Our Koan

Buddhist Geeks is Moved by a Question

Our question, or koan, is: “How can we serve the convergence of Buddhism with rapidly evolving technology and an increasingly global culture?”

Instead of coming up with a mission or vision statement, we decided to frame our mission in terms of a question, or koan. A question has the benefit of drawing one into a state of not knowing. It also has the potential to lead to surprising answers. Instead of assuming that we know exactly where we’re going, we take as our starting point that the question itself is worth asking, and that our direction, as well as who we are, will be transformed through the process of diving further into the inquiry.

Here are some things we noticed which allowed us to gave rise to this particular question:

  • Buddhism is not one thing–it includes many different traditions, or systems of practice.
  • Buddhism has influenced every culture that it has come into contact with and has also been influenced and shaped by those same cultures.
  • Buddhism has moved not just across geographical regions, but also across socio-economic epochs and through evolutionary time–moving from the Agrarian Age, to Industrial Age, and now into the Information Age.
  • In the 21st century the boundaries between East and West are increasingly breaking down.
  • We live in a time where technology, in all its various forms, is evolving at an exponential rate.
  • Technology is reshaping the global commons, is presenting new threats & opportunities, and altogether changing our understanding of what it means to be human.

All of the projects we engage in at Buddhist Geeks are an attempt, in one form or another, to move this question forward:

The Podcast is an ongoing conversation with the individuals and communities who are experimenting with new ways of practicing Buddhism, as well as new ways of bringing Buddhist and contemplative insights into other disciplines.

The Conference is an annual in-person gathering exploring emergent trends relevant to practitioners in the 21st century, as well as to those interested in what Buddhism offers their fields of knowledge.

Retreats include both the Immersive Retreat format–getting together for several days in-person for a period of single-focused practice–as well as the Life Retreat format, which is aimed at using the support of regular teacher feedback and a peer group in the context of your life as it is.