“The goal is not acceptance, retreat, and detachment, but engagement and judgment and change. We are not a “pure self” corrupted by social formations, but a self constructed as always-already corrupt and ignorant and suffering, and the only way to change that is to transform our social system.”http://speculativenonbuddhism.com/2013/ ... o-bhikkhu/
This seems to me to be an entirely spurious argument. Acceptance, retreat, and detachment seem an entirely valid way to transform one’s social system! Ajahn Geoff certainly transformed his by moving to a Thai monastery. Tom Pepper seems to be suggesting a highly engaged attempt to change the society we find ourselves in. But is it worth enduring a lot of suffering to seek a very uncertain social outcome, that might even result in far worse social conditions (Russian revolution... etc...)
Personally, I think minimal engagement is appropriate in Western democracies... vote every few years... but when the corrupt get in again, as they will, whatever you do, you haven’t wasted years continuously demonstrating, going to endless meetings, fighting coppers, and doings loads of things that disturb your sanity and tranquility.
“... our contemporary “spiritual but not religious” attitude... assumes that no matter what I do (lie, steal, cheat on my spouse, exploit the poor, support military oppression of third world people, etc.) I will go to heaven …”
This is just rhetorical rubbish, which “spiritual but not religious” people have this attitude? OK, maybe some, but not any I know, and certainly not “most”.