2005

vexen

Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards


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2005
vexen

Criticism of Buddhism

"Criticisms of Buddhism: Its History, Doctrine and Common Practices" by Vexen Crabtree (2004)

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Once again, you are proving the Bible to be TRUE. Again, I applaud you ... keep up the good work! The fact that you get on here and criticize EVERY religion (especially Christianity ... that says something in itself), is very prophetic ... Biblically that is. You see, you are playing into what it is written in the Bible. As God states in the Bible, there will be a day when there will be a one-world religion (because EVERYONE will listen to people like you and decide we all need to be on the same page, religiously, to make everyone happy and be at peace with each other). Then, of course, that one-world religion will be abolished/destroyed by the Anti-Christ because he, alone, will want to be worshipped. You see, you are marching right along with God's Word, the Bible! I love reading everything you and others submit on this site. It excites me to no end because I see God's word unfolding before me. Thank you for confirming that God's Word is eternal and true (not that I needed to be convinced anyhow). Please, keep up the good work! Thanks so much!

Pleased I can help. Just keep taking those pills!

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Learn

(Anonymous)

2005-05-02 04:47 am (UTC)

You need to study Buddhism a tad more before you comment on it.

Buddhist don't know or care if a/the historical Buddha existed. If he did not, that would not have any serious effects on Buddhism. You are trying to cater to christian readers who don't understand Buddhism to begin with, and in turn show your great ingnorance on the subject.

Points 1 and 2 could easily be true, but again does not matter to Buddhists.

In Point 3, You confuse modern day "new agers" that borrow from Hinduism (mostly) and Buddhism (a little). That's like calling the Aquarian Christ types or modern Gnostics representitives of Christianity. It's dishonest.

In Point 5, You show your ignorance or are pandering to christian readers. Many of the questions you pose that Buddhism "tries to answer", are meaningless in Buddhism. These "questions" are NOT answered in Buddhism because in Buddhism they are shown to be meaningless through direct experience and practice (not through words or scripture - sorry that leaves you nothing to quote).

In Point 4, you point out that Buddhism like any religion or philosophy can be used in bad ways. Big deal? So only Athiest are perfect? Now who's on a moral high horse?

Point 6 is so bad it would be funny, but I think your serious. Buddhism does NOT teach/condone/promote the idea that one should do nothing of suffering. Buddhism at its very core is about combating suffering, not its acceptance. Read a book, please. You are no doubt calling on the resources of "armchair" buddhists who read old texts riddled with ancient asian/indian superstitions and think it's somehow Buddhism (as you do).

Point 7 you illustrate the fact that differnt religions attract different types of people. That's true though I don't see how that's a criticism of Buddhism? That's just human nature.

As you say in point 8: "genuine Buddhists in the West are very hard to find." and most these days (even asians) will tell you that genuine Buddhist in the EAST are hard to find. The west is slowly getting the reputation of having the "true" Buddhists, with old superstions stripped away.

Please do yourself a favour and read a book on BUDDHISM that seperates old cultural superstitions from Buddhism itself. You probably won't buy into it, but at least you can spot a malinformed "new ager" from a Scripture Bookworm Monkey from a running horse and have the knowlege to tell them apart from an actual Buddhist.

Re: Learn (part one, I hit max. character limit)

vexen

2005-05-02 11:28 am (UTC)

I know points one and two don't ultimately matter to Buddhists, the philosophies and meta narrative could be true with or without any actual Buddhas having yet become enlightened. But... it should still be known what roots the religion has, and these points are important to anyone studying Buddhism as a religion, whether or not that person employs Buddhist ideas as part of their life experience. This page is more for scholars and debators than for Buddhists looking to affirm their beliefs.

Point 3 is valid: Most modern Buddhists in the UK, for example, only DO know of the more New Age versions of Buddhism; partially this is because of the routes that we have come to know of Buddhism in popular culture in the West.

Atheism has been used in a bad way just the same as other belief systems, just look at Stalin and Russian atheist oppression of religion. Point four starts with an acknowledgement that Buddhism has one of the cleanest slates with regards to this though; I am hardly on a moral high horse by pointing that out, the opposite!

