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December 27, 2005 7:19 AM   Subscribe

Matt Damitio's shamelessly egotistical Buddhist-Anarchist blog offers three books for free download: Slackville Road, a novel about homelessness in the US; Rough Living: An Urban Survival Manual about how to survive, er, homelessness in the US, and, last but not least, the Anarchist Manifesto Project, which offers an easy introduction to such rare philosophical delicacies as Anarcho-Taoism, primitivism, syndicalism, and green anarchism... a healthy antidote to the sense of defeated self-loathing that the corporations have generously given us all for Christmas. "Money is what the system tells us people obviously need", opines Damitio. "However, if one takes a deeper look, it becomes clear that what we really need is time. Time to enjoy a spontaneous discussion. Time to express our views and hear them critiqued. Time to hear the views of others and allow our thoughts and ideas to evolve."
posted by cleardawn (66 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Money is what the system tells us people obviously need"

You don't refer to 'the system' as such in anything you expect to be taken seriously.
posted by Ryvar at 7:28 AM on December 27, 2005


Okay, Ryvar, what word should have been substituted?
posted by leftcoastbob at 7:33 AM on December 27, 2005


For an espoused anarchist, he surely seems to support GoogleAds, some sort of skateboard company, and a whole bunch of poorly formatted schlock in his sidebars...

oh wait. he answers this question:

"2) You are curious about the google ads…i.e. Why the fuck does he have advertising on this otherwise very cool very uncommercial site?
answer...
I want to be really super ultra very fukn rich…someday…every penny counts…help a brother out….

If you just want to send me money…email me at the above address…."


Ah yeah. Sounds like me, ten years ago.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:37 AM on December 27, 2005


Interesting.

...shamelessly egotistical Buddhist...

Big oxymoron!
posted by Shane at 7:40 AM on December 27, 2005


Not answering for Ryvar, but 'the system' is a horrible anthropomorphism, turning impersonal processes or pressures like the market or consumerism into moral actors, which they aren't.

It's a loaded phrase, because it is faintly conspiratorial, and poor thinking because it's very vague, so it can stand for a whole range of unexplored and undefined Bad Things.
posted by athenian at 7:42 AM on December 27, 2005


I had a couple of paragraphs here that athenian just summed up very nicely. Nice job.

Okay, Ryvar, what word should have been substituted?

"Many people believe that money is the most fundamental of their needs. However, if one takes a deeper look, it becomes clear that what we really need is time." etc.

When you drop the term 'the system' in any current discussion about socio-economics, you make it impossible for a vast body of intelligent people to take you seriously.
posted by Ryvar at 7:47 AM on December 27, 2005


what we really need is time. Time to enjoy a spontaneous discussion. Time to express our views and hear them critiqued.

Move to Europe. Or, better yet, the Balkans. Spending endless hours sitting and talking in cafes is a national sport.
posted by Ljubljana at 7:48 AM on December 27, 2005


Part of "Four Ways To Get What You Need", excerpted from ROUGH LIVING: TIPS AND TALES OF A VAGABOND

Asking
This method is almost scary in it's effectiveness. You
simply
figure out exactly what it is that you want, who has
it or can
provide it, and then you ask for it. There's no
guarantee that it
will work, but I've found it invaluable to get over my
shyness or
sense of the ridiculous and simply ask, "Can I have
this coat?" or
whatever...you won't know until you try it.

Taking
I'm not proud of it, but I've done my share of taking.
I try to
restrict my theft to what I truly need or things that
hurt
individuals little while stinging the big
corporations. Sure, it's
justification, but it feels better to know that the
bank, the
airlines, or their credit card company will reimburse
someone. If you
truly want to learn how to take things, I recommend
Abbie
Hoffman's "Steal This Book." (Steal this book is
available as a free download at gonzobeats!)


