The very interesting critical blog about Buddhism, speculative non-buddhism, is going on hiatus. I first encountered it a few years ago when I was at the height of my Buddhist fervour and I credit it for getting me to think a lot more about some of the effects of Buddhism on a person’s mind. Arguably Buddhism is all about changing one’s perspective but the blog was interested in the less well publicised or even unknown consequences of Buddhist created minds. The blog’s language is in the most part resolutely inaccessible. The two or three primary authors wanted people to think and to read outside of the blog especially in certain parts of Western philosophy.
Over time, the blog’s key concepts gradually became clearer. In summary, its argument is that the consequences of Buddhist practice especially in the West is disengagement. Buddhist subjects become constrained in their intellectual / philosophical viewpoints, emotional expression and political engagement. The combination of Buddhist behavioural guidance in expression and action plus its mental disciplines used for calming cognitive dissonance and emotional distress creates the perfect contented citizen.
The blog also attempted to be more constructive but in my opinion, it was far more successful in its critical approaches even if the latter became a bit repetitive. So, as far as going on hiatus goes, I think it is the right time. It has said pretty much all that all has to be said and its collection of posts, comments, references and even a published academic book is a worthwhile and respectable legacy which I hope will inspire open-minded Buddhists of all types for years to come.
As for myself, would I still call myself a Buddhist? On the balance, yes. Some of the basic principles and practices are pretty much part of my fabric now: cultivating internal awareness, awakening compassion and alleviating the suffering of all sentient beings. Can’t go back from there.