Glenn WallisSep 22, 2016
Glenn Wallis on the Immanence and Transcendence Divide in Buddhism
New Books Network 2016
In this episode, writer, critic, Buddhist scholar and Philadelphia punk legend punk Glen Wallis returns to the Imperfect Buddha podcast for the second part of our discussion on non-Buddhism and its consequences. We go deep into an issue at the heart of contemporary western Buddhism: the seemingly irresolvable division between immanence and transcendence, which in lay man's terms is the distinction between spirituality as escape or as embodiedness. You may not know how deep these two go down the rabbit hole of modern spirituality and how they sit right at the dysfunctional heart of Buddhism. Applying constructive critique, we look at how Buddhists and teachers avoid the consequences of thinking them through to the very end and how that lack of insight leads to all manner of escapism and confusion. This is an episode full of much of what Buddhists admire; compassion, wisdom, insight, perception, generosity. For those who don’t know Glenn, they will find the voice of a rare intelligence and generosity. We additionally explore death as cessation, peak states and problems surrounding the way we think about them, materialism V idealism, collective and personal freedom, and the social ramifications of it all. We also explore the construction of new ways of thinking about Buddhism’s greatest gifts of insight and potential methods for liberating Buddhism from itself and in so doing Buddhist practitioners that they may come to Buddhism with fresh eyes and greater imaginative capacity. I consider this the most valuable interview undertaken by the podcast so far and a must for advanced Buddhists, Buddhist teachers and those with a rich understanding of this religion, spiritual path and philosophy. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be a cynic, grab a stool and come on in. There has never before been a conversation quite like it in the history of western Buddhism. Episode music by Bristol (UK) based post-punk band Idles.
Matthew O'Connell is a life coach and the host of the The Imperfect Buddha podcast. You can find The Imperfect Buddha on Facebook and Twitter (@imperfectbuddha).