It sounds to me like he's done pretty well getting by with his own very un-inspired philosophy. A world with more than a handful of this type doesn't strike me as scary, just incredibly boring and tedious. Whenever the "anarchists" made the news a few years ago from Eugene, I kept wondering what sort of asshole subjects a kid to this sort of nonsense.
posted by docpops at 8:10 AM on December 27, 2005


When you drop the term 'the system' in any current discussion about socio-economics, you make it impossible for a vast body of intelligent people to take you seriously.
posted by Ryvar


When you drop the phrase "vast body of intelligent people" into any discussion-current or not-you make it impossible for the non-pedantic to take you seriously.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:13 AM on December 27, 2005


cleardawn posted "a healthy antidote to the sense of defeated self-loathing that the corporations have generously given us all for Christmas."

See, this is what sucks about not keeping on top of things: I didn't get any defeated self-loathing for Christmas. Did I have to sign up somewhere, or what?
posted by Bugbread at 8:14 AM on December 27, 2005


"egotistical buddhist."

I could feel my IQ draining away while looking at this drivel.

Like Billy Joel's angry young man with too many brain cells to work at McDonalds and too little character to actually do anything to help anybody.

I need a drink, and a good book what to revive my frontal lobe.
posted by BeerGrin at 8:16 AM on December 27, 2005


I didn't get any defeated self-loathing for Christmas. Did I have to sign up somewhere, or what?

You should've seen the crowd at the mall trying to get the last of this. It was a madhouse.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:26 AM on December 27, 2005


Metafilter: Shamelessly egotistical Buddhists.
posted by anomie at 8:45 AM on December 27, 2005


Can there be an egotistical Buddhist?

Mu.
posted by unreason at 8:47 AM on December 27, 2005


wouldn't that be the ultimate zen?
posted by anomie at 8:51 AM on December 27, 2005


Bah, Zen is to the teachings of Buddha as Fred Phelps is to the teachings of Jesus.
posted by Bugbread at 9:16 AM on December 27, 2005



posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:19 AM on December 27, 2005


And in 10 years this kid won't be an anarchist but another drone.
posted by melt away at 9:24 AM on December 27, 2005


Obviously an attempt by "the man" to work "the system" in order to keep "the silent majority" silent.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:31 AM on December 27, 2005


Athenian: ". . . turning impersonal processes or pressures like the market or consumerism into moral actors, which they aren't."

But how should we look at "the market" and "consumerism"? At the particular economic and social relationships that evolve and are maintained despite the steady turnover of individual people? There isn't some tiny cabal pulling the strings, but calling these processes "impersonal" downplays their power in shaping our lives.

The "system" is a pretty crappy term. But we do live in one (or many, with lots of overlap and interlinking.) And without a thousand-word footnote every time you want to indicate our society's prevailing arrangement, "system" works just fine for me.
posted by Coherence Panda at 9:36 AM on December 27, 2005


AskMefi: This Christmas I bought a DVD player from Best Buy but it didn't come with the sense of defeated self-loathing feature. Is that something I can activate with firmware upgrade?
posted by StarForce5 at 9:43 AM on December 27, 2005


If he advocates stealing, he is not a Buddhist.
bugbread, that's a rather odd thing to say. Since Zennists don't protest at the funerals of people who died from AIDS, I have no idea what your point is.
posted by Outlawyr at 9:49 AM on December 27, 2005


Why do I have to sign-up and register with a corporation to download a free book? Is that another attempt by the system to control me? I am not a robot!
posted by StarForce5 at 9:49 AM on December 27, 2005


Read the blog. Eh.

There are occasionally insightful comments, but nothing you can't get from any other reasonably articulate blogger. This one was very noisy with little signal.
posted by verb at 9:56 AM on December 27, 2005


There isn't some tiny cabal pulling the strings, but calling these processes "impersonal" downplays their power in shaping our lives.

Why do you say that? Peoples' lives are shaped by impersonal processes all the time. The problem with "the system" is exactly what you hint at - it implies that these processes are guided, Oz-like, by a man behind the curtain. Otherwise, how would one rebel against it? King Canute ordering the tide to recede?
posted by me & my monkey at 10:11 AM on December 27, 2005


Outlawyr : "Since Zennists don't protest at the funerals of people who died from AIDS, I have no idea what your point is."