Point 5's questions are pertinant. And for the record I don't grant "scripture or words" higher precedence. I'm not a Christian or a fundamentalist, or even in a literalist, of any religion or belief. The questions I ask in point 5 are ones that the most famous Buddhist texts also ask; and are those that the most intricate Buddhist texts struggle with, including those detailing the conversions of Kings and conversations of Buddhist sages themselves. Why, answer me, is there a 'reality' or a false ego in the first place? This, as I point out, is the same fundamental problem as the ones Christians have with the problem of evil... why did God create evil as a possible result of free will? Very similar problems, and I do right to point out their likeness.

I think you misunderstood point 6, it's about psychology, not logical beliefs nor teachings. Most major religions are at their core about combatting suffering - including Christianity, Humanism, and Buddhism. Buddhism is especially clear in it's ethics and morals that it is best to reduce suffering as much as possible.

7: Buddhist psychological methodology and ideology only suit some people because the Buddhist exploration of psychology is itself limited to only a particular type of understanding, the world-view is narrowed by the beliefs of the religion.

8. Yes, I agree we're getting better, and Buddhism anywhere is hard to find but... note that once you start looking for "genuine" members of a religion, they're ALWAYS hard to find no matter what religion you pick.

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i dont like you or your websiteways have no right to show intolerance to other ways of thinking. its fine that you are christian if that works for you, but dude get a grip and keep your shitty ideas to yourself. no one likes a know-it-all.

Buddha

(Anonymous)

2005-07-20 06:17 am (UTC)

HI,
I read your points and I do agree with certain issues you have raised about Buddhism becoming yet another form of blind faith or a religious creed. Buddhist philosphy is not esoteric and is based on getting grips with your life and exerting "yourself" for self improvement.
I will try to clarify some of your arguments by one such story as said to have been related by Buddha himself:
If an arrow came and pierced a person, would he/she seek treatment only after, or would a doctor on examining the patient agree to treat the patient only after they had cleared these few points:
1. where did the arrow come from?
2. what was the birth/caste/race of the person who shot the arrow?
3. how tall was the person?
4. what color was the person?
5. which direction did the arrow come from?
6. what kind of a bow and arrow was it?
7. What speed was the arrow travelling?

... or would they seek a treatment that relievs pain and works to heal the wound?
That is why it is really not important to get involved in (fruitless) philosophical discussions about the birth of Buddha, his being or not being an aetheist, or on how many others might have missued his name to harm others. It also does not matter if he used any existing philosophy or he did not.

The Sati Pathana Sutta and the practise of Vipassana as a form of non sectarian meditation clearly and immediately points out the convergence of both, the philosophical and practical aspects of the method of Buddha's teaching.

Infact it is largely because most people have not had the opportunity of personally "Experiencing" the simple and direct impact of vipassana that they have tried to turn a secular, non sectarian phlosophy of the Buddha into a religion where they worship him and other deities for favours or "enlightment".

The Buddha, possibly like many others before him and after him found the seeds of truth and enlightenment within each sentinent being and his conception of an enlightened person is very simple, "He/she who does skillfull acts which are good for him/her and for others, is an enlightened person". However, inorder to even start doing skillfull acts (not "good" or "bad" acts) we have to train our mind from not reacting to situations and circumstances in our pre concieved ways. We have to break the chain of reactive action and thoughts, rather start looking and acting in a creative manner. Easier said than done, that is why one can practice Samtha meditation- the practice of stillness, Vipassana - the practice of Insight into reality and Maitrei- the practice of generating good will.

Where the question of "Reality vs. False Reality" is concerned; actually in all honesty and with all due humility the only truths which we can clain for our selves in this entire existence is that of Eternal Change and Interdependence of all phenomenon. There maybe other Truths, I cannot vouch for them, in my life I can say that there is not a single thing which is not changing and not a single thing which is not interdependent.
So then what is false reality, it is when we start believing in either Nihilism- there is nothing and it does not matter anyways or we believe in Absolutism- all that is there in the world etc. is truth and reality and it will always be so and some things even exist independent of anything else, i.e. god, spirit, soul,the universe, the act of creation.
Reality however shows that we cannot conclusively prove that there is anyone thing that does not or will never change or that there is something which exists independently of anything else.
It is Nihilism and Absolutism which causes us to believe in a false sense of the I as a non existing or a static fixed entitity. the truth is that there is an I but it is also continuously changing and adapting, so there is little reason to get fixated on the I.

