Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
What does it mean to be ‘unbound?’ Buddhist scripture speaks of liberation as the unbinding of the mind from greed, hatred and delusion, from craving and becoming.
But what if we could unbind our bodies? Free your ass and your mind will follow…
What if we lived in boundlessness, unshackled by the conventions of any religion, including Buddhism?
What if we were unbound from capitalist expectations of success, fame, money and achievement?
What if we lived in a boundless social world of acceptance and freedom? A world without prisons, borders and walls? A world without gates and surveillance?
Why should our dharma practice be so bound by tradition?
What if we unbound our dharma gatherings? What would we ‘practice’ together?
Listen to the original Funkadelic album with George Clinton’s psychedelic masterpiece, “Free your mind…and your ass will follow”. Guitarist Eddy Hazel delivers a blistering psychedelic rock guitar that’s as good as anything produced by Jimmy Hendrix.
George Clinton’s Free Your Mind album is a masterpiece of playful interpretation. Clinton takes several themes from Christianity—e.g. ‘the kingdom of heaven is within’, the ‘Our Father’—and inverts them, riffs off them, and thus suffuses them with new interpretations and meanings that truly liberate the mind. We could do the same with Buddhist themes. This is a way to use Buddhist words and concepts in way that breaks out of rigid doctrines and tropes, what Glenn Wallis calls “buddhemes”.
This meme is a free association of the Buddhist term ‘unbinding.’ The interpretation is metaphorical, not metaphysical. It’s not trying to nail down some ultimate metaphysical “truth”, but becomes a poetic jumping off point that links to many possible meanings and applications, even heterodox interpretations. It links to music, art, society and culture. It is in turn both critical and playful. What’s often missing from Buddhist interpretations is play. If we could loosen up a bit and play with Buddhist terminology, we might produce some pretty creative and fantastic stuff. Play is another kind of ‘unbinding.’