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Buddhadharma : Winter 2017
ann gleig 35 nonsectarian approach to Buddhism. Another common sentiment was that Gen X teachers have an increased awareness around the historic and cultural processes that have shaped Buddhism in the U.S. and are therefore more sensitive to the ways in which Western ethno- centrism has discarded certain aspects of traditional Asian Buddhism. The sentiments expressed in these interviews echoed those of online Buddhist communities such as Buddhist Geeks, a media project that ran from 2006 to 2016. Vince Horn and Ryan Oelke started the project to explore issues that were particularly relevant to them as young Buddhist practitioners but were rarely addressed in prevailing Western Buddhist circles. The Buddhist Geeks community saw themselves as representing a new generation of Buddhist prac- titioners who were creating Buddhist models distinct not only from their baby boomer predecessors but also from traditional Buddhism. Within the Buddhist Geeks network, there was considerable reflec- tion on how Buddhist Geeks itself was a product of the generational divide. One aspect of that divide is that Gen Xers and millennials are much more comfortable and fluent with digital culture than boomers are. Much emphasis was also placed on the shift from counterculture mentality to a more modern mainstream mind-set. Regular Buddhist Geeks contributor Rohan Gunatillake, for instance, explained that he designed buddhify, a meditation app, after having conversations with millennial peers who were interested in Buddhist meditation but felt alienated from its association with “hippie or new age cul- ture.” Vince and Emily Horn also frame their latest project, Medi- tate.io, or “training for the digital age,” as a millennial initiative. Generational differences between the boomers and Gen Xers are also highlighted in the Pragmatic Dharma community, which forms a large crossover with the Buddhist Geeks/Mediate.io network. Spear- headed by Kenneth Folk and Daniel Ingram, Pragmatic Dharma is a loose international virtual community that focuses on a developmen- tal goal-oriented approach to awakening. Pragmatic Dharma pres- ents itself as an alternative to the Buddhism taught by the “hippie” baby boomer generation, particularly the American Insight move- ment. They claim that within these lineages, meditation has been reduced to a therapeutic tool and the goal of enlightenment has been replaced with emotional well-being. In contrast, Pragmatic Dharma claims to offer a more “hardcore” approach that draws from vari- ous canonical Buddhist maps of awakening and is marked by a prag- matic, experiential, and transparent approach to meditation practice.