A few months ago in a NY Times op-ed, David Brooks laid out a theory. He summarized our current polarization as a battle between Mistake Theorists and Conflict Theorists. Mistake Theorists—a term coined by Slate Star Codex blogger Scott Alexander—believe that world’s complexities are a product of error and incompetence. Like the way comedians see […]
I thought of writing 49 Buddhas, my first Buddhist detective novel, after a session of Analytical Meditation. Analytical Meditation asks the meditator to focus on an object—a sound, a thing, or a mantra. Focus on something long enough, and eventually you experience its emptiness. A can of soda pop dissolves into an oddly shaped blur. Silence erupts into a cacophony of tiny sounds. The mantra we recite dissolves into wordless rhythm.
All things are empty of self. That sounds like a contradiction. A Buddhist detective novel, that sounds like a contradiction too. Yet Buddhists and detectives, and everyone really, struggles to experience the world as it exists. Outside the shadow of preconception. That is the contradiction I am exploring in the Lama Rinzen Mysteries. So I and my readers can better understand what it means to be simultaneously both existent and empty of self.
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