R.I.P Buddhism

Now it’s nothing but a fashion statement. It was good for the last 2500 or so years, but like all things adopted that early, it has become corrupted and mutilated into perverted rhetoric, mindless repetition, and blind faith. Not to mention a damn-good way to prove you’re “cultured”, since all true “cultured” individuals need to show everyone else their acquired culture (because they have none of their own) or it doesn’t count.

At least it isn’t alone in the commercialized knick-knack and other hippie stores. I’m sure the Buddha would be pleased, if he were here, that his image is being adorned at the end of the dining tables as glorified furniture. The man did nothing but preach the futility of adornments while he was alive.  I’m against the notion of image worship entirely, but I don’t mind a Buddha statue being where it belongs. In a bloody temple!

I can understand someone wanting to show their respects for giving them a new outlook and purpose in life, after all, Buddhist principles gave me a new outlook in life and I am grateful. But I don’t mean the worship Nazis who insist on prayer as a daily ritual (who, have no idea what they’re talking about, but do it anyway because that’s how it’s always been), I mean the people who live their lives putting up the extra effort of not being an ass.  Next time you feel like bowing for prayer, please take it outside.

And then, of course, are the Richard Gere types who, bless their hearts (har har), have decided to embrace it and managed to completely miss the point. 

Man, I hate hippies!

Buddhism has been turned into a bona-fide religion. And like all religions, it has a nasty tendency to creep into the very core of established civilization. Like, oh I don’t know… politics? What do monks and priests have to do with politics? What do they have to do with commerce? I find the whole notion that monks can advance through political connections to be disgusting and quite insidious. And it proves my point that Buddhism has become corrupted and turned into blind rhetoric.

Governing with Buddhist principles is one thing, but to be called a “Buddhist nation” is very dangerous. And in many aspects, no different than being labeled a “Christian nation” or “Muslim nation”. The whole concept of a religious nation, whatever religion that may be, is both terrifying and futile in the end. It stifles new ideas and prevents self-correction and thought evolution.

Last I checked adaptation, keeping what is useful and rejecting what isn’t, was a Buddhist principle. It’s wonderful principle to be used in Government and “culture”. But it should never become law or fashion. It should be accepted because it makes sense. Not because I, your parents, your teachers or anyone else, said so. And especially not for “culture”: That concept in itself is subjective.

Accept it, if it makes sense (think hard). Reject it, if it doesn’t (again, think hard).  Act when necessary, think practically, be aware and in control of your thought process, and do no harm. That’s all it takes to become a Buddhist. No extraneous nonsense required.

Update : 3:08 pm

This post has mysteriously disappeared off of the Buddhism tag index. Well, at least the hippies don’t seem to mind.

I didn’t realize the censorship sword was so sharp, here on WordPress.

10 thoughts on “R.I.P Buddhism

  1. You make a good warning here against some of the corruptions that have been made out of the Buddha’s teachings. Your right, in many cases our commercial culture has sucked the message and meaning right out of the Dharma corrupting it into just another commodity to be marketed and sold for profit.

    However, I do hope that things have not reached such a state where the truly earnest and sincere practitioner cannot embrace the teachings. The benefit of being a practitioner in this modern age is the tremendous access we have to information about the Dharma. True, in many places the Dharma has been corrupted but also in many places in thrives. The Buddha taught us to seek out the essence of his teaching in the four noble truths and the eightfold path, by looking for these teachings and following them with an unclouded mind we have a great opportunity to learn the Dharma and follow the Buddhist path.

    take care,

    Greg

  2. Hi Greg
    Thanks for the comment. I hope I didn’t sound too harsh.

    At least in my case, Buddhism was better applied as a concept to improve myself. I fear people get caught up in ritual and forget the meaning behind said ritual. I’m worried about people who apply without thinking or accept without reasoning. Whenever anything is accepted as-is without further investigation, or accepted only because it’s new, it runs the risk of being blended in with existing concepts which may be contradictory to Buddhist teachings.

