Transcendent: Art and Dhama in a Time of Collapse by Curtis White
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- Melville House Publishing
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Acclaimed cultural critic Curtis White examines current fissures in Western Buddhism and argues against the growth of scientific and corporate dharma, particularly in Stephen Batchelor’s Secular Buddhist movement.
In Transcendent, celebrated cultural critic Curtis White, asks what Buddhism will look like in the future. Do we want a secular Buddhism that looks like corporations and neuroscience? Or do we want a Buddhism that still provides refuge from the debased world of money and things? Transcendence is not about magic realms where spirits fly about; the world is, as Shunryu Suzuki put it, its own magic. We only need to reclaim it and reclaim our humanity while we’re at it.
The problem White suggests is a culture that recognizes only “things,” capitalist things and science things, and aggressively denies the idea that the world of things has a beyond. We’re told by science ideologues like the New Atheists that we live in a secular age and that philosophy is dead, and art is only an amusement, and transcendence is not wanted because science can provide all the wonder and beauty we need.
Transcendent is a call for the re-enchantment not only of Buddhism but also of our Western art traditions. White recalls the risks and the raptures of the English Romantics, Beat poets, and the children of the counterculture, all in the name of a living world, and in defiance of our current world of climate catastrophe, contagious disease, and social collapse.