Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Here's an interesting site of Loy's that I just came across today:
A New Buddhist Story
Is a new Buddhist story beginning to develop out of the interaction between Buddhism and the modern world? Both need such a new story. It’s not only a matter of seeing the problems with modernity: we need to become aware of the difficulties with traditional Buddhist worldviews as well.
Anyone who is paying attention knows that we are living in a time of crisis – most obviously, severe ecological and economic challenges. They are interconnected: an economy based on consumerism and perpetual growth is incompatible with the well-being of our biosphere. What is less obvious is that there are also fundamental problems with the story that underlies these crises. By “story” I mean our basic way of understanding who we are, what the world is, and our role in it.
A devalued world
The modern world with its distinctive economic, social and scientific institutions emerged out of the fragmentation of Christianity. As a result of the Reformation, God disappeared up into the heavens and we ended up with a secular world—but a devalued one because God was our traditional source of goodness, value and meaning. The premodern dualism between God and his created world meant that when God faded away, we were left with a desacralized materialist understanding: a world without meaning. Much of our worldview today comes from science. Because of its concern to be objective and neutral, however, science is unable to provide the kinds of meaning and values that we need.
Yet our need for goodness, value and meaning is inescapable: we can’t live without them. If they are not provided by a transcendent God (or something else external to this created world) we must find them here, by figuring it out for ourselves. What then fills the vacuum? Since the late nineteenth century, Darwin’s findings about the biology of the evolutionary process have been misappropriated to define the new industrial society. It was the Victorian Social Darwinist Herbert Spencer who coined the term “survival of the fittest.” Human society came to be seen as another jungle environment where you must crawl over the next guy on your way to the top, because if you don’t he will crawl over you. The value and meaning of life was reduced to survival and success. And that’s what we’ve seen over the last century and a half: successive robber barons and capitalist magnates like Rockefeller and JP Morgan, both of whom embraced Spencer’s worldview.
I've been trying to recontextualize Buddhism, or at least a particular brand of Madhyamaka, into my postmeta spiritual meanderings since forever. The Batchelor thread is a good place to start. And there are plenty of references to the rangtong/shentong debate in the OOO thread, and how I've translated that into my pOOOntong position.