That the teachings of Zen (or, better phrased, the whole of Mahayana Buddhism of which Zen is one part) is pretty much antithetical to the teachings of Buddha, as Fred Phelps is pretty much antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. To be fair, there are further out branches of Mahayana than Zen, so perhaps I should have used Pat Robertson for the comparison.

Regarding the "protesting at AIDS funerals" thing, well, yeah, of course that's not what Zen Buddhists do. I'm not saying "Zen:Buddhism::Fred Phelps:Buddhism", or "Zen:Decent Folks::Fred Phelps:Decent Folks".

Buddhism says "Hey, we're all impermanent. Fuck that, we don't even exist. We only think we exist. That's ignorance, and must be overcome, and then we can dissipate. Buddha's no god, he's just a guy. He'll be dust soon." Jesus says "Here's my main lessons: love eachother. Forgive eachother. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Be nice."

Zen Buddhists say "Yeah, so Buddha is one of a line of Buddhas, which will culminate in Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of the future, coming and saving everyone. But you know who's cooler than Buddha? Boddhisatvas, people who have attained the knowledge of Buddha but...uh...not achieved nirvana. Yeah." Pat Robertson says "I love all my fellow Christians, and I hope they unite me in hoping that Hugo Chavez gets a bullet to the head."

So, different initial teachings lead to different antitheses. My point was just that some people were saying "egotistical Buddhist? But that's a contradiction!", and I'm just adding, "Well, he's a Zen Buddhist, which is a contradiction right there anyway."
posted by Bugbread at 10:29 AM on December 27, 2005


bugbread, you ain't read enough zen. leave it at that. but you sure talked to enough Pat-Robertson-masters, whoever they are. it's no-horse, i can tell you that much.

I've yet to find anything espoused by anarchists, peace lovers, socialists, communists, green , vegan activists... damn, any ist at all, that wasn't seriously debunked by a college level econ 101 class.

People don't need time, and they don't need money. They need food and shelter. How can they get them? It ain't green-arch-socia-activism baby. It surely ain't.
posted by ewkpates at 10:39 AM on December 27, 2005


Ewkpates, I dunno, I've done my research on a lot of Zen (I prefer Ch'an, and freely admit I know diddlysquat about Soen), and admit that when it comes down to individual teachings, it has some stuff in common with the teachings of Buddhism (it's not as far out as the whole devotional Mahayana shit), but the very fact that it accepts the Lotus Sutra is pretty much a snub at Buddha. "Yeah, you said that we're all just impermanent, insubstantial trappings of ignorance, and that with enlightenment we cease to be, but, hey, fuck that, we've just promoted you to the status of Eternal God!"
posted by Bugbread at 10:47 AM on December 27, 2005


Unmon said: "I do not ask you about fifteen days ago. But what about fifteen days hence? Come, say a word about this!" Since none of the monks answered, he answered for them: "Every day is a good day."

http://www.chinapage.com/zen/koan1.html
posted by MetaMonkey at 10:48 AM on December 27, 2005


I've yet to find anything espoused by a college level econ 101 class that wasn't seriously debunked by anarchists, peace lovers, socialists, communists, greens, vegan activists, or indeed any serious analyses of reality.

Perfect competition? Consumers motivated only by well-informed, rational self-interest? Lack of collusion among suppliers? Please.

Look at Argentina (or indeed any other IMF 'model student'): that's what happens when a government takes college 101 economics seriously. If capitalist economic theory ever predicts anything other than the opposite of what actually happens, color me surprised.
posted by cleardawn at 10:53 AM on December 27, 2005


cleardawn : "If capitalist economic theory ever predicts anything other than the opposite of what actually happens, color me surprised."

Well, the NGage had a moderate supply but very very low demand, so people bought little of it, so prices dropped. However, in Japan, when beef imports from the US were cut off, supply lessened, while demand stayed the same, so the price of beef rose.

