Buddhism and Transgression: The Appropriation of Buddhism in by Adrian Konik

By Adrian Konik

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Extra info for Buddhism and Transgression: The Appropriation of Buddhism in the Contemporary West

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However, a more circumspect approach reveals this to be only one side of the coin. This is because, as will be discussed in what follows, on the one hand, disciplinary technologies along with certain bio-power technologies, are orientated around the concept of the individual as a rational and autonomous being, who is obliged to exercise more rational autonomy than ever before in relation to the industrial, social and administrative developments of the eighteenth century. However, on the other hand, other bio-power technologies, since the eighteenth century, have increasingly advanced the notion that the individual is incapable of exercising rational autonomy in perpetuity.

Nevertheless, there is significant evidence to suggest that Buddhism constitutes one of the fastest growing religions in the West, which begs the question as to the nature of the benefit that Westerners believe they will obtain from their practice of Buddhist meditation. ’25 Yet, although this goes some 24 Anagarika Govinda, Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism (London: Century, 1987), 166. ’ The answer to this is obviously crucial because, in order for Buddhism to function as an effective antidote to such ‘decay,’ the nature of the ‘dis-ease’ that plagues Western man must necessarily be identified.

Moreover, arguably, through doing so, they have also inadvertently contributed to the ornamentalization of Buddhism, because wherever the idea of śūnyatā becomes underpinned by such implicit substantialism, the ultimate deference to the authority of the latter renders Buddhist practice ornamental. 21 This is because the specter of ornamentalism that has always haunted the former, on account of the primary constitution of Western subjectivity around the respective transcendent orientated implicit founding assumptions of the different disciplinary/ bio-power technologies, now torments the latter to more or less the same degree.

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