Course and Code
Summary of Gregory Levine’s Zen Sells Zen Things
The internet has inadvertently changed the way people consumer and how Zen is done. It has affected how religion permeates cultures and how the same is affected by capitalistic and entrepreneurship initiatives. Gregory Levine’s essay presents an argument that Zen practice has affected how modern businesses operate (258). As Zen products continue to enter the lives of people, multiple economic concepts are altered. Now Zen products are in the mass consumption in corporate retail, locally owned businesses, profit enterprises, monastic not-for-profit organizations, or all of these. The author raises evidence using The Monastery Store to show the changing nature of Zen and how it intertwines the intricate relationships of business, economics, social life, and every other relevant issue in the modern economic environment (Levine 261). Merchants outside temple gates in Japan are also used as critical examples to show how their location and association to spirituality and religion enables them to sell various goods to tourists and pilgrims in the name of rituals and religious adherence (Levine 278). The author highlights that Zen and material things are now complex concepts made so by the interactions amongst elements such as consumption, religion, commerce, and spirituality.
The argument made is very convincing because it drives one to think of how religion interacts with other elements such as consumption and commerce to create a culture. The author is very convincing even with the use of examples from America and Japan. However, I felt that more examples were needed to improve the understanding of the reader on the issue of Zen and spirituality. I would want to better understand the role of Zen in dictating other popular movements in commerce such as green consumption. Although I lack any personal experience with Buddhist commercial culture, my understanding of Zen through popular culture is in line with Levine’s argument on its role and influence.
Levine, Gregory. “Zen sells Zen things: meditation supply, right livelihood, and Buddhist
retail.” Zen and material culture (2017): 257-288.