What color is "surprised"? I'm looking in my crayon box, but I can't find it.
posted by Bugbread at 10:56 AM on December 27, 2005


Perfect competition? Consumers motivated only by well-informed, rational self-interest? Lack of collusion among suppliers? Please.

Economics actually addresses all of those issues, cleardawn. The reason your econ101 class doesn't is because it's intended as a simple intoduction to the laws of supply and demand, not a comprehensive study.
posted by unreason at 10:59 AM on December 27, 2005


Zen Buddhists say "Yeah, so Buddha is one of a line of Buddhas, which will culminate in Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of the future, coming and saving everyone.

Wow, you really don't know what you're talking about. Buddhism itself has many different forms since it spread to many countries that each put a different spin on it. Zen also has different "flavors". There might be Zen Buddhists somewhere that agree with your statement, but it does not represent the beliefs of all Zen Buddhists. And the distinctions between Zen and Buddhism are not any greater than those between the various forms fo Buddhism.

Phelps is a hate monger, and the belief you attribute to Zennists is not about hate, or corruption, or bigotry, or anything else one would associate with Phelps. So your analogy is false, even as applied to those Zennists who agree with your statement of Zen belief.

If you're interested in learning what Zen is really about I would suggest The Three Pillars of Zen by Kapleau and Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Suzuki. Zen is consistent with the teachings of Buddha and certainly does not focus on some future event. The focus is now. Right now.
This.
posted by Outlawyr at 11:02 AM on December 27, 2005


cleardawn : "I've yet to find anything espoused by a college level econ 101 class that wasn't seriously debunked by anarchists, peace lovers, socialists, communists, greens, vegan activists, or indeed any serious analyses of reality."

unreason : "The reason your econ101 class doesn't is because it's intended as a simple intoduction to the laws of supply and demand, not a comprehensive study."

Exactly. If by "debunked", you mean "shown to not be absolute truth", the same could be said for Econ 201: There's little if anything espoused by a college level Econ 101 class that isn't seriously "debunked" by Econ 201.
posted by Bugbread at 11:06 AM on December 27, 2005


Marx, on the other hand, correctly predicted the endless boom-bust cycle inherent in capitalism, as well as the end of the commons, globalization, and the rise of the Welfare State. If he'd done a bit better in terms of predicting the abuse of Marxism by authoritarian scumbags like Stalin, he'd get more respect... still...

unreason: It's true that modern economic theories do include a lot of Marx's critiques. But ewkpates specifically mentioned econ101... and the general public understanding of economics is also about that level. And most of them believe economics to be a science, too, which is interesting.

Many mainstream capitalist economic theories have been throughly falsified by the last 50 years of history, yet they are all still routinely treated as "true" because they enable the rich to defraud the rest of us. Trickle-down economics, anyone?

As for the Buddhist-egotistical thing, I found that amusing since Buddhist practice tends to really focus on how egotistical one is, and Buddhists are thus perhaps the only people to really have the opportunity to be shameless about it...

Surprised is a kind of pinky red color, BB.
posted by cleardawn at 11:07 AM on December 27, 2005


If he advocates stealing, he is not a Buddhist.
Well, not a very good one. I did no more than skim the blog, so I can't see if he claimed to be a good one--curiously, the ones who claim to be good at it are often the worst. Which is sort of a truism in any religion, really.

bugbread, that's a rather odd thing to say. Since Zennists don't protest at the funerals of people who died from AIDS, I have no idea what your point is.
Oh, I can see where he's coming from, even without the amplification of his later posts. I mean, crappy analogy, yeah, but I read that as a good-natured trolling attempt.

Buddhism as a whole is pretty interesting, because it's in the sort of overall state that Christianity might be in if "the" early faith had been more live-and-let-live about what exactly was and wasn't heresy and apostasy and such. Read something like When Jesus Became God, with a speculative what-if eye towards: what if all that political energy hadn't been thrown into making One True Doctrine, and instead been the comparatively calmer splittings into umpty different sects? I think a lot of the gnostic gospels would have produced variants of Christianity that would make the most excited excesses of Mahayana narratives look downright sober in comparison.

