Tag Archive: Dzogchen

There’s a wealth of material in post-marxist and poststructuralist political philosophy to be found at the After 1968 web site, which documents a series of seminars and lectures held in Maastricht over the last few years. You can find texts by Agamben, Deleuze, Badiou, Ranciere, Baudrillard, Negri, Derrida, Nancy, and others there, though it will take some scrolling, clicking, and poking around to locate them.

One of the more interesting finds there is a link to the translated notes from a lecture by Deleuze on Spinoza’s concept of affect. It’s arguably this concept and its transmission through Deleuze, together with the more recent upsurge of research in the neuroscience of affect and emotion (by people like Antonio Damasio), that underlies the fairly dramatic upwelling of interest in all things ‘affective’ in recent social and cultural theory.

The site also provides links to Deleuze’s last published piece of writing, the brief, lyrical “Immanence: A Life…”, and to Giorgio Agamben’s insightful, meditative dissection of it (which, thankfully, is only slightly marred by Agamben’s own obsessions with sovereignty, “bare life”, biopolitics, etc.). Agamben spends three whole pages analyzing the punctuation – colon, ellipsis – of the title alone, and though that may sound overindulgent, it’s well worth reading.

Deleuze’s notion of immanence changed over the years and, as Christian Kerslake argues, left questions and inconsistencies in its wake. But it remains very evocative and, in this final version at least, sounds to me completely resonant with the (Madhyamika) Buddhist ontology I’ve been exploring.

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rigpa meets anima…

Rigpa is the state of compassionate awareness that, according to Mahayana Buddhism, is the innermost nature of the mind. It is the primordial, nondual mind that shines through when unobscured; intelligent, cognizant, awake. “Empty in essence, cognizant in nature, unconfined in capacity.” Recognizing and dwelling within rigpa is the goal of Dzogchen practice (a kind of South/Central Asian relative or analogue of Zen meditation practice).

Anima suggests the state of animacy, animateness, animality, shared by all sentient beings. “Anima mundi” is the World-Soul that permeates and animates all things. “Animism,” both in its classical definition and in its revived and revalorized form (as used by anthropologists such as Nurit Bird-David and Tim Ingold and scholar of religion Graham Harvey), is belief and practice which recognizes the aliveness and “ensouledness” of all things. “Anima” is also Carl Jung’s term for the inner soul, the feminine part of the male self, though, by extension, I take this to mean the multifaceted diamond of animate soul within all things.

Where Rigpa meets Anima is where the empty, cognizant, unconfined essence of reflection meets the embodied, relational phenomenality of the world in its ceaseless becoming.