"I must also say that I think people might get the wrong idea about Buddhism by reading some (not all) of the stuff on Buddhism on your site....this whole inner-peace, meditation, be nice to others bullshit is totally unfounded. Its basically a Western orientalist superimposition of what it thinks lacks in Western traditions. Its what we call an "anachronistic transference" which is a result of Protestantism and the Weberian disenchantment of the West after the industrial revolution or the Enlightenment (interpretations vary). Anyhow, the West basically sees itself as cold, logical and calculating and feels that its ethos lacks mythology, ecstasis and the numinous. Hence, it finds it by imposing the negative of its own shortcomings onto the weaker, postcolonial, passive, technologically retarded, feminine and "primal" East....the very distinction between east and west is antiquated and reductionistic. Anyhow, what I'm getting at is that a lot of people are understanding Buddhism as something that it is not; and if it makes 'em happy, that's cool...cause that's all that counts. But it personally makes me unhappy that people are so complacent and accept ignorance and delusion if it suits them...almost out of intellectual or spiritual torpor and sloth... Since you've always been a champion of free speech, I feel that your site should be a forum for everybody's two cents on the matter, as long as it's done tastefully. And if people look for the truth or some sort of spiritual experience in Buddhism, they should have the complete spectrum of views to choose from...don't you agree...?"
I agree. I've always thought that free speech was important, as well as the analysis of concepts and ideas that sometimes, we just take for granted as being accepted dogma. Take Christianity for instance:
"Anything taught about Christianity is usually taught in a light that says its the Greatest Religion and all the others are false."
Christianity is a well known and very well respected religion, one which has been around for two thousand years. And its dogma is well accepted, with various dogmatic statements, such as "Thou shalt not kill", and, my favorite, "Thou shalt not covet they neighbor's wife", having been spread throughout the world, and though, maybe not followed as they should be, at least, heard and understood. And the correlations of Christianity with some of the other major world religions, such as Islam and Judaism, are quite many and synergistic. As a religion, it is a potent world force.
But its history is yet another thing. Started by a pagan after Christ's death, in an alleged attempt to increase his own political power by using the remainder of Christ's followers, Christianity has followed a relatively convoluted course over the centuries. Early Christian followers suffered greatly, first at the hands of the Romans, who, in an attempt to eradicate the hierarchy of Christ's original church, did their best to ensure that Roman gladiators had plenty of sword practice, and that Roman lions had plenty of food. It wasn't until the Roman emperor Constantine, about halfway through the first millennium, that Christianity became a recognized and accepted religion. That was when the fun began.
For, in its quest, Christianity has had an interesting way of demonstrating to its followers some of the concepts that it had held as dogma. The bloody Crusades in the early part of the second millennium, followed by the infamous Spanish Inquisition in the early to middle part, caused pain and suffering to a degree then not truly imaginable up to that time. But, these "interesting" activities involving the Christians did not only occur hundreds of years ago, for, just recently, during the Nazi era in World War II, the Vatican ultimately surprised many by ignoring the pleas of help by the Jews during the Holocaust. Yes, Christianity dictates certain rules that one should live by. Interesting that it doesn't always follow those rules.
This can all be viewed in different ways, as, everything in life can be. The Bible, the writings the Christians all over the world follow, or, are supposed to follow, as their mantra, is nothing but a book of stories, written supposedly by close followers of Christ, yet, fairly universally believed by scholars as written by relative unknowns, who eventually penned the stories that they had heard passed down over the years and centuries. The religion, put together as a way of directing its followers in a certain moral and ethical way, that has a history one might not regard as moral or ethical. An interesting concept, this whole religion thing; a concept which is just too huge to even try to attack in this writing.
Yet, one question evolves from all of this. Just what is Christianity? Is it real, is it fact, or is it fiction? Does it have a true historical basis, or is it a myriad of concepts put together by unknown people who liked to write stories? Are we dealing with something tangible, something credible, something realistic, something historic? Or are we fooling ourselves with highly well conceived bullshit? Who knows. But, one thing is for sure. This concept does not only apply to Christianity….
Dominic takes a unique approach with respect to Buddhism, one which requires its own section, as it is rather extensive. One which is not something that one would expect.
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