Western Buddhism is evolving into a Network form. I predict the Network will become the dominant form of Buddhism in the West. There will still be shrines and meditation halls and retreat centers, but their membership will be small compared to the ever-growing swarm of the Network. The Network will be, structurally and by necessity, an anarchist form. As with other Networks, the power is the Platform. But the work and cost of running a platform is nothing compared with running a meditation centre. Control the platform, and you control the Network.
Also please join a growing coalition of “Anarcho-Buddhists” at Trash Community, hosted by Glenn Wallis and Failed Buddhist and others from the Speculative Non-Buddhist crew, along with other marginal figures thriving outside the walls of Buddhist institutions. (I’m using “air quotes” because not everyone identifies as ‘anarchist’ or even ‘buddhist’; we’re a pretty eclectic bunch.)
The future is—
Decentralized and Distributed—Dharma folks are active and organizing everywhere, we just have to find and connect with each other. Instead of starting yet another Buddhist Activist organization, we start an Engaged Dharma Network (EDN). But this is not just a ‘join the club, here’s your virtual membership card’ kind of network. It’s an active activist network connecting people who are already doing the work, locating them and connecting them with each other. Activists find each other where we live locally, and we find allies within networks who share our concerns. We support each other, share best practices, grow affinity groups and build powerful coalitions together.
Democratic—Trust is the foundation of democracy. We trust people to be honest, to show up and do their best, to take a break when we need to, and learn from each other. We can organize ourselves within our localities and across our networks. We don’t need teachers, gurus, hierarchies, boards of directors, institutions or foundations. We’re really smart people. We can do this ourselves, wherever we are—because that’s how we’re doing this right now.
Networked and Connected—You’re going to see these two words a lot in the EDN. Dharma activists are widely scattered around the world, but few in number. We can connect and SCALE UP globally through networks, yet at the same time SCALE DOWN within localities and affinity groups. We are few but we are ubiquitous. The key is CONNECTION. As dharma activists, we know that everything is connected and interdependent. We can only do the work effectively when we are connected to the greater web of activist energy and wisdom, strengthened and supported by our close friends and allies.
Regenerative—Join the Inner Revolution. We care for the world by first caring for ourselves and each other in ever widening circles. Regenerative Cultures are essential to cultivate Human Beings whose lives are an integral part of an ecologically balanced and regenerative planet.
Whatever you do in life will be insignificant. but it is very important that you do it—Mahatma Ghandi
Valorized—Whatever you do to make the world a better place, no matter how small the act, is a valuable contribution to us all. Your life matters—no matter who you are—and your actions to benefit others should be recognized as valuable. If you assist an elderly person, advocate for the disabled, volunteer for a community garden, organize a theater group for kids, or protest in the streets for climate justice, immigrant safety, Black lives or trans human rights, your actions deserve to be recognized and validated. Individually, each act is seemingly insignificant, but collectively, all our actions together have an impact that is exponential.