Tag: Radical Buddhism

BuddhismPhilosophy

Buddhism, Marxism, and Negating Self-centeredness — Preliminary Remarks on the Philosophy of Neville Wijeyekoon

summary — In 1943, S.N.B. (Neville) Wijeyekoon published a book under the pseudonym Leuke aiming to compare Buddhism and Marxism. It starts out doing so indeed, but the second half of the book presents his own philosophy focused on achieving mental harmony by negating self-centeredness through “merging one’s self in social welfare”. Wijeyekoon’s wrote two more books, and in one of those he further developed aspects of this idea, while eliminating the overt Buddhist and Marxist influence. This long blog post summarizes and comments on two of Wijeyekoon’s books (namely, his first and third). I do not have access to...
BuddhismPhilosophy

A Buddha Land in This World (New Book)

My new book, A Buddha Land in This World: Philosophy, Utopia, and Radical Buddhism, has just been published. Here is the abstract/back cover blurb: In the early twentieth century, Uchiyama Gudō, Seno’o Girō, Lin Qiuwu, and others advocated a Buddhism that was radical in two respects. Firstly, they adopted a more or less naturalist stance with respect to Buddhist doctrine and related matters, rejecting karma or other supernatural beliefs. And secondly, they held political and economic views that were radically anti-hegemonic, anti-capitalist, and revolutionary. Taking the idea of such a “radical Buddhism” seriously, A Buddha Land in This World: Philosophy,...
BuddhismPhilosophy

On Selfish and Selfless Readings of Buddhist Scripture

In Indian religions and philosophy, mokṣa – the escape from the cycle of death and rebirth (saṃsāra) and, thereby, the liberation from suffering (dukkha) – is (typically) the ultimate goal of (one’s/my/your) life. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and other schools of thought disagree about various details – Buddhists prefer the term nirvāṇa instead of mokṣa, for example – but all accept a version of the doctrine that right (non-) action leads to good karma, which leads to better rebirth, and ultimately to mokṣa. That ultimate goal is a selfish goal, however – the ultimate aim of my right (non-) action (regardless...
Philosophy

Uchiyama, Marx, and Gramsci on Ideological Superstitions

In 2019 typhoon Hagibis destroyed part of the railroad that leads to Hakone, a small town near a volcanic lake in Japan that has a long history as a resort town. One of the stops on the line that can no longer be reached by train is Ōhiradai. About fifty meter south of the station there is a small and inconspicuous temple named Rinsenji. In 1909, during the railroad’s construction, the police searched that temple. They found dynamite used for building the railroad that was temporarily stored there. They also found an illegal printing press under the main altar. That...
Buddhism

On Secular and Radical Buddhism

In a number of influential books and articles, Stephen Batchelor has proposed, developed, and defended something he has called (among others) “secular Buddhism” and “Buddhism 2.0”. The idea of such a secular or scientific or naturalistic or otherwise not traditionally religious kind of Buddhism isn’t new – it has been especially popular among 20th and 21st Western converts to Buddhism, but there have been Asian precursors as well. Nevertheless, the idea is also somewhat controversial. Adherents of “secular Buddhism” like Batchelor typically consider it a return to the roots of Buddhism and to the original teachings of the Buddha, but...