Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds /Milk Tea Alliance

New Models of Sangha


Buddhist Spring May 2020 calls creative writers, practitioners, teachers, poets, academics, para-academics, institutionally exiled nomads and pirates, thinkers and dreamers, and all other stakeholders in the World of Buddhism to submit original texts. Length, style, tone, and form can vary. Examples may include: scholarly article; essay; blog post; sociological fieldwork; interview; poetry; utopian fantasy; fiction; satire; screed; humor; ritual instructions; aphorisms; exercitia; catechism, litany; farce. Accepted texts will be published, as received, on the sponsor blogs Engage!and Speculative Non-Buddhism, and uploaded to the Action Networkand Keybasefile systems and other social media. These texts will form the cache of materials needed to feed and fuel the BS52020 movement. They will serve us in collectively imagining, conceiving, discussing, and creating a new future for Buddhist community in the West.

Befitting the purpose of BS52020, our focus is on the social organizationof Buddhism. And given our desire to instigate forms of community that are autonomous, horizontal (non-authoritarian and non-hierarchical), decentralized, and networked, we are most broadly interested inanarchistapproaches. Yet, at this stage, we invite you to explore a wide range of questions and themes, including but not limited to the following:

  • How might Buddhist concepts such as liberation, no-self, emptiness, dependent origination, compassion, etc., be placed in the service of a materialist social practice?
  • Are the classical texts necessary? Which ones, and to what end?
  • Might dialogue form the basis of communal practice?
  • Theories of dialogue (Habermas, Gadamer, Bakhtin, Bohm, Freire, etc.)
  • Is meditation necessary? What role would it serve?
  • Resources from ritual theory (Durkheim, Lévi-Strauss,Rappaport, Douglas, Grimes, etc.).
  • Historical examples of de-institutionalized communities.
  • New social models of non-hierarchical collectives (horizontalism and autonomism, the Zapatista movement, the Argentine Piquetero movement, the Commons as governance, libertarian socialism, the communal anarchism of Murray Bookchin, and Gandhi’s swaraj model of autonomous governance, etc.).
  • What are the explicit features of a de-neoliberalized community?
  • What resources does critical theory offer?
  • Is there a role for the teacher in a non-hierarchical structure? How is that role re-conceived?
  • Specific anarchist resources for new models of sangha.
  • Resources from the history of Buddhism (republican sangha, Ambedkar, dialogic teaching methods of the texts, bodhisattva figure, tantric inversions of value, etc.).

Please submit either a brief proposal or your finished piece at any time to engagedharma.net@gmail.com.


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I do Tai Chi with Paul Read, the Teapot Monk, @ 21st Century Tai Chi Academy https://www.21stcenturytaichi.com/academy/89szm

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