I'm reading Jay Michaelson's Evolving Dharma right now.  The language is casual, playfully irreverent, and engaging, and he touches on a number of the topics we have explored here over the years -- such as emergent P2P and open source culture (and its impact on traditional spiritual cultures and modes of instruction), secular Buddhism and Stephen Batchelor's work, Wallis' speculative non-Buddhism, the Buddhist Geeks, the intersection of Buddhism with science and psychotherapy, David Loy's engaged Buddhism, Hokai Sobol's integral Buddhism (remember Hokai from Zaadz?), etc.

Here's an article by Michaelson, adapted from the book:

You Must Change Your Life: Capitalism and the Evolving Dharma

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In referencing so-called greenies: "I just don't get how 'evolved' they are."

That is richly comic indeed, given the astounding hubris of the so-called evolutionary integralists. There are countless examples, this as just one recent sample.

That would of been good if he mentioned that Bruce. May have even took the time to give him some feedback....you know, I will send him an email...thanks.


HH, what viable alternative to capitalism en masse does the world have right here right now? A friend in Mexico wrote me an email recently about McDonalds taking advantage of the young by paying them minimum wage there. I asked, is anyone else there willing to employ them for more or would they be completely jobless and more broke without that job? He never replied. I have always said, capitalism sucks but lack of capitalism sucks more... just go to a 3rd world country or destitute neighborhood in your own world. But you know it's not just capitalism that is destroying the environment. Seems there is a critical mass where the amount of humans outstrips the lands ability to provide. It's thought the Egyptians and Mayans used up all their natural resources building their pyramids. And there are lands in Greece where the ancients deforested and the forests never recovered. It's clear to me we cannot go backwards. I just bought a bunch of LED light bulbs.


Yeah Edward, I am not a spokesperson for any integral organization, movement, person, community, etc.. All views expressed are my own. I reference SD colors because everyone here and on the old Gaia forums were familiar with them. Outside of here, I hardly ever have a chance to use them. I use "granola" or "post-modern or "pluralistic" instead.

As you read more of the book Balder let me know if he addresses the following issue. It seems that the Buddhist notion of not 'reacting,' of observing initial emotional responses like anger or fear or hate is to let the charge pass so that one can response with equanimity and 'skillful means.' But this has been rationalized into accepting a host of degenerate and unjust behavior, thereby not doing anything constructive about it. Yes, traditionally Buddhism has compassion for those who have been treated unjustly, but also those who have committed unjust actions. For that latter the calming of the so-called negative emotions to elicit love and compassion seems to have led to not taking appropriate actions with criminal perpetrators. It's almost a New Age sort of belief that if we treat such criminals with love and compassion this will transform them.

Hence the lack of Buddhist political or government or police involvement, involvement that might use righteous indignation to motivate actions toward justice on a broader scale, including punishment of perpetrators up to an including death. I think this might be why the engaged Buddhism movement even began. And a part of the evolving dharma? And perhaps that anger and even hate are not necessarily wrong reactions but can be also channeled into skillful means? Does Michaelson address this?

Sure.  He hasn't discussed it yet but I will let you know whether he does in the social justice section of the book.  Tibetan tradition seems to be a good resource there (latent, if not yet well-tapped in the Western Buddhist context), with its notions of wrath as an expression of compassionate wisdom and its methods for working with the energy of anger.

I'm also reminded of our previous thread on "atman, aporia and atomism" where Pepper observed: "The social and political implications of this version of Buddhism are horrendously elitist and oppressive."

It's a mixed bag, for sure -- which doesn't mean it doesn't have elements that are still useful or relevant, though. 

e said, "what viable alternative to capitalism en masse does the world have right here right now?  is anyone else... willing to employ [workers] for more or would they be completely jobless and more broke without that job?"

if it doesnt exist already then we're stuck with what we have, right, e?

the point is to create those alternatives by redirecting massive organizational resources, both state and private, that otherwise now go into private profit making for the few.  transitional alternatives could work within the existing organizational framework of capitalism, with things like profit sharing and democratic workplace conditions for workers to create the initial conditions of cooperative self-sufficiency toward the long term institutional reorganization that needs to take place.

David Loy on the Three Nuclear Poisons.

See this post on Faber's in/difference, which relates to my post above about how sometimes it seems Buddhist equanimity and nonattachment translates as indifference. In Faber though the slash indicates the distinction from apathy and indicates how difference itself is divine. This essential relationality of difference could correlate with Buddhist dependent origination and thus form a bridge with Buddhist compassion, which seems to arise due to this same difference in each of us. Except that it seems in Buddhism this difference is interpreted as suffering due to a separate self-sense, whereas with Faber et al. it is cause for rejoicing in divinity? Anything like this is Michealson?

Neelesh brought to my attention the following podcast in Terry Patten's Beyond Awakening series:

Evolving Dharma - A Universal Non-Rigid Non-Exclusive Spirituality (Patten and Michaelson in conversation)

The link is to Patten's blog post about their conversation, but I didn't see a link or video of their actual conversation?

According to Patten, Michaelson's subtractive path is one of "bare experience, free of interpretations." I get that one can dis-identify with or unattach from any interpretation through experienced meditation, but bare experience free of interpretation? I'm more akin to Torbert's claim that through focused attention one can engage with any interpretation to fit the particular context without attaching to or identifying with it.

I'm also suspicious of the claim to bare, interpretation-free experience (a topic we've discussed at length on an older version of this forum).  I would describe it more like an ongoing practice of noting and surrendering interpretations, to the degree one is able, as one becomes aware of forming them.

Here's a link to the podcast recording.  (You'll see a link there also to a recording of Patten's conversation with Kenneth Folk, a modern dharma teacher that Michaelson references a lot in his book).

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

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