Here's a piece of hackerspace lore from earlier this summer. Rinpoche Fa Zang, a Buddhist monk, believed (incorrectly) that the rule of the San Francisco Noisebridge hackerspace was that "if the space was not being used, it could be used for anything." So he and his disciples rearranged the hackerspace into a shrine and began conducting services in it.
What followed was a gentle but insistent tug of war between a group of anti-authoritarian hackers and a monk, as documented by Danny O'Brien, one of the funniest people I know.
A few hours later, Fa Zang left me a voicemail. I have the MP3 if
anyone wants it. It is awesome, and here is the transcript:
This is Fa Zang (Rinpoche). You seem to have forgotten that this
country was found... to things written in the Constitution. Our
founding forefathers promised us we would have freedom of speech,
and freedom of religion. You remember the things that Thomas
Jefferson said, about tyranny and religion? If you don't you should
look it up. What you people are doing is completely erroneous, I
haven't held any ceremonies there, I've simply been paying homage to
the teachings I listen to there. And so you are breaking your own
by-laws and the constitutional rights of people who come there by
doing what you're doing. I think you should reconsider what you're
So there you go. As someone who is also a fan of the founding fathers and
...things written in the Constitution, I'm sensitive to issues regarding
religion, so I've been actively seeking out someone who is okay with the
meditating, and the incense, and the shrining, and the constantly bloody
moving of the tables and chairs. Let me know if you want to represent the
Rinpoche's position in this disagreement.
In the mean time, if you agree with what is smelling to me like consensus,
and if you see the Rinpoche in the road, or even in the space, can you ask
him to keep the ceremonial stuff to Macang Monastery, where he lives.
(Image: 2009 Bay Area Maker Faire, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from mightyohm's photostream)