Our Story 🗣
What is Buddhist Geeks?
The story of Buddhist Geeks is a story about stories. It’s the story of a new generation picking up the torch, getting burned, running away screaming into the dark, only to slowly re-emerge, scarred but alive. Our story is ever-changing, it changes as we do. The story of Buddhist Dharma, of the teachings and pointers that have come out of this living tradition, is the same. It’s one that is constantly morphing & adapting, in response to the changing conditions of human beings. It’s a story about suffering and it’s alleviation. It’s a love story, about the capability of the human heart when it’s filled with boundless compassion. It’s also a story about the nature of stories, the way they aren’t fixed and thus can’t imply a separate existence outside of themselves.
Buddhist Geeks is a story about what comes after modernity. It’s a story, still being written, about how the human species will respond to the multiple overlapping crises, the metacrisis, that we now face. This metacrisis is an ecological crisis, an educational crisis, a crisis of identity, and a crisis of relationship—our relationship with each other and with Earth. At this point the metacrisis far outstrips our capacity to respond, so we must ask ourselves: “What does the Buddhist story have to offer now in the age of the Anthropocene—in the Age of the Network?”
This story, most of all, is a collective story. It’s a story that we’re telling ourselves about ourselves. It’s one way that we make sense of the madness of being alive, infusing life with meaning, even whilst acknowledging that “death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain.” Will we saw the limb of life from underneath ourselves, plunging into the depths of despair & regret, or will we awaken, and soar off to new heights as of yet unimagined?
2006 : Two friends at Naropa University, Ryan Oelke & Vincent Horn, dream up the Buddhist Geeks Podcast in a coffeeshop in Boulder, Colorado.
2007 : Gwen Bell joins Ryan & Vincent as they launch the Buddhist Geeks Podcast with an episode entitled, Meet the Geeks.
2010 : Turning the Microphone Around, a good friend of the show, Rohan Gunatillake, interviews Vincent Horn for the 200th episode of the podcast.
2011 : We host the first Buddhist Geeks Conference and mainstream media takes notice, as Buddhist Geeks is covered for the first time in The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, The LA Weekly, & Fast Company.
2012 : We kickstart the 2nd annual Buddhist Geeks Conference, while adding two new virtual community projects: The Life Retreat—a new delivery model for immersive practice—and The Buddhist Geeks Community—a decentralized peer-2-peer sangha.
2014 : We host the 4th and final Buddhist Geeks Conference in Boulder, Colorado. We also shutter the Buddhist Geeks Community.
2015 : The Buddhist Geeks Dojo, a less decentralized and anarchic version of the Community, launches. We also hold our first in-person Buddhist Geeks Retreat.
2016 : After 10 years, Buddhist Geeks shuts down. Buddhist Geeks is dead!
2019 : Emily Horn & Ryan Oelke join Vincent on the core team. We launch a new podcast series on Metadharma, a virtual training program called Pragmatic Dharma—which is powered by our new transparent generosity financial model—begin hosting Buddhist Geeks Retreats again. We also launch a new Web of Sites, and kick-start two new Lab projects: Open Source Dharma and the Buddhist Geeks Farm!
For a more detailed and scholarly account of the history of Buddhist Geeks, you can read Chapter Six: Buddhism Unbundled, of Dr. Ann Gleig’s book, “American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity.”