This does not mean that Buddhist modernism does not have any correspondence with Buddhist reality, but according to McMahan it is rather that elements of Buddhism that many now consider central to the tradition – meditation, internal experiences, individual authority – are so constructed because of the gravitational pull of modernity. Modernity has attracted particular elements from the vast corpus of the tradition and not only made them central – leaving others that have actually been more typical of Buddhist experience throughout history – but also reconstituted them in terms of modern discourses. (McMahan 2008, p.44)
The processes through which Buddhism travelled in order to be adopted by the intellectual habitus of modernity are the very same as all the other Asian religious discourses entering the West – as for instance yoga – had to go through, in my view. They all had to fit into the our Western intellectual habitus which is the tacit cultural orientations deeply ingrained in modern western cultures (McMahan 2008, p. 62), which were virtually non-negotiable axioms of modernity – for example, the superiority of democracy, the necessity of individual rights, the role of science in establishing claims about physical realities, the role of the artist as a purveyor of individually creativity. Any novel or foreign element must in large measure harmonize with these, even when it may challenge or re-envision some their associated assumption (McMahan 2008, p. 63)
It is my impression that Buddhism has been easier to re-construct and integrate within the intellectual habitus and discourses of modernity than yoga and Tantra. This might be due to real internal differences between yoga discourse and Buddhism – but many other external factors might also be involved. However, I find that the analysis of McMahan should be of interest to all of us writing under the umbrella of modernist academic yoga discourse. Filtering, habitus, academic reflexivity and methodology need to be more highly prioritised in future research.
Sit erect but relaxed. Rest your hands on your knees Yoga quotes. 14 Slowly and gracefully raise your arms as illustrated. Bring your arms up to the Yoga quotes qyerhead position. Look up at the hands and bend backward slightly. This movement helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles. 16 Slowly and gracefully stretch forward and down. 17 Take a firm hold on your knees or calves.