DECLARING A BUDDHIST SPRING: 2020
I am just utterly fed up with Buddhist authoritarianism, with narcissists disguised as gurus and ‘authoritative’ teachers, with hierarchies and one-ups-manship. I’m fed up with non-profit corporate boards that act as secret societies and gatekeepers, as ‘yes men’ that protect corrupt leaders. I’m fed up with the exploitation of sangha members for money, sex, power and adulation. I’m fed up with the total lack of ethical leadership on the part of ‘authorized’ teachers. And I’m fed up with the way hierarchy and authoritarianism create barriers to effective leadership by the whole sangha. And on the more positive side, I’m concerned with the possibility of exploring decentralized, distributed networks of sangha-relationship, internet Buddhism, sangha collectives, non-hierarchical, open-architecture organizations that trust people instead of mistreating them like idiots that have to be contained. Instead, Buddhist organizations should treat members like valued and knowledgeable practitioners that have much to offer everyone. I’m interested in the practice of sangha as encuentro in the horizontalist tradition. I’m interested in creating Buddhist organizations that are horizonalist, autonomist, communitarian, where every member is a trusted contributor and not a self-gratifying consumer. I’m interested in autonomous sanghas where every member is held responsible for the care of others and the vitality of the organization.
So let’s get this started: workshops could include anti-fascism, anti-racism, patriarchy and gender freedom, the psycho-social dynamics of Buddhist cults, the anarchist tradition in Buddhism, the politics of sangha, horizontalist organizations and autonomist practice, encuentro, communitarian anarchism and its links with democratic socialism, models of social enterprise, new model sanghas, Ambedkar Buddhism, Gandhian swaraj, links with movements for liberation and eco-justice, the governance of the Commons, and so on.
I’m also interested in heterodox approaches to Buddhist dharma, such as Non-Buddhism, Post-Modern Buddhism, Radical Dharma, Anarchist, Post-Capitalist and Acid Communist Dharma.
I realize that calling it Buddhist ‘anarchism’ is problematic for many people, but let me tell you something: I’m here to ‘problematize’ the current state of Buddhist sanghas. So if you think Buddhist ‘anarchism’ is a problem, GOOD. Come armed with a bunch of reasons for why you think it should be defined otherwise.
I’d like to hold the Buddhist Spring: First Conference on Buddhist Anarchism in Worcester, central Massachusetts. I’d like to see this up and running by next May 2020.
—and if it’s not the First, tell me why because I would like to know the history of this movement.