David Chapman

David Chapman speaks with us about Buddhism for Vampires in our second Halloween special.

Hi everyone, and happy Halloween! Today we’re going to celebrate my personal favorite holiday with our second Halloween special. The focus is on David Chapman’s website, Buddhism for Vampires.

David is educated and has worked in the fields of science, engineering, and business, which have each taught him to ask skeptical questions from their own perspectives. He applies this to his investigation of the Aro Buddhist tradition, and blogs about his findings, interests, and ideas on several blogs including Meaningness, Approaching Aro, and of course Buddhism for Vampires.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice True Blood. AB Negative, with just a hint of O Positive.

:: Discuss this episode ::


“Buddhism for Vampires is a playful, yet deadly serious, look at the dark side of Buddhism. We are all monsters, but we can embrace our monstrosity while retaining our human nobility.” — David Chapman


Web Links


Music for This Episode

Hon Shirabe

Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. The tracks used in this episode are:

  • Shikantaza

No Comments

  1. Dana Nourie on October 31, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I found this podcast really interesting. In my stint with Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, tantra came up from time to time, especially after I was in the “intermediate” course. This is where I had numerous red flags rise in my mind, as they spoke of special blessings and “transmissions” from the lamas, ceremonies where on had to go without food or water for three days, etc. Tantra was considered advanced, and you had to have a lama teach you. This smacked of total BS in my mind. I had heard of Dakanis, but didn’t realize they even had vampires in there somewhere. Must admit, I lost interest as what seemed like a lot of made up nonsense.

    I also have to admit, I cringed a bit when David Chapman suggested that Tantra could be a good fit for the west. It seems to me Tantra is far afield from Buddhism, and especially secular Buddhism. Maybe I’m wrong here. I have no doubt it would appeal to people in the west as they are prone to belief without evidence and love monsters and metaphysical (meaning out of the physical world) made up lore. I think we have enough of that, especially in the US where people seem gullible to outlandish beliefs and promises of super powers.

    All that said I found the podcast really interesting, had no idea vampires were in Buddhist background (or at least some high-jacked Buddhism) and the topic of compassionate killing is one I think we need to give special attention in the west. We go to great lengths to force people to suffer when they could be eased out of their misery through death.

  2. Ted Meissner on November 2, 2011 at 5:12 am

    Be sure to check out the web link “David’s Blog Post about this episode”, as there is some really interesting conversation going on over there in the comments!

  3. David Chapman on November 3, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Hi, Dana,

    I have naturalistic worldview (and a science/engineering PhD), so I’m sympathetic to your view about tantra!

    However, I think that the myth and magic are non-essential. It would be possible to create a fully naturalized Tantric Buddhism (and indeed Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche did more-or-less that with his original Shambhala system).

    Tantra’s value for the West, in my view, is that it embraces every aspect of everyday life. It is a path explicitly intended for people who have families and jobs, and are passionately involved in the world. What can be most useful to us is its gung-ho attitude — not its Medieval world-view.

    By contrast, mainstream Buddhism was designed for renunciate monks, who cut themselves off from the world and from most emotions. I don’t think many Westerners want to do that; so I think this approach is of limited value for us.

    I’ll be writing about “reinventing Buddhist tantra” (including naturalism) next on my WordPress site.

    On the page about the podcast there, we are having an interesting and detailed discussion of the ethics of killing in Buddhism. Jayarava, who you may know as an outstanding Buddhist theoretician, has commented at length. (http://meaningness.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/halloween-podcast-with-the-secular-buddhist/)

    Ted, thanks again for having me on your program; I look forward to our upcoming further discussions!


  4. Dana Nourie on November 4, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Thank you, David. Clearly I don’t know enough about Tantra to see how naturalism fits in. I’ll look forward to reading more about what you have to say on this, and the reactions from others. This is really interesting!

  5. Dana Nourie on November 4, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Is this where that blog post is: http://buddhism-for-vampires.com/secular-buddhist-halloween-podcast ??? I don’t see any comments to read.

  6. Candol on October 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Sorry i haven’t time to listen to the podcast this morning because i’m heading off for a couple of months. But just on the point of tantra being fitted for every day life, I thought most of the eightfold path and precepts are well suited to take care of every aspect of every day life.

    But Dana’s post indicates something is missing from the podcast as well ie an explanation of how tantra is applicable to secular buddhists.

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