Necessary to a good makeover is first knowing the latest trends then reinventing yourself to conform with the latest trends, and repeat! Just as this works for those who wish to look fashionable, it can work for Buddhism, too.
Constantly Buddhists need to reinvent Buddhism because everything is in flux as Mr. Buddha says. This means it is time for Buddhism to have a makeover which includes getting rid of the old hard-to-read stuff that tends to give the average modern Buddhist a migraine headache. I mean who the heck needs a headache? Buddhism is supposed to be about compassion, right?
I guess what I am trying to say is Buddhism is getting old, wrinkly, and boring! If it wants to attract more followers it needs to change its outward appearance. In order to do this it needs to be more trendy and fun while still being Buddhism.
Now, I don’t want to give the reader the impression that we need to fundamentally change Buddhism’s core teaching. This is not my purpose. I think Buddhism’s philosophy is really cool whatever it is.
However, with a good makeover Buddhism will attract a younger, better clientele which means Buddhism will become more popular. So, are there any examples of successful makeovers in Buddhism? In my opinion, two of the most successful makeover jobs in the circle of Zen Buddhism have been accomplished by Roshis Brad Warner and Genpo Merzel.
Brad’s makeover makes Zen into “Hardcore Zen.” In other words, there is nothing wimpy about this dude or his Zen. It is kickass. It is still Zen master Dogen’s shikantaza, i.e., just sit and instantly become a Buddha, but without all the Kabuki-like ritual bull crap that is attached to Zen in Japan.
Genpo Merzel’s makeover is equally cool and trendy. He has created an awesome path to nirvana with his Big Mind innovation. It’s all about letting the higher person (the Buddha?) naturally come forth in the Zennist which Genpo also calls the “Non-Seeking Mind.” (I am not sure if I am getting this right but I think Big Mind is about having two voices in your head instead of just one that always wants to party and do crazy, kinky things. This other voice, when it pops up, lays out the way things really are to the voice gone wild.)
Well, there you have it. Two examples of successful makeovers. So let’s makeover Buddhism. We can even rebrand it! And if you think that today’s blog is a satire or a lampoon, well, you could be right.