Cheers and maybe we can meet again on the net.
Sachin Singh
kadamfilms@yahoo.com


point 3. on Buddhism

(Anonymous)

2005-07-30 11:46 am (UTC)

Point 3. reads well the first time. However I am currently researching Buddhism and therefore I'm not just going to take your evidence at face value. If you can find me a single article from a reliable source that doubts the historical evidence for Buddha I will be very impressed, because I cannot. The fact that the piece that you quote actually says that Historians are unanimous is a pretty good indicator that you are clutching at straws on this one. Some of the other points that you make are fair though.

Re: point 3. on Buddhism

(Anonymous)

2006-01-04 11:15 am (UTC)

The Buddha was a Sammasambuddha, a self-enlightened Buddha. Only one Sammasambuddha will ever appear in the lifetime of the Universe. The fact that his Teaching, called The Dhamma, is extant is proof that he lived. No-one else can discover and teach it, not God, not Jesus Christ, not Satan. It is interesting to note that Satanists do not think that Satan exists. They think that he does not exist because they do not understand the significance of Names and Genesis, Names and Forms, NamaRupa.

A Buddha does not arise in the world when there is no need for one. When there is a need for one, a Sammasambuddha is born into the Universe. He is born as a Bodhisattva. His duty is to discover The Dhamma and to teach it. When the Buddha passed into Nibbana (Nirvana), he left behind the Sangha. The Sangha consists of enlightened Arahats (Arhats) and Novices. The Enlightened Arahats are the Guardians of The BuddhaDhamma. The Arahats have the Duty of maintaining the original purity of The Dhamma. The Arahats have the Duty of Teaching the Dhamma to the Novice Monks and Nuns and The Householders.

Re: point 3. on Buddhism (Anonymous) Expand
Buddhism is not entirely solitary at all. Temples and congregations are widespread out here in America; in fact, my hometown has one dedicated to the Theravada tradition. This is mostly due to the Asian community we have out here, but in due time, whenever I feel apt to a religious service of any kind, I might just attend that one instead of a church. The only reason why I don't attend a temple is for the same reasons I don't attend a church either -- just disinterested.

And btw, are you aware that there are different schools of Buddhism too? The zen types are seemingly more superstitious than thervada and they believe in hell and all sorts of ghosts.

Buddhism is definately not solitary. Sangha, or "Community", is one of major and important parts of Buddhist theory and action.

Buddhist temples and communities in the UK are concentrated in the North West.

Of course I'm aware of different schools of Buddhism, I've studied the major ones. All schools of Buddhism are, on the ground, more supserstitious than they are in doctrine.

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Re: Buddhism: Inhumane Dismissal of Suffering

(Anonymous)

2006-01-04 11:00 am (UTC)

Om mani padme hum

Don't know where to start...

(Anonymous)

2006-01-05 08:35 pm (UTC)

Your misapprehension of the Buddhist world is so extensive, I cannot imagine where to start addressing your mistakes. As Rudyard Kipling wrote, "East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet." We all have our opinions and we fortunately live in a world where we are free to express them. This however does not mean that successful communication is guaranteed. Your comments in some ways express your understanding of Buddhist views that approach what I understand to be Buddhist views, as others have commented. But in other respects, I am dumbfounded by you comments. I used to have the energy to address each and every point of misunderstanding I encountered, on the subject of Buddhism, or what have you, but I now understand this to be a futile task more often than not. I find it more productive when turning to questions on the human condition, to seek cooperation and collaboration for the common good. Personally, I do what I can for all living beings and practice within the sangha. Criticism of others views, like attempts to effectively communicate, often end in failure, although not completely without benefit: success is certainly precluded if attempts are not made, right?

Leave you with this:

As Nagarjuna taught, all propositions fail in the face of emptiness because that which is sought to be proved must be assumed in the first place.