The Lotus Sutra is a fantastically trippy piece of religious literature, involving the Pirate Buddha and Ninja Tathagata throwing down with flying enightenment-guillotines amongst other things. (Well, okay, that was a lie. But if I ever get a working time machine, it will have ceased to be.) It holds that even Pat Robertson will be a Buddha someday, but it'll go into several thousand words describing the exponential numbers of kalpas it'll take. Big on kalpas, the Lotus. Kalpas and all the sands of the Ganges. Can't get enough of 'em.
posted by Drastic at 11:13 AM on December 27, 2005


Cleardawn, you are wrong even in what you (appear to believe) are your slam-dunks.

For example, the correctness of the insight which its doubters call "trickle down" has been repeatedly demonstrated.

High investment taxes and marginal income taxes are very effective at discouraging the productive economic activity. Remove those constraints, and high-value labor and investment naturally rise. High value labor creates a demand for low value labor (lawyers need secretaries) and investments directly creates (mostly) low value labor jobs.

By contrast, efforts immediately to prime the pump at the level of low value labor tend to fail. Artificial wage and job security restraints limit job creation (see: Europe) and direct subsididization of consumption tends to be overwhelmed by the negative externalities of the bad incentives (see: any ghetto).
posted by MattD at 11:27 AM on December 27, 2005


Outlawyr : "Wow, you really don't know what you're talking about. Buddhism itself has many different forms since it spread to many countries that each put a different spin on it. Zen also has different 'flavors'. There might be Zen Buddhists somewhere that agree with your statement, but it does not represent the beliefs of all Zen Buddhists. And the distinctions between Zen and Buddhism are not any greater than those between the various forms fo Buddhism. "

Zen Buddhism is a subset of Mahayana Buddhism, which of course has a billion other sects in it. What people call "Zen" Buddhism is generally a mix of Zen, Ch'an, and (maybe) Soen. (Japan, China, and Korea, respectively). However, it's pretty well established that all three of them are part of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism, not the Therevada school. One of the prime differences between Mahayana and Therevada is the role of salvation figures, and the belief in something beyond parinirvana.

While I agree that some individual Zen Buddhists (especially now, when historical and regional links are weaker than before) may be Therevada Buddhists who adopt some of the ideas about Upaya and meditation from Zen, Zen Buddhism, as a branch of Buddhism, is still undeniably Mahayana, and while it may not concentrate as heavily on the future Buddha/past Buddha/eternal Buddha aspects of Mahayana Buddhism as, say, Jodo or Shingon, it still accepts as "scripture" (with, except, of course, the Zen concept of tearing down scripture while not tearing down scripture) quite a lot of teachings that are pretty much in direct contradiction to what Gautama taught.

Outlawyr : "Phelps is a hate monger, and the belief you attribute to Zennists is not about hate, or corruption, or bigotry, or anything else one would associate with Phelps. So your analogy is false, even as applied to those Zennists who agree with your statement of Zen belief."

Huh? Ok, let me simplify this. A is to NotA as B is to NotB. If "A" is "Peace", and B is "Large", then "Peace is to War as Large is to Small" is true. That doesn't mean that Peace is Large, or that the argument is inaccurate because Small is not War. Phelps believes the opposite of what Jesus taught (ok, not the exact opposite, but the opposite of one of the core teachings). Mahayanists believe the opposite of what Buddha taught (ok, not the exact opposite, but the opposite of one of the core teachings). There's nothing in there that says that therefore Phelps believes the same things as Mahayanists, unless you're one of those folks who believe Jesus was Buddha. Yeah, Phelps is a hate monger, and what I'm talking about Zennists is not about hate. How does that make the analogy false? I'm not comparing Phelps to Zennists. I'm comparing Phelps relationship with the teachings of he whom he professes to follow to Zennists relationship with the teachings of he whom they profess to follow.

Outlawyr : "If you're interested in learning what Zen is really about I would suggest The Three Pillars of Zen by Kapleau and Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Suzuki."

