Most of the participants listed themselves as ‘Hybrid’ or had no designation (like me). Only some identified themselves as ‘Buddhist.’ All the several dozen participants I met and all the presenters were clearly active meditators and all could be described as, at minimum, ‘Buddhist Friendlies’ (my terminology).
Steven Batchelor, one of the key presenters, described ‘Do It Yourself Buddhism.’ In the well known metaphor, the dharma is the boat that helps a practitioner get over the river to reach enlightenment. Batchelor advocated using whatever is available to construct your own raft. He also advocated training in a specific tradition first, which I have not done and am not likely to do at this point. Nonetheless, I resonated with his description of the DIY process, and realized that this blog and its trail of ideas, techniques, and values represents my still evolving ‘Do It Yourself’ meditation practice.
I also realized from talking to several participants who have changed traditions that even a hard core traditional path follower is still a ‘DIY’ practitioner in two respects. Only the practitioner can do it, no one else can. And if one tradition doesn’t work out, at least in our culture, participants can and will switch to another, or start their own ‘DIY’ practice.
This wonderful group is lead by Vince Horn. He has done over 250 podcasts interviewing Buddhist teachers, writers, and researchers. For more information, go to buddhistgeeks.com. I already purchased a ticket for next year’s conference. This is a highly recommended resource for seekers of all backgrounds.