If you’ve noticed Vividness looks vaguely different… you are not wrong.
More important, it’s now organized. The sidebar has a table of contents. If you click on the blue triangles, sections open out. Now you can find out what the site is about, instead of having to guess while wandering around lost.
This became possible because I’ve switched its technology from a blogging platform, which was never the right thing, to a sane web framework. (I wrote about that just now on my new site metarationality.com.)
As part of the revamp, I’ve merged in some material from another of my Buddhist sites, the former Approaching the Aro gTér.1
I too discovered some things about what this site is about, in the course of reviewing its contents for the reorganization. One thing I learned was that with both Reinventing Buddhist Tantra and for Approaching the Aro gTér, I started out intending to explore specific topics within Vajrayana Buddhism, but mostly didn’t get to them. Writing for readers without much background, I realized that I first had to explain Vajrayana in general in clear, simple, short pages. Apparently, no one had done that before, so I couldn’t refer readers elsewhere for discussions of concepts they might not know.
Before the reorg, I remembered that I had explicitly abandoned Reinventing Buddhist Tantra about a third of the way in, because I wasn’t capable of writing it. I hadn’t remembered that I barely discussed “reinventing” at all. (This is embarrassing.) The part I wrote was actually “a conceptual overview of Buddhist Tantra, without so much jargon.”
So I’ve merged that with the part of Approaching the Aro gTér that doesn’t actually talk about the Aro gTér, but just Vajrayana in general. And that’s now Approaching Vajrayana, the first “book” in the sidebar.
I wrote those two several years apart, for different audiences, in somewhat different language. The disunity of the pieces may be jarring. There’s also key pieces missing, which is more obvious now that you can see the overview. Also embarrassing.
I explicitly abandoned the Consensus Buddhism project in the middle, too. Consensus Buddhism itself imploded part way through my writing about it, so the rest of what I had planned became irrelevant.
I nearly finished After Buddhist Ethics, and on re-reading I’m pretty proud of it. It’s a solid piece of work. The critique is less relevant now, because “Buddhist ethics” died shortly after I wrote about it. (I’d like to think I killed it, but it may have just gone down with the rest of Consensus Buddhism.)
Some of what After Buddhist Ethics says about ethics in general may be even more relevant now, though. I’m hoping someday to write the missing last chapter and publish a revised version of the whole thing as a paperback.
Reinventing Buddhist Tantra, with the “Approaching” material removed, seems not to have much to say. Much hoping and promising, no delivery. So, the experience of reorganizing has been altogether embarrassing.
However, despite all the deficiencies…
I’m frequently touched by hearing from readers that Vividness has, after all, opened a new world. That it sparked a sense of curiosity, wonder, and creative play, which grew into a deeper engagement in the vastness and sacredness of reality.
If you are encountering Vividness for the first time—I hope it may do that for you, too.
- 1.Parts of Approaching which are about the Aro gTér lineage specifically may eventually be incorporated into a new web site its Sangha are building. I’ve also merged into Vividness some material from Ngakpa Update, a project that never quite got off the ground and is now officially defunct.