Haven't read the former. Read the latter. I've read a decent bit besides that (can't remember all the names). But, to be honest, my favorite book on Zen was "Sun Faced Buddha, Moon Faced Buddha", for pretty much all the wrong reasons. That book cracked me up.
posted by Bugbread at 11:28 AM on December 27, 2005


By the way, apologies on using an analogy that seems to obscure more than it illuminates. I usually go for strongly defined analogies to make the point clearer, but it looks like this time I overdid it, and now the exposure meter is all fucked up. It wasn't meant to be a troll, per se, in that the goal wasn't to rile people up or start a big argument, but to give a bit of a jolt in what I consider a relatively complacent Western view of Zen (if you want to see me get all hot and bothered, start defending the other Mahayana sects of Japanese Buddhism, and the way they are actually practiced in modern times. Then you'll see smoke curling from my mouth.)

Drastic: If I ever make a time machine, I'll give you a free ride, because...man, Pirate Buddha vs. Ninja Tathagata: That's something I want to see, and that will make finding analogies like 10000% funner.
posted by Bugbread at 11:38 AM on December 27, 2005


Actually, your analogy is this:
Zen is to the teachings of Buddha as Fred Phelps is to the teachings of Jesus.

so

Religion A is to Religion B as Person C is to Religion D

Do you see the problem? In the first instance you compare one religion to another. In the second, you compare a person, who just so happens to be a famous hate monger. This reads to any casual observer as trolling. It has nothing to do with the FPP or subsequent discussion, so it's also a derail.

If your point is that Matt Damitio is to Zen/Buddhism as Phelps is to Christianity, then why don't you say so? It's still inflamatory, but at least has something to do with the discussion.

Finally, you mention, "the Zen concept of tearing down scripture while not tearing down scripture". Zen neither tears down nor exalts "scripture". It is a special transmission, outside the sutras, not dependent on words or speech.
posted by Outlawyr at 11:45 AM on December 27, 2005


Outlawyr : "Actually, your analogy is this:
"Zen is to the teachings of Buddha as Fred Phelps is to the teachings of Jesus.

"so

"Religion A is to Religion B as Person C is to Religion D"


Good point. Sorry. Zen is to Buddha as Crusader era Christianity is to Christ, perhaps?

Outlawyr : "It has nothing to do with the FPP or subsequent discussion, so it's also a derail. "

There, we have to disagree. It was a continuation of a previous derail by others, which is if being egotistical and being Buddhist are contradictory. I was just pointing out that the guy is a Zen Buddhist, so he's somewhat contradictory from the start, even without the egotism part.

I guess it comes down to if you're a descriptivist or a proscriptivist when it comes to terminology. I'm generally a descriptivist, but I have a stubborn streak that wants words to mean what they appear, and hence for Buddhism to mean "the philosophy of Buddha", not "that which is called Buddhism". So, if you're a descriptivist, there's no contradiction in "Mahayana Buddhism", and my comment makes little sense. If you're a proscriptivist, it makes sense as a followup to the initial derail of "egotistical Buddhist?!"

Outlawyr : "Finally, you mention, 'the Zen concept of tearing down scripture while not tearing down scripture'. Zen neither tears down nor exalts 'scripture'. It is a special transmission, outside the sutras, not dependent on words or speech."

Well, yes and no. It also depends on what era of Zen you're talking about. In the initial Ch'an koans (or, gong-ans, if you want to keep historically uniform), there were no "answers" to the koans. They weren't scripture, they were just statements to elicit enlightenment. However, there are now enough commentaries and "answers" that they are essentially scriptures. However, they are scriptures that lead one to the answer, not scriptures that provide the answer. They are boats to take you to the other side, which you don't need when you get there.

It's one of the things that makes talking about Zen difficult sometimes. It has sutras that are revered as useful in pointing to the truth, but, again, those sutras are just guideposts and pointers, paper and ink. Zen is outside of logic and language, and yet is explained with many words. It reveres the Buddha, but tells its adherents to kill the Buddha. So, it reveres, while not revering, and also both and neither.
posted by Bugbread at 12:04 PM on December 27, 2005


SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!
posted by homunculus at 12:08 PM on December 27, 2005


Zen is to Buddha as Crusader era Christianity is to Christ, perhaps?