Interesting

(Anonymous)

2006-02-09 07:39 pm (UTC)

Quite an interesting interpretation of the Buddhist teachings, however i feel you may fall down on certain issues through a lack of proper insight.

1. Development - Buddhism does not invent anything because it does not need to, Buddha mearly opened his eyes to something that was always there, a culmination if you will of the underlying "truth" that other religions had managed to grasp in certain ways.

2. The Buddha - Unlike christianity, Judaism, Islam et al the existance of Buddha is irrelevant to the validity of Buddhism, without Buddha, there is still Dharma, but without the likes of Jesus, christianity would crumble. "The proof is in the pudding" is perhaps the best way to illustrate this.

3. Western Buddhism - Buddhism has never been a strict singular path, the Buddha taught us all to learn from our experiences, not mearly from scripture. Just as Buddhism teaches, nothing is permanent, everything changes....even Buddhism itself.

5. Nirvana and the Self - Mordern Quantum mechanics have helped in some ways to illustrate these issues. Consider the multiverse, where every possibility exists at once (buddhists might call this Nirvana), but from this infinite purely through chance a consciousness arises, collapsing the multiverse into a single percievable reality(waveform collapse), the universe as we know it.

4. World morality - While christianity and Islam contain texts that allow murder etc Buddhism to my knowledge has no such scripture, those who kill, or hurt others in any way go against Buddhism, and even if they claim to be buddhist they are not. It is both illogical and impossible to label buddhism due to the actions of those who go directly against its teachings.

6. Dismissal of Suffering - Buddhists do not look to buddha for the answer, he is unable to give it. THey look to buddha for teaching and explanations. Indeed, our present circumstances are the result of previous actions however Buddhism does not teach these to be inescapable. We can escape our situation, through good deeds to others, through wisdom and sacrifice of the self. Unlike christian Sin, Karma is not a permenant mark, it can be changed.

Just my own interpretations of Buddhism, in respect to your criticisms.

Buddhism Delusional

(Anonymous)

2006-02-09 09:34 pm (UTC)

How so, Buddhism is a western term and is 80 percent or more of the time interpreted in western viewpoints. Buddhism is finding an island onto yourself, Buddhism is breaking away from attachment of worship and praise for the unknown God. Buddhism is the conscious awareness of everyday. It is innocent as it is flawed. Buddhism is everything and everything that is in reality, that we see, hear, touch, and correspond with. It is a way of life to end life. Buddhism is more then achievement perfection through enlightenment and complete understanding of our reality, it is letting go of unwanted desires and taking control of our thoughts in a mindful matter. It embraces science and notices a threat as really a possible learning point. So where is this delusion? An experience with insight is vital. Buddha is special and a Lord, because he didn't have anything before him that stated his claim to a higher consciousness. His understanding is clearly, earthly. The experience can not be exactly duplicated in theory, thus born his adherants and disciples. We are followers and users of the Dharma, striving for something, nothing, and evolving the conscious experience. It can be spiritual it can be secular.

Buddhism

(Anonymous)

2006-02-10 03:29 am (UTC)

Without a doubt without a doubt this is one of the most profoundly simpleminded critique of Buddhism I have ever read. It is nothing more than the usual neurotic rants that you find from skeptics. Somehow the author thinks it is important whether or not to Buddhism has any original ideas. This of course is totally irrelevant, Buddhism is a religion of practice faith and the cultural baggage that come with Buddhist traditions are irrelevant. Also much of what is said here is just the if effluevium generated from a overenlarged ego.. nowhere in the Vedas or the upanishads for instance do we find the doctrine of the bodhi sattva. This polemic would get an F in Buddhism 101 from any competent professor in the country. As for history is concerned no tradition is so compelling that it automatically generates a virtue in its adherents. These kind of skeptical millimeter shallow interpretations of philosophy and history are laughable. It is a critical equivalent of someone interpreting Christianity as based on cannibalism due to the Eucharist.
You cannot understand Buddhism unless you understand the eightfold path and the doctrine of corn or dependent origination. Evidently the scholar to use the term loosely never heard of the noble fourfold truths would start with the recognition of suffering. The whole point of Buddhism is to end suffering. Obviously the author doesn't understand that regardless of external circumstances the mind is the ultimate source of suffering, which is why one man suffers more in identical situation than another. I would literally have to write an encyclopedia to go over all the misconceptions and lack of scholarship in his statements.
Zenshin Roshi

