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celebratedrecluse wrote

Reply to comment by kore in by !deleted8217

As an egoist and a materialist, I don't know where to begin with attacking this artifice, so let's just start with the person you quoted.

An incident that became a cause célèbre among some poets and artists was the Halloween party at Snowmass Colorado Seminary in 1975, held during a 3-month period of intensive meditation and study of the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana vehicles of Tibetan Buddhism. The poet W. S. Merwin had arrived at the Naropa Institute that summer and been told by Allen Ginsberg that he ought to attend the seminary. Although he had not gone through the several years' worth of study and preparatory mind training required, Merwin insisted on attending and Trungpa eventually granted his request – along with Merwin's girlfriend. At seminary the couple kept to themselves. At the Halloween party, after many, including Trungpa himself, had taken off their clothes, Merwin was asked to join the event but refused. On Trungpa's orders, his Vajra Guard forced entry into the poet's locked and barricaded room; brought him and his girlfriend, Dana Naone, against their will, to the party; and eventually stripped them of all their clothes, with onlookers ignoring Naone's pleas for help and for someone to call the police.[86] The next day Trungpa asked Merwin and Naone to remain at the Seminary as either students or guests. They agreed to stay for several more weeks to hear the Vajrayana teachings, with Trungpa's promise that "there would be no more incidents" and Merwin's that there would be "no guarantees of obedience, trust, or personal devotion to him."[87] They left immediately after the last talk. In a 1977 letter to members of a Naropa class investigating the incident, Merwin concluded:

My feelings about Trungpa have been mixed from the start. Admiration, throughout, for his remarkable gifts; and reservations, which developed into profound misgivings, concerning some of his uses of them. I imagine, at least, that I've learned some things from him (though maybe not all of them were the things I was "supposed" to learn) and some through him, and I'm grateful to him for those. I wouldn't encourage anyone to become a student of his. I wish him well.[88]

The incident became known to a wider public when Tom Clark published "The Great Naropa Poetry Wars". The Naropa Institute later asked Ed Sanders and his class to conduct an internal investigation, resulting in a lengthy report.[89][90][91][92][93]

Eliot Weinberger commented on the incident in a critique aimed at Trungpa and Allen Ginsberg published in The Nation on April 19, 1980. He complained that the fascination of some of the best minds of his generation with Trungpa's presentation of Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan theocracy created a dangerous exclusivity and elitism.[94]

Author Jeffery Paine commented on this incident that "[s]eeing Merwin out of step with the rest, Trungpa could have asked him to leave, but decided it was kinder to shock him out of his aloofness."[95] Paine also noted the outrage felt in particular by poets such as Robert Bly and Kenneth Rexroth, who began calling Trungpa a fascist.[96]

Trungpa's choice of Westerner Ösel Tendzin as his dharma heir was controversial, as Tendzin was the first Western Tibetan Buddhist lineage holder and Vajra Regent. This was exacerbated by Tendzin's own behavior as lineage holder. While knowingly HIV-positive, Tendzin was sexually involved with students, one of whom became infected and died.[97]

The Steinbecks wrote The Other Side of Eden, a sharply critical memoir of their lives with Trungpa in which they claim that, in addition to alcohol, he spent $40,000 a year on cocaine, and used Seconal to come down from the cocaine. The Steinbecks said the cocaine use was kept secret from the wider Vajradhatu community.[83].

I don't know what to think, it's a wikipedia article, but what the fuck you know?


kore wrote

Damn, that sucks about Trungpa. Perhaps it was a bad idea to give a specific author, as that always makes it easy for ad hominem attacks to substitute for meaningful discussion about the ideas presented. I would encourage you not to develop an opinion of Buddhist philosophy based upon his character. The idea of no fixed self is one of the central ideas of Buddhist philosophy.

If you mean egoist after Stirner, I think that what Stirner called der Einzige, literally "the Unique", fatefully translated to English as "The Ego", is actually compatible with many Eastern philosophies.

Some buddhist who doesn't really understand Stirner at all and just hears about "egoism" would say that the idea of ego is the "spook of all spooks" and that the ego is just another construction and Stirner is an idiot for not seeing this, but based on my reading of Stirner's Critics this is not at all what Stirner meant by der Einzige and he actually was getting at something that I definitely agree with.

Take for example, the sentence

Stirner names the unique and says at the same time that “Names don’t name it.” He utters a name when he names the unique, and adds that the unique is only a name.

Compare with e.g. Daodejing verse 1

The Way as “way” bespeaks no common lasting Way, The name as “name” no common lasting name.

Also this quote from Stirner's Critics

The unique, however, has no content; it is indeterminacy in itself; only through you does it acquire content and determination. There is no conceptual development of the unique, one cannot build a philosophical system with it as a “principle,” the way one can with being, with thought, with the I. Rather it puts an end to all conceptual development.

I now take the liberty of replacing "The unique" with "The ego" in the first sentence and you are left with

The ego has no content

Which could have come straight from the mouth of Siddartha Gautama a.k.a. Buddha

The rest of that quote from Stirner, the idea of the unique only acquiring meaning "through you" i.e. through some form of mediation and the idea of putting an end to conceptual development is exactly what I brought up in my first comment, what does it mean to have an experience without mediation, and see things as they really are?

So it seems I may be somewhat of an egoist after all ;)


celebratedrecluse wrote

There's a lot to be gained from studying various philosophies and religions, but my point is not to dispute the usefulness of such a tradition to an individual, but rather to critique the power relationships created by spirituality as a set of actually existing social phenomena.