Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
David Loy's work has featured in a number of our discussions, both back on the old Gaia version of the forum and here as well, so I think it's about time that he gets his own thread. His erudite exposition of cross-cultural variants of non-duality, his critical engagement with postmodern thought (via Derrida, Caputo, and others) in his discussions of post-metaphysical spirituality (usually Buddhism), and his involvement in progressive political and ecological advocacy and activism, certainly qualifies him for inclusion among the "postmetaphysical visionaries" we've highlighted here.
Information on his background, his publications, and his current work can be found here (Wiki article) and here (personal website).
In the past, we have discussed several of the essays in which he compares the deconstructive approaches of Nagarjuna and Derrida, such as The Cloture of Metaphysics. (I will look later for links to past discussions in my Google IPS archives.) More recently, I posted a thread on his new book, The World is Made of Stories; Ed has discussed some of his political views on the Religion and Politics thread; and Dial has introduced his essay, Dead Words, Living Words, and Healing Words. I quote from Dial's post below:
"Which brings me to the marvelous David Loy, and his paper Dead Words, Living Words, and (in particular) Healing Words. In this paper Loy discusses Derrida, Eckhart, Hui-Neng, and Dogen, with some reference, along the way, to Nagarjuna and Caputo.Loy is with Derrida and Caputo in discerning ‘dead words’ from ‘living words’. The former mired in mistaken notions of self-presence/identity, the latter understood as able to move and play in accord with their true nature as disseminated traces. What Loy goes on to argue for and affirm are a third type of words - ‘healing words’ . These are the words used by Hui-neng, Dogen, and Eckhart that truly integrate reality by deconstructing the self/world boundary . These three – I’m sure you’ll agree it’s fair to call them, great masters - go beyond language as a means to deconstruct or even point to a true nature, and instead use language to actively realize true nature itself. Loy quotes Hee-jin Kim: “Metaphor in Dogen’s sense is not that which points to something other than itself, but that, in which something realizes itself.” (Which, as an aside, is exactly as Joshua Landy argues in regard to Proust). Kim again: “in spite of inherent frailties in their make-up, words are the bearer of ultimate truth. In this respect words are not different from things, events, or beings – all ‘alive’ in Dogen’s thought.” Sounds remarkably like OOO to me. Only, as Loy finishes saying: Dogen’s Buddhism and Eckhart’s Christianity are religious because they offer much broader critiques of attachment intended to inform and alter the ways we live in the world…… part of of a larger, indeed holistic practice – including moral precepts, ritual, meditation exercises etc. – that develops non-attachment in all our activities and is therefore able to discover and liberate the ippo-gujin (realization of buddha-nature) in all of them.
You’ll note that Loy’s sense of ‘religious’ differs from Bryant’s ‘religion’ in that it includes actual practices to transform being in the world. Bryant figures religion as an inevitable pair to philosophy’s constitutive inability to speak existence. Loy, and with him, I imagine, Dogen, Hui-neng, and Eckhart, figure the ‘religious’ as a means to heal the constitutive lack of the separate- self delusion. Bryant believes the answer will be found in philosophy. Well, if so, it will be a philosophy that includes actual practices of the body and mind that transform being in the world. I believe, with others here, obviously, that OOO has a lot to offer an IPM. What I believe an IPM has to offer OOO is a thought that includes the body of practice. Only right now that IPM contains little of this or the other bodies I speak of."
And several additional links of interest:
A review of Loy's Healing Deconstruction, and three texts on social activism: The Great Awakening, Money, Sex, War, Karma, and Awareness Bound and Unbound.
I'll add more links (to past discussions or other resources) as I find them. If others have links or resources to share, please do (we like to create a kind of "archive" here for postmetaphysical thinkers), but feel free also just to use this thread to discuss Loy's work in general.
I haven't seen this yet, but it sounds interesting..
A new article by Loy: Towards 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."
This coming Sunday, David Loy will join Terry Patten in conversation on The Politics of Buddhism (Awakening from Institutionalized Greed, I...
I did not have time Sunday to attend the live discussion. One can listen to it here at their leisure.