This site sucks. I don't think you people should be criticizing any ones religions. It's their preference not yours and none of your business. If you are happy with your religion I applaud you, but let others have their own and keep your religious intolerance to yourself. I, personally, think that you people are extremely shallow, aren't entirely comfortable with your beliefs, and, therefore, think you need to criticize others to satisfy your own insecurities or egos. Get a life, then get over yourselves!

Beliefs lead to actions... actions based on superstitions lead to inhumanity, suffering and eventually war and genocide. That's what the Dark Ages were.

If people stopped being religious and started learning more useful things in life (like, morals, maths, science, philosophy, etc) then the world would be a better and more peaceful place.

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Satanism/Stupidity

(Anonymous)

2006-03-24 02:15 am (UTC)

Its funny how Satanist go on and on about how "evil" ingnorance or stupidity is.

Then in a essay on another religion Mr. "Satan" Crabtree is COUNTING on other readers ignorance of Buddhism for his little critisisms to even make any sense.

Many of your misleading errors have been pointed out to you and then doged worse than a forked tounge politician. You think a little too highly of your own opinion and no one doing any serious religious studies would possibly take anything you say seriously.

You say In Buddhism, ultimate transcendental reality is nirvana, complete abolition of the self.

This is a misunderstanding of Buddhism which was deliberately spread by Jesuits in the late 19th century to stem burgeoning interest in Buddhism.
(Conf. JJ Clarke 1997 Oriental Enlightement)

Buddhism really does not address ultimate transcendental reality as does Christianity, but rather addresses clinging to egoic constructed self. Nibbhana when you have experienced is the recognition that such a self is not the true nature of being in the world and that who we are is something which is not inconsistent with a process theological reading of the Bible.

You become all things and remain as you are.

Interesting view on Buddhism

(Anonymous)

2006-06-20 02:19 am (UTC)

I have read through your journal on Buddhism and I find that you have very interesting arguement.

While I am a Buddhist, I have continued to look into opposing views on Buddhism. I do not want to restrict myself with only the Buddhist opinion but also to know in what way others look at Buddhism and whether they are right. I was very disappointed with most of the arguements as they merely trying to lift their status by down grading Buddhism.

I find that your writing is trying to be as objective as possible. There are of course certain parts that I would agree and disagree with you on your view of Buddhism, however I respect your opinion due to your objecivity and your attempt to understand what it means. It is quite clear to me that you would not want to just quote out of context but having a more generalised view of what Buddhism means before you write your journal.

I enjoy reading this journal of yours and look forward to more contribution from you.

read all these failures and their nonsense rambling out "god" and religios etc--what a crock of horse feathers!!--do you -any of you -realise how pathetic you are with youre addiction to GROUPMIND and all its nonsense?--i doubt it--but then for a humanity composed of intellects under the control of conditioned identities what else can you do but waffle endlessly about nit picking religious concepts --what a way to waste yer lives --go for it

Hmmmm

(Anonymous)

2006-08-05 02:59 pm (UTC)

Yes, you know so little of buddhism but let me ask you this. Did you read about buddhism from some bookshelf of the library? I have to say, if you did, then what ever you think you know about Buddhism is quite wrong. There is more to Noble Truths, there is so much more. From reading your critisicm, I know for a fact that what you know about Buddhism is so little, and I have to say some are not even true. Very demented, I have to say. Of course, you had some confusions and questions, but I can say for a fact that all those questions have answers. I'm disappointed that you criticized and insulted the religion with very little knowledge. I'm afraid it was very childlike and immature.

Well, Christianity, the first disciples wrote down the bible and for Islam, most of the Quran canonized during the time of first Khalifs, which is the same generation of the prophet himself. The information in the article is wrong about the first generation writing down the Quran as a book. It is the same generation. It is wrong to compare Buddhism with Islam and Christianity at all. Because Buddhism don’t have a clear Godly belief

That's possibly the most inaccurate representation of Buddhism I've ever come across.

