Author Archives: David Chapman

About David Chapman

Author of a Wordpress blog, Meaningness, Buddhism for Vampires, and Approaching Aro.

Two new podcasts: tantra and ritual creation

Vincent Horn interviewed me recently for the Buddhist Geeks Community. An edited version is now available as a pair of podcasts: Reinventing Buddhist Tantra Creating Living Ritual I enjoyed the interview considerably. Vince asked some questions I wasn’t particularly expecting, … Continue reading

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What ritual feels like when it works

Vince Horn interviewed me today for the Buddhist Geeks Community. One of the questions he asked was about ritual. My outline has several posts on that topic—but they may be months in the future. So these are some quick thoughts … Continue reading

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A killer app for modern Vajrayana?

In the tech world, a “killer app” is a single program so compelling that people will buy a whole system just to run it. For example, many people bought the Xbox to play the game Halo. Some bought early smartphones … Continue reading

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Buddhist tantra for non-Buddhists?

A surprising and wonderful thing! My Buddhist sites are increasingly read and appreciated by non-Buddhists. Particularly, they attract smart, science-y, tech-y, creative, competent readers. Some come from the LessWrong rationalist community, for instance—which I have written about and for. Especially … Continue reading

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Why did magic matter in Buddhist tantra?

If we want a non-supernatural version of Buddhist tantra, it will help to look at why magic was traditionally an important part of it.

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Four strategies for naturalizing religion

I’ve noticed four strategies for “naturalizing” a religion—for making it compatible with the scientific worldview. Two strategies get rid of supernatural aspects: ignoring and denying. Two other strategies reinterpret supernatural aspects in natural terms: psychologizing and mythologizing. My aim is … Continue reading

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Degrees of naturalization

A naturalized Buddhist tantra would, by definition, have nothing supernatural about it. That seems straightforward; but actually there are degrees of naturalization. Dropping claims of supernatural powers and beings and realms is just the start. For example, many “alternative healing” … Continue reading

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Naturalizing Buddhist tantra

There’s a common idea that Vajrayana (tantric Buddhism) is the crude, superstitious version. Real Buddhism is rational and empirical; it’s about meditating and being a good person. Vajrayana is all about magic, gods, and demons—which are primitive make-believe. If this … Continue reading

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Shambhala Training was secular Vajrayana

From the 1970s to 1990s, Shambhala Training explained itself as “a secular path of meditation.” It was: explicitly non-Buddhist not a religion; without dogmatic beliefs; compatible with atheism and secular humanism compatible with any religion, including Christianity Secular mindfulness meditation … Continue reading

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What would “modern Buddhist tantra” even mean?

“Modern Buddhist tantra” unites the two threads of this blog: modern Buddhism, and Buddhist tantra. But what would that even mean? And is it even possible? “Modern Buddhism” may be: Science-compatible: atheist, rational, empirical, free of spooks and supernatural superstitions … Continue reading

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