Workshop on Non-Buddhist Redescription

Workshop: Non-Buddhist Redescription

Glenn Wallis

tools.jpgThis session is a hands-on workshop in which we craft potential new applications for age-old Buddhist concepts and practices.

Several interrelated premises are in play here.

1. The variegated discourse subsumed under the name “Buddhism” has produced valuable material for thought and action in relation to our current social reality.

2. In their desire to arrange this discourse into a unitary system, Buddhists devitalize its elements and disable autonomous thought.

3. By performing certain operations on “Buddhism”—operations captured by the prefix “non”— we can “democratize” (deflate, level) its concepts and practices, thereby restoring them to the domain of the generic human.

Examples of the conceptual material we will work with include central Buddhist ideas, such as (translations preliminary!): radical material contingency (pratityasamutpada), extended dissolution (anitya), void (shunyata), termination (nirvana), social-symbolic selfhood (anatman), transitivity-intransitivity (“two-truths doctrine”),  acute awareness (prajna), and “rigorous and luminous attention” (karuna). The primary western Buddhist example of practice that we will consider is the organon, or instrument of thought and knowledge, commonly known as “meditation.” Participants are encouraged to come with whatever Buddhist ideas and practices that they would like us to collectively engage in.

Facilitator: Glenn Wallis holds a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University. He is the author of six books including Cruel Theory/Sublime Practice and Basic Teachings of the Buddha as well as numerous articles, chapters, and essays on various aspects of Buddhism per se and Western Buddhism in contemporary society. His most recent work, A Critique of Western Buddhism: Ruins of the Buddhist Real, employs the “non-philosophical” methods of French thinker François Laruelle. Wallis has taught at Brown University, Bowdoin College, and the University of Georgia. He is the founder of the blog Speculative Non-Buddhism.

Reading: forthcoming 
Date: Saturday, January 18, 10am-2pm
Cost: $90.
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Workshop: Non-Buddhist Redescription

Glenn Wallis







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