Superficial

(Anonymous)

2006-11-29 01:18 am (UTC)

Your criticism against Buddhism is all but superficial. Your failure in reading into depth, mediating and reflecting how the various principles are relevant and practical to our everyday life has succeeded in the production of a bias and dangerous arguments.

To truly compare religions, you got to practise it and experience it yourself.

Let me share with you the Kalama Sutta (A charter of free enquiry) by Buddha in response to question by the Kalamas in Indian then.

"In the Buddha’s time, he once came across the village of Kalama. The Kalamas were among the smartest and most intellectual people in India then. Together, they went to ask the Buddha, "How do we know what you teach is true? All other spiritual teachers who came by claim that only what they alone teach is true, that what others teach are untrue...

To that Buddha replied the following:

1. Do not simply believe what you hear just because you have heard it for a long time
2. Do not follow tradition blindly merely because it has been practised in that way for many generations.
3. Do not be quick to listen to rumours.
4. Do not confirm anything just because it agrees with your scriptures.
5. Do not foolishly make assumptions.
6. Do not abruptly draw conclusions by what you hear and see.
7. Do not be fooled by outward appearance.
8. Do not hold on tightly to any view or idea just because you are comfortable with it.
9. Do not accept as fact anything that you yourself find to be logical
10. Do not be convinced of anything out of respect and reference to your spiritual teachers.

You should go beyond opinion and belief. You can rightly reject anything which when accepted, practised and perfected, leads to more anger, more greed and more delusion. The knowledge that you are angry, greedy or deluded does not depend either belief or opinion. Remember that anger, greed and delusion are things universally condemned. They are not beneficial and are to be avoided.

Conversely you can accept anything which when accepted and practised leads to unconditional love, contentment and wisdom. These things allow you time and space to develop a happy and peaceful mind.

This should be the criteria on what is and what is not the truth; on what should be and what should not be the spiritual practice.

Hearing that, the kalamas were pleased, and with an open heart and mind, having embraced the spirit of free enquiry, listened to, questioned and wholeheartedly accepted the teachings of the Buddha."

Hope you will strike a better balance instead of being confused and ignorant of the Truth in Buddhism. May you be enlightened of the truth of all beings and realities of not just the world, but the infinite universe.

Re: Superficial

(Anonymous)

2007-05-01 09:01 pm (UTC)

i agree with the above as much as i did enjoy the contents of this web site ( soem very enlightening things about islam and christianity), i felt the you miss under stood the meaning the tearm 'suffereing' or 'dukka' has for Buddhists. Suffering is too harsh a word, Dukka is more salt of the earth then that.

Judgement

(Anonymous)

2006-12-21 02:00 pm (UTC)

Any religion must be judged by the behavior of those who claim to be adherents, no matter the content of their sutras or scriptures. Buddha never wrote a single sutra. Like Jesus, he was "quoted" rather late, and surely past his ability to defend himself against any slander.
Some people say I am a Buddhist. In frustration with the complexity of explaining that I am not a Buddhist, but a scientist, who has found value in Buddhist writings, (because they support a path that can lead to a rational appreciation of God), I will say, "Yes, I am a Buddhist", but only so that the conversation can move on.
Life is born to hope, because of two forces; adaptation and war. Through adaptation, we have some limited chance to change our form, so that we may tolerate new circumstances, or learn enough to control the intensity of change, such that we can survive. Through war, we decide which ideas will ascend, and which ideas will not.
To the point, no Buddhist I ever met has ever suggested we should spread our religion by force. However, through discipline and mind skills, we can and have earned respect in battle.
Many have said "Buddhists do not believe in God." I say, from what I observe, almost every Buddhist acknowledges the Dharma of governance, but refuses to personify it.
War is a natural struggle. It determines the nature of our inquiry into the Law. We are now engaged in a decisive war for the survival of this species. This war will determine whether we depend on mysticism or rationalism to control our inquiries and actions. Time is limited, for in time, all vectors seek out the living, and kill it.
The goal of life is to be able to renounce natural selection, but before we can renounce it, we must practice it thoroughly.
Wa Dok

