About Degenerate Practice

computer-generated image of city with man and dog based on the phrase degenerate practice
Image generated by Wombo art app from the phrase "degenerate practice".

Why “Degenerate Practice”?

I am inspired by the labels Vajrayana community founders Charlie Awbery and Jared Janes chose to define themselves in their initial introduction to their approach: degenerate fuckwits. It suggests: we’re not taking ourselves too seriously. I want to suggest the same. I’m not writing about authentic vajrayana. I’m not trying to do it “authentically,” at least according to some fixed rules about how it should go. However, I am looking to do it well, and trying to walk the balance between judging “well” on my own terms (is the practice leading me to show up in my life better?) and judging “well” on the criteria developing collectively in the Evolving Ground community. In other words, I want to use the label “degenerate” to avoid feeling like my writing on this site needs to live up to an authentic or accurate standard of “Vajrayana” practice–I want to be playful and pretty loose here.

Who are you?

In order to continue to feel playful, I’m going to try and stay anonymous on here so I don’t have to worry about maintaining a singular professional identity that can combine degeneracy with my work life, which also takes place online. As a practitioner, I’ve been mostly on the fringes of American Buddhism, sitting with a very informal Zen group for a few years around 2012, then mostly sitting on my own and with the guidance of an online coach for a number of years prior to joining Evolving Ground. Throughout all this time I was listening to Buddhist Geeks, then later Deconstructing Yourself, reading Ingram’s work (but not really connecting with any of the practice approaches), reading Shinzen’s work, reading Vividness , spinning my gears on my own and feeling like a weirdo who couldn’t fit in any of the few local sanghas (although to be fair I typically feel on the fringe and would describe all of the sanghas I visited as totally friendly and welcoming).