Friday, 18 May 2012

Punk Buddhism

A punk movement of spiritual practitioners
From The Guardian...

"The breakfast session begins with a presentation by Rohan Gunatillake, creator of the urban meditation app Buddhify. Having first explored Buddhist practice when working in Manchester, Gunatillake is a firm believer in the idea that Buddhism is compatible with city living. This is Buddhism as filtered through modern marketing, with the jargon to boot – there's lots of talk of Buddhism as an "industry of awakening" and an "innovation tradition", as well as a desire to tackle Buddhism's "pathological" attitude to money.

Gunatillake is an engaging performer though, casting Buddhism as "a punk movement of spiritual practitioners", with Buddha as a proto-scientist using "inner technologies" to explore the nature of human experience and the mechanics of suffering. He's particularly interesting in charting the migration of Buddhist practice, from austere and scholarly south-Asian Buddhism, moving east through China, Korea and Japan (zen), and on to Tibet. The hippies then brought Buddhism to the baby-boomers and creating a "western meditative tradition".

He brings the timeline up-to-date with the birth of the "hipster meditator", a postmodern Buddhist influenced by all three Buddhist traditions, as well as the science on the neurological effect of meditation and consumerism. As Gunatillake puts it:
It's not about looking to the East, to the mountaintop in India or the zen garden in Japan or a monastery in Burma, it's about making it work here.
And there's plenty of evidence to show there are people doing exactly that, with groups like buddhistgeeks, an online community dedicated to modern Buddhist practitioners, and the #OMCru (that's Online Meditation Crew for the uninitiated, a group who encourage meditation through Twitter) and Gunatillake's own Buddhify app (tagline: "Modern meditation. To go.") It's even spreading to the corporate sector, with Google encouraging their employees to read Search Inside Yourself in a bid to improve their wellbeing and productivity."

... another facet of the Dharma Jewel becoming visible, or just another Dharmaburger?



No comments: