The blog has had its ebbs and flows, as has Buddhist blogging in general (and all blogging perhaps?). Perhaps it has been replaced by facebook groups? (such as our own, founded in 2015) Maybe it has been replaced by a few 'big name' thinkers?
In any case, what next? I imagine we all have requests and ideas, and I'd love to hear them - here in the comments section of the blog.
As for myself, an idea has been percolating for a while to clarify and develop the ideas of "Progressive Buddhism." The hope is to make Progressive Buddhism clearer both to us (this very loosely knit band of writers and readers) and to the greater world. Think of the development of Secular Buddhism in recent years, or if you're a historian you can think of the ways that Buddhism developed unique and new schools in places like Tibet, China, and Japan. Existing schools will remain, but in a new land, new needs and new contexts present new challenges, and we can respond creatively or ossify and either cut ourselves off, or as often happens, find that [our narrow version of] Buddhism doesn't work for us.
The idea would be to develop on the progressive side a "platform" of sorts: a set of ever-changing ideas and principles to adhere to, movements and developments we tend to support, prejudices and "regressive" tendencies we hope to move humanity away from, etc.
On the Buddhism side, a set of characteristics and practices we might affirm, not as a creed or dogma, but perhaps more in line with the Unitarian Universalist tradition, adopting general principles and sources.
Progressive - (dedicated to, in no particular order)
- Tackling climate change
- Fighting racism and structural racial injustice
- Reducing wealth and income inequality
- Increasing understanding, tolerance, and kinship among all peoples
- Ensuring access to healthcare, education, clean air and water and food and shelter for all
- Welcoming and affirming all Buddhisms
- Establishing a broad curriculum in Buddhist history, philosophy, and practice
- Supporting and engaging with practices that bring ancient tradition into the current world
UU Seven Principles(replacing congregations with either sanghas or communities)
And the six sources can likewise be borrowed, though with greater emphasis on Buddhist traditions as primary, but not exclusive, sources of the new tradition.
UU Six Sources, repurposed slightlyEstablishing this community of ideals, we might argue less about specifics of faith (a favorite pastime it seems of many convert Buddhists) and focus more on growth and development, both as individuals and as a community.
Given this, I must recognize that I'm mostly just an 'ideas person' - I'm not a natural organizer or leader or any number of key roles that will need to be filled for the launch of a New Progressive Buddhism. What would you like to see here? What role can you play?
Some guidelines:If you're not interested, that's fine. Perhaps some aspect of the Buddhist status quo is 100% just fine with you. Good. Join them, practice, learn, etc.
We're not interested just now in debate (there has been plenty of that). The affirmed aim of Progressive Buddhism is already to bring the tradition anew into contemporary life. This implicitly critiques existing traditions, but not wholesale and not lightly. In fact, we would argue that this critique (and change and growth) is part of living traditions already and is essential for their continued existence.