I remember when Dogen's fanatical proto-samurai warriors made Deer Park's groves run red with the blood of the infidel. Good times.
posted by Drastic at 12:11 PM on December 27, 2005


The blogger noticed the Mefi coverage and posted an update...
posted by solipse at 12:18 PM on December 27, 2005


p.s. to the guy that said I will be him in 10 years…I doubt it…not unless you are really fukn cool.

Yeah, that about sums it up right there.
posted by prostyle at 12:31 PM on December 27, 2005


Drastic, you may know: the akuso in Japan (the "rowdy monks"), what sect were they? I'm pretty sure they were not Zen, but were they Jodo, or what?
posted by Bugbread at 12:35 PM on December 27, 2005


"I chant nam myoho renghe kyo to get what I want in the world be it world peace or a day surfing."

Oh, yeah, the nembutsu, one of the pillars of Zen...hey, wait a minute...

"If you would like to know more about the buddhist cult I belong to you can go to SGI but don’t make the mistake of thinking that I am defined by that."

Oh, hey, Soka Gakkai!! He's a Zen Buddhist who belongs to a pseudo-Nichiren Buddhist sect! One whose head (known by sect members as being the perfection of Buddha nature) is recorded as saying this lovely little comment, regarding the head of Nichiren Shoshu, who excommunicated Soka Gakkai from Nichiren Shoshu: "Hit them, especially Nikken ( shonin ). Tie him up with a wire, and beat his head with a hammer."

But it's good that he's not defined by that. I just wish he'd find a better, less culty sect to participate in. I mean, I'm no fan of Zen as Buddhism, but on its own, its fairly interesting. Soka Gakkai is just...spooky.
posted by Bugbread at 12:56 PM on December 27, 2005


Drastic, you may know: the akuso in Japan (the "rowdy monks"), what sect were they? I'm pretty sure they were not Zen, but were they Jodo, or what?
I dunno, weren't they just sort of, you know, assholes? Thought they were just miscellaneous temple Brute Squads, though I'm sure there's folks who like to believe there were romantic warrior-monks, all Kwai-Chang Kang practicing intense stillness and abusing rice paper to prepare for walking the Earth and inexplicably being called Chinaman.

Oddly enough, that's a derail that even rerails briefly--it's my impression that those folks primarily existed in a vacuum of actual government control. Certain temples of nominal-whatever got power, started projecting power via armed force--became, in effect, little fiefdoms. Later of course, more official government just started razing any temples who kept them and they quieted down some. Which points up part of the problem involved in anarchy in general--works great if it weren't for all the goddamned people.

I suspect that also may be part of the reason Zen was welcomed into Japan--when you've had problems with your country's temples keeping small private armies, importing ones who just wanted to spend a lot of time sitting quietly has got to have a mighty powerful appeal.
posted by Drastic at 12:58 PM on December 27, 2005


Drastic,

Thanks. I've been Googling around, trying to find out about them, but I can't find much. Your guess, that they were basically non-denominational, makes a lot of sense, and explains the lack of information.

And, yeah, Zen Buddhists would be a damn sight better to have around than a bunch of pillaging assholes. To be fair, Zen is my favorite of the Mahayana sects.
posted by Bugbread at 1:03 PM on December 27, 2005


Bugbread - your teacup is full.
posted by Sparx at 1:09 PM on December 27, 2005


MattD: For example, the correctness of the insight which its doubters call "trickle down" has been repeatedly demonstrated.

You could consider this to be the reason for falling unemployment in the second half of the Reagan administration, but economics has discovered at best an indirect relationship between political policies and unemployment rates.

It could also have been an improving economy due to the U.S. currency being untethered from gold by Nixon.