Re: Judgement

(Anonymous)

2008-02-07 10:17 pm (UTC)

"Any religion must be judged by the behavior of those who claim to be adherents." I agree with that and thus I reject Buddhism as just as dangerous as any other religion. Buddhism has actively supported fascist, nationalistic war-machines in Japan. A part of the history of Zen too few Westerns are aware of. Thanks to the work of Brian Victoria, Ken H Jones, Ichikawa Hakugen, and others, we cannot ignore that part of the history.

I have no idea what you are trying to say with the rest of your post. "The goal of life is to be able to renounce natural selection." Life does not have a goal. Life just is. We cannot renounce natural selection because evolution is something that happens, it's nothing that can be renounced like one can renounce a certain belief.

Vexen - I thank you for your criticism of Buddhism. Such criticism is so desperately needed in the West where most Buddhists have absolutely no knowledge of the historical development of Buddhism: they did have missionaries, they did support wars - sometimes actively, D.T. Suzuki, on of the beloved teachers, saw war as a form of religious conduct. (Btw, if you haven't read Brian Victoria's "Zen at War," I can highly recommend it. Especially the chapters on post-WWII - they are rather enlightening.) To accuse you of lack of knowledge and ignorance can only be a reflection of the ignorance of the person making that accusation. As Christopher Hitchens said in the Four Horsemen discussion: "I would never give up the claim that all religions are equally false. And for that reason, because they're forced by preferring faith to reason, latently at least, equally dangerous [...] because of the surrender of the mind."

Rachel
www.rabe.org

Interesting

(Anonymous)

2007-06-04 10:26 pm (UTC)

I viewed this article as the first clear example of a good critical examination of Buddhism. I do not mind criticism on Buddhism actually and find these Point of view a necessary part to understand the truth clearly.

1. Buddhism is, in reality, definitely influenced by the culture it grew around in. This is true; however, it does not invalidate the teaching by itself. For example, the Chinese make the Buddha fat to show fulfillment and satisfaction he portrays. One the other hand, the Indians draw him in a more ascetic manner to represent the holiness and wisdom of the Brahman and extend this wisdom even further. But yes, Buddhism does deal with the culture it is in (which is why it is so adaptive). Does that make it wrong? Perhaps its not pure "ideological" or wisdom form, but I find it unnecessary to establish this.

2. I thought Buddha existed, I don't know when it was proved it didn't.

3. The teaching of Christianity shows the presence of a person being that created the world. And in this perfect world, the people dissented with his wisdom and ate the fruit of knowledge (a pomegranate). The criticizement comes: If god is perfect, he must have known this. I don't see this problem in Buddhism. The Buddha establishes that life cannot be a smooth ride (I think this is universally true), but we only have to go up or down with it if we attach ourselves to things unnecessarily. And the reasoning behind it is that chance things happen and humanity is not perfect because of the lack of insight.

4. This has been appealed to before. There will always be people who will manipulate knowledge to bring about their deed. One of these example would be Kent Hovind (distorts Geology and Evolution to a conspiracy against the bible), the guy who made Fahrenheit 911 (distortion of actual events), and Hitler (the concept of race superiority). They can be taught in a way that is not factual simply because people distort things.

5. But there is suffering in the world. Life is not perfect. There is sadness in the world. Denial would be fake innocence and obviously wrong. But then, acknowledging would be pessimistic? I doubt that.

6. Yes, those who do understand Buddhism and its teaching usually are better and more humane than those who are forced to be it. I don't see what the problem is with that. Wisdom does not come to everyone, it cannot be given to everyone, wisdom comes to the person by experience, attitude, viewpoint, the ability to coherently form it. This is, perhaps, why you should not force people to your religion?

lack of moral.

(Anonymous)

2007-08-09 09:16 pm (UTC)

As my pers. moral DOES come 1st, you're hereby welcome to take any of your most important moral subjects up with me, so that I can more easily find out how- & concentrate on seeing e.g. both you & also myself etc. as a group of morallists, how do you FEEL to hear it, pls.? Greetings, J.A.,
a.respectlife70@gmail.com.

