit a vihara. Although small, these communities exist all over the globe and I believe could be the modern equivalent to “lay people dressed in white”? At the very least, we come close. Often these places have a bad rep on this forum because we’re technically a secular educational facility (or perhaps we’re neo eb?). Whereas in reality, the people living here are hardly secular.