By Adrian Konik
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Additional resources for Buddhism and Transgression: The Appropriation of Buddhism in the Contemporary West
In short, although McMahan admits that contemporary Buddhism will, in all likelihood, soon be obliged to contend with the problem of what he terms global folk Buddhism—which involves a commodification of Buddhism that concomitantly rarefies its theories and practices in order to imbricate them with popular culture and the mass media—for the most part, he does not impute the ornamental features of global folk Buddhism to the rest of Buddhist modernism. Rather, for McMahan, global folk Buddhism, at least for the moment, remains a marginal, superficial and confused form of Buddhism characterized by pastiche and simulacra, to which Buddhist modernism will at some point have to respond, because of the imperialistic tendency on the part of global folk Buddhism to co-opt and reduce to a commodity everything that it touches.
As such, in the interest of facilitating an articulation of these different struggles, such resonance will be explored at this point. However, on the other hand, for a number of reasons, a partial dissonance also exists between the proposed four-fold strategy and certain aspects of other social strategies, such as those which derive from the anarcho-syndicalist tradition; in this regard, the work of the Buddhist scholar and social theorist David Loy constitutes a good example. As such, and because any articulation of struggles must necessarily avoid an unwitting reduction of one to the other, the chapter will close with a few remarks upon the differences between these strategies.
25 Yet, although this goes some 24 Anagarika Govinda, Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism (London: Century, 1987), 166. ’ The answer to this is obviously crucial because, in order for Buddhism to function as an effective antidote to such ‘decay,’ the nature of the ‘dis-ease’ that plagues Western man must necessarily be identified. Nevertheless, ironically, this vital question has, for the most part, either been glossed over or responded to glibly with an array of anti-Enlightenment, anti-scientific and/or anti-industrial platitudes.
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