Sunday, February 9, 2020

Buddhism is not immune to the weaknesses of humanity

It's been over a decade that I've considered myself a Buddhist.

I'll leave it for another post as to why I came to that philosophy.

However, I think it is easy, particularly for new practitioners, to take a "holier than thou" attitude about the purity of Buddhism. (Which, by the way, like Christianity, has many different sects, beliefs, and philosophies.)

Buddhists believe in loving kindness, compassion, right thought, right action, etc. How could anyone who believes such noble things be a terrible person

Look at Myanmar, a majority Buddhist nation. They discriminate against and displace--and worse--the Muslim Rohingya people. Their treatment of their fellow citizens is not "loving kindness" or anything close.

It is reprehensible.

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Within Buddhist sects, they have their own jealousies, fights, and poor treatment of fellow adherents.

Stephen Batchelor in his recent book, "Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist" details all the in-fighting he saw as a monk in Switzerland, South Korea, and India. He details the sometimes less than perfect goings-on of the Buddha's clan and his followers "back in the day."

It is disheartening. But it is utterly human. Buddhists, unfortunately, like most everyone else, aren't immune to humanity's baser instincts. This is not to excuse such behavior. Quite the contrary. It is disappointing and sad.

However, in the dharma, there are antidotes to such wrong thought and wrong action. Buddhism also seems to contain the rather Methodist point of view of free will. We make choices. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Hopefully, as one becomes more enlightened, the more good decisions we make that bend Buddhism in the arc of personal freedom and kindness to all.

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