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.  They make many of the same points I plan to make here over the next few months, but in a less systematic fashion.

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 have put this aborted attempt into a PDF entitled “The Metaphysics of Dependent Origination” which can be found in the “Article Archives” page of this blog.

At this point, I plan to use this blog solely to post my thoughts as I work on a book project which has something to do with Buddhist philosophy, but much more to do with the theory of ideology.  I will occasionally post working drafts of chapters as well.  I welcome constructive criticism, if anyone happens to stumble across this blog and is interested.  However, I will moderate each comment individually, and will not “approve” personal attacks, or naive or irrelevant responses–including any response which asserts that there is a universal essential “self” or soul or God of any kind, or any response which asserts that capitalism is inevitable or ineluctable.  I will also ignore any comment that argues for any type of reductivism.  I just don’t have the time or energy to engage in these pointless debates any more.  I am interested in engaging only with those who have gotten beyond such naive notions.  It is, of course, necessary to try to disabuse people of such ideas, but I am not attempting to do that here.

I am 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 presently work as an adjunct professor at colleges in CT.  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.

Addendum: The book project is now done, and I have slowed down on posting on this blog. I have also mostly removed the “Buddhist” focus. For this reason, I have removed the “article archives” page. My essay on anatman was still being downloaded about a dozen times a week: should you be looking for that essay, it is still available in my ebook “The Faithful Buddhist” and, I believe, freely available at Glenn Wallis’s blog “Speculative Non-buddhism”.

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3 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

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