About This Blog

I started this blog in 2013, intending to post pieces on the related topics of anatman and dependent origination and how they can influence our experience of and action in today’s world.  After several months, I failed to attract any new contributors, although I did manage to attract a rather large and hostile audience.  I decided to shut down the blog, and pursue other approaches to advancing the understanding of these key Buddhist truths (on this point, see the page “A Blog for Buddhists Who Can Handle the Truth!”).

The original blog was influenced by discussions on Glenn Wallis’s Blog Speculative Non-buddhism.   My original writing on this blog engaged topics ranging from popular fiction such as The Hunger Games to Zen koans–anything that might serve as an opportunity to explore the useful application of the concepts of anatman and dependent arising.  These essays are still available in ebook format on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I next attempted to use this blog to develop my philosophical position in a systematic way.  I also hoped that I might get some useful criticism to help me clarify and strengthen my arguments.  I did not get much response beyond bizarre ad-hominem attacks and emailed threats of physical violence.  The few intelligent readers who did respond seemed to lose interest by about the third installment.  I decided to drop that attempt, and pursue other interests.

I then used the blog to work through the ideas presented in the book Indispensable Goods.  That book remains available on Amazon, although I may at some point remove it to do some minor revision.

At this point, I am planning to strip away all older posts, and begin using this blog to work through the ideas of a new project concerning the problem of the insufficiency of ideology.  I see this as a problem that is inherent in capitalism, ultimately arising from the fundamental contradictions of capitalism as a social formation.  I’m currently (that is, in early 2022) doing some intensive reading and thinking about how to address this question, and expect to start composing blog posts in the coming months.

I have changed the title of the blog to reflect my conviction that it is pointless to try to engage in meaningful conversation with anyone in America who considers themselves Buddhist.  Most of the important lessons of Buddhism can be learned, anyway, from the long history of Western thought. When working on my novel The Aristotle Book, I was calling the blog “The Faithful Aristotelian,” but as I begin work on my next project I have changed the title yet again.

I am still a practicing Buddhist, and consider myself a Shin Buddhist.  However, I have no official authorization from any school of Buddhism, and no interest in having any.  I have a PhD in English, and for a long time worked as an adjunct professor at colleges in CT, although I no longer work in any job related to academics.  I have no degrees in Buddhist studies, and I am not a Buddhologist.  My interest in Buddhism is purely as a practitioner.

I am also not a “professional philosopher,” and have no interest in being one.  I will make us of philosophical concepts recklessly and with complete disregard for the normal rules of conducting philosophical discourse.  Anyone unable to do this is probably better off not  reading these blog posts.

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5 Comments

  1. Danny

     /  January 1, 2019

    Hello Tom,
    I’m sure that I speak for many when I say it is very good to see The Faithful Buddhist site up and running again–that you will be using it to foster constructive criticism as you work on your new book project. I’m looking forward to see it develop here and will do all I can to help move it along. I wish you all the best in 2019.

  2. Joseph Wright

     /  September 1, 2021

    Dear Tom

    Wishing you well. So just to confirm, have the ideas contained in the ‘Article archives’ essays been included in Indispensable Goods? ‘Taking Anatman full strength’ was a stimulating read and I’d been hoping to read ‘The metaphysics of dependant origination’.

    Best wishes,

    Joe

  3. Hi Joe,

    The more “Buddhist” essays from the “archives” page are in the ebook “The Faithful Buddhist.” Some are also still available online at other blogs. The basic ideas I was after in the series of essays I called “metaphysics of dependent origination” are addressed, in a somewhat different idiom, in the book “Indispensable Goods.” That is, I avoid the Buddhist terminology (for the most part, but not completely) in that book, but am trying to make the same fundamental argument. Ultimately, from the response I got, I came to see that the “metaphysics of dependent origination” series just wasn’t working–it wasn’t clear to most readers, and I wasn’t getting to the point I really wanted to make.

    I’ve tried to stay clear of the American Buddhist community in recent years, because I find it painfully anti-intellectual, and ideologically troubling in a host of other ways. I’m glad you found the anatman essay interesting, but for the most part it isn’t worth the effort to discuss such ideas with most those who consider themselves Buddhists. I’ve tried to move on to other discourses in which similar ideas can be more productively engaged.

    namadabu,
    Tom

  4. geirsmith1

     /  October 2, 2022

    Hello Tom,

    I’m a scholar in Tibetan language and studied five years at Paris Dauphine University INALCO. Then I researched the Kalachakra for 45 years.

    I found Shambhala.

    I’d like to talk to you.

    བོད་པའི་མིང་འཇམ་དབྱངས་མཁས་གྲུབ།

    Kindly.

    Geir Smith.

  5. Geir: you can certainly post any questions you have here. I’m not very interested in Shambhala, though, so I don’t know that I’d be a very interesting interlocutor.

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