Buddhism, Mindfulness, Pioneer Valley, Social Issues

Buddha, Commodified: A Critique of Modern Day Mindfulness

AKA Why Mindfulness Sucks by Derek Pyle

Those who promote mindfulness meditation as a mainstream cure all of life’s problems are doing us a disservice. The commodification of mindfulness, and the secularization of Buddhism, is actually just another form of socially colonizing and capitalizing on the exotic “East.” Contained within this trend appears a new age of spiritual charlatanism, perhaps akin to the Middle Ages corruption of the Church, when salvation was something you could buy, an accessory sold alongside yoga mats and tofu. But faced with critiquing an entire cultural movement in one short article, for now I focus my discussion on a recent talk that exemplifies some of the social issues inherent in the current obsession with mindfulness and meditation. I ask forgiveness for relying too heavily on generalities, because homogenized thinking is part of the problem, and yet an unavoidable fact of communication. Continue reading

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Bible, Pioneer Valley, Social Issues

Westborough Baptism Church protests Biblical filth

by Derek Pyle

This is a great day for everyone who has ever been disturbed by the graphic imagery contained in the Bible–which ranges from the ominous New Testament threat, “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” to the Old Testament time God flooded the whole earth, leaving only a single incestuous family to re-populate. Finally, the Westborough Baptism Church is working to rid the earth of this filth. Continue reading

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Kick Ass Classical, Music, Pioneer Valley

Smith’s “Requiem” conjures visions of sin and death

by Derek Pyle

I was in the 5th grade when “28 Days Later” premiered, a hot minute before zombie takeovers became just more hackneyed commercial cheese. Back then, when cinema could still capture this kind of apocalypse in serious form, one scene stuck in my eleven-year-old mind. The film’s protagonist awakens in a hospital bed to find London an abandoned city; he does not know what has happened, and the empty streets leave no indication. It is only when walking into a church that he discovers a lone human message, in black graffiti on the wall: “Repent; the end is extremely fucking nigh.” Continue reading

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