Change. Sometimes we choose it; sometimes it’s thrust upon us.
Caroline and I have just gone through a series of changes—chaotic and nerve-wracking, but on the whole, good. The result is that we’re in a new house, and I have a new office. In the midst of a world gone mad, all is calm here.
During that upheaval my work also moved to a new footing. Schettini.com has become a portal for daily meditation and a pragmatic online presence. I’ll be offering videos, streaming audio, webinars and online courses. Yes, mindfulness for the masses, I’m on the bandwagon now, but it’s more a widening of scope than a change of direction. It’s about getting to work.
The Naked Monk has continued to attract visitors in my absence, whom I welcome. My newsletter subscribers have for the most part remained. Hi there. It’s good to be back.
This website is more specifically about Buddhism: the theory, the politics, the scholasticism and the happenings. I’ll maintain my stance as a critic from a short distance. Every religion has its cast of players: conservatives like the Dalai Lama, critics from within like Stephen Batchelor and critics from the outside like The Naked Monk. I’m not any old outsider though. I’m an apostate. For eight years I strove to conform, rise through the ranks and become enlightened. You can question my motives, my approach and my goals, but I was just trying to do what everyone else seemed to be doing.
What counts is not what you believe but what you experience
Over time that didn’t sit well with me. I figured the Buddha would have done things differently, so one day I decided the best way for me to figure that out was on my own, away from the believers and the followers. By stepping away I honored the instinct that brought me to Buddhism in the first place: that what counts is not what you believe but what you experience—and how you respond.
The Naked Monk simply attempts to place Buddhism within the frame of the Buddha’s teachings. It’s a great exercise, for it makes you constantly wonder what the Buddha had in mind; you don’t get bogged down in one interpretation or another. Each Buddhist establishment has its own spin, which is fair enough, but the main job of every establishment is to defend its ground, and that’s not practice; it’s politics. Only those with no particular Buddhism to call home are really free to question.
That said, it’s scary to stand on shifting ground and good to know there are others of like mind. This blog has attracted such people, and for all of you I’m grateful. Please write and let me know your thoughts, your questions and especially your concerns. Let’s explore them together.