    My point was that, “Preaching”, as far as I’ve seen, does very little. “Teaching” by example, on the other hand, does wonders. I have no qualms against Buddhists who have stayed in the middle path to improve themselves and, by example, help improve others. To those few who got the message, kudos!

    For both of our sakes I hope it hasn’t reached that state either ;)

  3. No you didn’t sound to harsh . . . I just felt the need to make the case that we have some positive things going on for us as Buddhist’s living today.

    It’s crucial that people think for themselves, and not follow anything blindly,so I appreciate the message of your post here. We could all use the warning.

    You speak the truth when you discuss the futility of preaching, people will only absorb the dharma when they are ready for it themselves. We all have our lives to live and own struggle to maintain the path of practice so it’s best to focus there keeping compassion awake in our selves is the best way to help others.

    take care and again good post.

    gassho,

    Greg

  4. http://www.samyeling.org/
    Its thrives where it is needed and never more so than today. I do not adorn myself with trinkets, I strive to practice compassion, which these days ( for me, looking at the madness of the world) is a knives edge away from fear and hate. And as Greg says I am grateful for those exiles from Tibet who brought the teachings and the dharma here and settled amongst the Calvinists and the sleep walkers and those who would settle for less. Interestingly the place they chose here, has a history of fairy lore. A provocative post indeed-we still live in a part of the word where so far, we can at least express that. Unlike the Tibetans monks here, who are still monitotred by the chinese for eg their 40th anniversary in Scotland ..peace. M

  5. Yes, Buddhism has been corrupted. Show me an ideal that hasn’t been corrupted once it’s been put it into practice.

    And it’s not like Buddhism magically became corrupted the moment it hit American/Europe; arguably some of the earliest followers of Buddha were wandering very far from the Buddha’s ideals.

    It’s just (an aspect of) human nature.

  6. Hi mermaidsmuse and Baekho

    I agree with you that it’s very difficult keep clarity in a set of teachings for any length of time.

    It’s important to take time to carefully and patiently go through the Dharma and understand which is which. Which is tradition, which are the teachings, and which path must you take.
    These steps will ensure the underlying message is not lost to time and human nature.

    Tradition for its sake or ritual for its sake or atmosphere for its sake should never be the defining moment of acceptance.

    That is what I was trying to show. I did want to make a, somewhat, provocative statement. I wanted some very serious introspection in the matter from whoever read that post and I felt some harsh words were necessary.

    I felt Buddhism has labeled criticism of itself a taboo, which is very disturbing indeed. Only through self examination and self correction will we ever get anywhere.

    For you or anyone else who comes across this post, if you were in any way at all offended, let me apologize right now. It was is not now, or ever, my intent to be insulting.

  7. Oh hey, I wasn’t offended and I hope I didn’t come off that way to you! I do think you’re making a very pertinent point, and I think all Buddhists should take it to heart, and be mindful of the valid concerns you raise here.

    For that matter, I think anybody and everybody, regardless of what tradition they’re working out of, should employ this. Instead of just being Buddhism, you could really insert any kind of organized “project”, be it spiritual, ideological, or political. That’s really all I was trying to get at! :D

    So my apologies if I came off snippy.

  8. Eksith,

    I know the feeling all too well. But, being in a large Shin Buddhist community here in Seattle, I see signs that beneath all the stupid hipster, commercial stuff, there are still a “silent majority” of Buddhists who are really trying their best. The times we live in though make it hard. Buddhism always was about running against the grain though. ;)

    In my own efforts, I am trying really hard to present another legitimate side to Buddhism that many would never know if they didn’t happen to be part of a large community. There’s so much else in Buddhism that well-meaning Westerners don’t know about, but if they did, I think it would be wonderful.

    So, as you can see, I tend to rail against the same things you do, but I am happy to see there’s an alternative to the hipster nonsense. It’s just not obvious at first. ;)

    P.S. Much of what we see in Buddhism is nothing more than Dharma Decline, which is one of the major theories about the decline of Buddhism. I tend to believe in it more and more as time goes on, but it’s not the end for quite some time. :)

  9. Pingback: Uh, Lemme See Here « Boozilla: learning to fly one room at a time

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