Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
Can we imagine a space of really radical freedom?
Buddhism as Ideology:
Ken Jones identifies five characteristics of ideology:
(Ken Jones, 2003, pp. 59-60
To describe Buddhism as an ideology, Jones quotes the Vimilakirti Sutra:
He who is attached to anything, even to liberation, is not interested in the dharma but is interested in the taint of desire. . . . The dharma is not a secure refuge. He who enjoys a secure refuge is not interested in the dharma but is interested in a secure refuge. . . . The dharma is not a society. He who seeks to associate through the dharma is not interested in the dharma but is interested in association. (Ken Jones, 2003, p. 62)
‘Emancipatory politics involves two main elements: the effort to shed shackles of the past . . . the dogmatic imperatives of tradition and religion. . . ” Anthony Giddens Modernity and Self Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age in The New Social Face of Buddhism by Ken Jones. p. 70
There is thus an inherent tension within Buddhism, between Buddhism as a theory, a method, that can lead to the dissolution of self-identification with Buddhism and anything else, and Buddhism as an ideology, a metaphysic, an identification of self with Buddhism. Instead of our sense of lack being seen as simply illusory, lack is filled by Buddhism. (Ken Jones, 2003, p. 62)
Dzongzar Khyentse said something interesting at the end of his talk in Vancouver. He said (paraphrasing) “You’re all obsessed with enlightenment. And that’s not enlightenment. That’s obsession, which is a form of ignorance. For now, you need that. But you have to understand that eventually you have to give up the quest for enlightenment too.” Insert “Buddhism” for enlightenment—same thing. Those people—myself included—who are still passionately pursuing Buddhism, or enlightenment—we must let go of it.