Policies that place emphasis on high-investment and not on social welfare may make economies look good on paper, but they exasperate the difference between the rich and the poor. What good is it to the people if they are working full time jobs but can't afford to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs?
posted by ScottMorris at 1:10 PM on December 27, 2005


Sparx : "Bugbread - your teacup is full."

3.1415 pounds of flax!
posted by Bugbread at 1:12 PM on December 27, 2005


I am a total advocate of a truly free market without government control,

Dude isn't an anarchist.... he's a LIBERTARIAN!
posted by Afroblanco at 2:25 PM on December 27, 2005


Good call, Afroblanco. Guess the discussion of Marxist critiques is moot - this guy's working on econ 101 after all.
posted by ScottMorris at 2:32 PM on December 27, 2005


A self proclaimed "Zen Anarchist" Nichiren Libertarian :)
posted by Bugbread at 2:47 PM on December 27, 2005


> such rare philosophical delicacies as Anarcho-Taoism, primitivism, syndicalism, and green anarchism...

You mean there's really such thing as anarcho-syndicalism? That made 2006 for me right there--and it's not even here yet!
posted by jfuller at 3:04 PM on December 27, 2005


jfuller, uh.. yeah, there's anarcho-syndicalism. It's only been around 150 years or so.
posted by ScottMorris at 3:13 PM on December 27, 2005


BTW, if anyone is actually interested in the history of anarchism as a political theory and not the ramblings of some over-read angsty kid, Infoshop and their Anarchist FAQ is a good start.
posted by ScottMorris at 3:22 PM on December 27, 2005


Everyone, shhhhhhhhhh! He's watching us!

(And cleardawn, you got his name wrong.)
posted by soiled cowboy at 3:47 PM on December 27, 2005


> yeah, there's anarcho-syndicalism. It's only been around 150 years or so.

Teach me to jump to conclusions. Here I thought "It's as ridiculous as the Easter Bunny, it must be as nonexistent as the Easter Bunny." Silly me.
posted by jfuller at 4:01 PM on December 27, 2005


Zenarchy.

So, how do people feel about Alan Watts?
posted by Drexen at 4:23 PM on December 27, 2005


Life in anarchy: the Palestinian territories.
posted by kablam at 7:30 PM on December 27, 2005


jfuller, basing the ridiculousness of a concept on a Monty Python routine is pretty sorry assumption. Why, I heard the Spanish Inquisition was downright comical.
posted by ScottMorris at 10:18 PM on December 27, 2005


Oops, I got the egotistical Buddhist's name wrong! Silly me.

And he calls himself an anarchist, but is actually a libertarian.

If you're wondering about the difference between the two, broadly: Libertarians are rightwing nutjobs who claim to believe they want all governments and laws to be scrapped, but billionnaires with private armies are a good thing, and should be allowed to rule the world.

Anarchist beliefs are more complex, varied, and interesting.

Libertarians tend to be people who are, or believe they will soon be, much richer than other people. Anarchists tend to be a little more down-to-earth in their self-assessment.

Still, some good, thought-provoking discussion here. I liked MattD's claim that I was wrong, because he had "evidence" that trickle-down economics really benefits the poor. Good to know.

Anybody remember this guy? The self-styled Lama Rama, aka "Dr" Frederick Lenz, fraud, cult leader, and suicide victim... Author of this piss-poor book on what he claimed to be Buddhism. The humility-free version, going straight to Hell.

Call a spade a shovel, I say.
posted by cleardawn at 6:55 AM on December 28, 2005


Any honest practitioner of Buddhism that is still a hair shy of achieving Buddhahood could be described as an "egotistical Buddhist." Seems like an honest person who doesn't take himself too seriously.

ScottMorris: ...look good on paper, but they exasperate the difference between the rich and the poor.

I'm sure the poor are pretty exasperated, but what ScottMorris means to say is that such policies exacerbate the difference between the "classes."
posted by cielrouge at 4:00 PM on December 28, 2005


Damn that Wikipedia entry on anarchism is good.
posted by ScottMorris at 1:27 AM on December 29, 2005


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