We are witnessing the the demise of institutional Buddhism in North America. Not the end of Buddhist dharma per se, but the end of formal, institutional Buddhism that offers any one of a number of traditions and lineages, or combinations thereof.
When the dharma is cut loose completely from its traditional and institutional roots, it becomes viral. It wanders aimlessly in the cultural landscape and starts attaching itself to all manner of non-canonical objects and becomes acid dharma.
Now I’m not talking about ‘dropping acid and doing meditation,’ which is what Buddhist Geeks is offering these days. Ok if you want to do that, go ahead, what do I care? But what I find irksome about the acid geeks is that they just end up spewing the same Buddhemes that every traditional or modernist apologist of Buddhism has already said for a thousand years. Only now, ‘we can prove there is no self because we dropped acid and experienced non-self.’
Let me just say this once and for all: if you have to drop acid in order to experience something ‘new and different’ in meditation, you are totally lame.
Acid dharma doesn’t require drugs; it requires completely jettisoning anything that smacks of tradition, lineage, scripture, doctrine, ‘truth’ or practice, as well as form, structure or logic. THAT’s acid dharma.
Acid dharma is not just deconstruction, it is liquefaction. It is the liquidation of dharma back into its oceanic form, observing whatever strange aquatic creatures and debris get washed up on the shore, turning them into sand castles, knowing they will be washed away with the incoming tide.
Engage! is premiering acid dharma. You’re in for a wild ride.
If you want to know what acid dharma is, start by listening to what it sounds like; listen to this band, Monokultur:
Is this post-post-punk? Does it even matter? Monokultur are Elin and Julius from Gothenburg. At times they are half of Punk four piece Skiftande Enheter. As Monokultur, the focus is on post-punk and out-there dubby experimentation. Their self-titled debut EP on I Dischi Del Barone was one of the weirdest and best records I heard in 2018. Thankfully, this LP continues from where that EP left off… Musically, this is an album of weird DIY goodness from start to finish. There’s a tonne of influences for those that like to pick out that sort of thing. Muddied dueting and solo vocals navigate a post-punky landscape full of sprawling dubby type influences and effects. Strangled guitars, lost keys and queasy sounds all get mangled in the best possible way. At times, there are feeling of claustrophobia. Instruments are played close and there is little room to breathe, but just when it starts to get a little stifling, there are expansive melodic moments… Monokultur’s debut LP is a fine album from Gothenburg’s small but vibrant underbelly.