Hi,

Are you familiar with Alexander Berzin's explanations of buddhism?

What do you think of them? I would be very glad to hear your thoughts, and criticsm on them.

(available at
www.berzinarchives.com
)

Misguided criticism

(Anonymous)

2007-12-20 08:24 pm (UTC)

Although there is some validity of the arguments in the article, I feel most of the criticism is flawed due to lack of in-depth understanding of Buddhism. So I present my criticism respectfully here...

1. There may be some truth in fact that Buddhism borrowed lot of elements from Ancient Hindu religion esp Karma theory and contemplative practices. However the same conclusions can be drawn by 2 different persons. Even acknowledging the assumptions of the author, Buddha criticised 'Caste system' inherent in Hindu religion. Infact Buddhism is revolt against casteism, animal sacrifices and extreme ascetism in ancient Indian religion. Buddha tested methods existed at that time and came up with radical ideas.

2. Buddha is a historical figure by any proof although they are some discrepancies as author noted. Even if Buddha didn't exist, it will not affect any Buddhist from abandoning Buddhism. This is in contrast with christianity where faith in Jesus is basis of its existence.

3. There is some truth in authors comment that Buddhism is not suited for everyday pleasures. However Buddha doesn't disregard pleasures of daily life including sensory pleasures. Nothing sinful about it. All Buddha is saying is this is unstable and tried to find a way for 'unconditional happiness'. Once can practice Buddhism with everyday pleasures by avoiding extremes and acceptance of suffering inherent in it.

4. Buddhism is based on Emptiness which talks about both unconditoned and conditioned realtiy. In the domain of conditioning, self exists but in domain of ultimate reality, no self exists. It is creation of mind. The author would find reading of 'emptiness' in Mahayana tradition very rational and scientific.

5. I agree with author that some Buddhist leaders manipulated mass using religion as instrument. Old tibet theocracy is record for this (Although present Dalai lama is radically different in good way than his predessors). But we can't blame Buddhism for this. It is saying science is useless because nuclear weapons destroyed Japan. Wicked people exist in all religions and Buddhism is no exception.

6. The author says that Buddhism dismissed suffering and accepted it without any effort to change. This is totally misleading comment. The very essence of Buddhism is to change things. That is why Buddhists emphasize the importance of present moment. One has to accept suffering before one can change things. Buddhism is non-violent and pacifying religion which obvious can be lead to passivity if one doesn't understand it well.

7. Buddhist psychology may be too idealistic but it doesn't demand others with 'guilt' and fear. They are however certain elements which are hard to implement when one wants to succeed in material world. However there are elements in Buddhist psychology like mindfulness and attention which are immense benefit even if we don't take entire buddhist practices.
Buddha told ways to practice Buddhism for both monastic and laymen. He never denied pleasure of material things. He just showed there is another path for unconditional happiness ( better word is 'peace'). If one wants to have materialistic pleasure also, Buddha is true friend warning us not to get too attached but to be skillfully attached. Buddha is just a compassionate friend trying to help us without any conditions.

Re: Misguided criticism

(Anonymous)

2008-02-07 10:31 pm (UTC)

Before accusing anybody of "lack of in-depth understanding" make sure you got your facts straight. "Buddhism is non-violent and pacifying religion" - writing from any of the prominent Zen Buddhists in Japan during World War II contradict that statement. Ichikawa Hakugen, a Zen priest and professor at Kyoto's Hanazono University, had "been a strong advocate of Japan's 'holy war'" (Brian Victoria, Zen At War, p. 170). Victoria shows that again and again, Zen Buddhists supported Japanese wars and used their teaching to provide ideological justification. Hakugen was one of the few teachers who was disgusted by his own behavior and thus documented a lot of this in the post-WWII years. He discusses in "The War Responsibility of Buddhists" the Buddhist tenets, the fundamentals in Buddhist teaching, that has (mis-)lead Buddhists to their positions during the war. If a Zen priest does not have a deep understanding of Buddhism, I don't know who would.

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