An outlet for venting: pet peeves, complaints, rants, and grievances about the current state of Buddhism

Complaints can be seen as opportunities to suitably address and solve problems of dukkha.

The Buddha seems to have invited feedback from the Sangha and set up a system by which feedback was solicited and provided.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/sdfe/pdf/download/eid/1-s2.0-000768139190070C/first-page-pdf
In the intro of this paper about customer complaints, it says that only about 4 percent of customers go out of their way to complain and provide feedback.
The two possible reasons for this given were:

  1. customers often find it difficult to share their feelings, especially in cultures where sharing is discouraged.
  2. employees don’t encourage feedback because negative feedback may be interpreted as personal attacks.

About 91 percent of the customers simply leave and never come back.

I wonder how many beings who became interested in Buddhism at some point, but due problems that they encountered and their unwillingness to complain, simply left and never came back.

May this thread be a safe space and non-judgmental place to voice one’s complaints regarding the current state of “Buddhism” today.

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For those who are more poetically inclined, please consider posting on this thread instead.

Conversely, feel free to expand on and explain points made in that thread here.


One thing I noticed that I tend to find upsetting is how much the Buddhist community tolerate misrepresentations of Buddhism. For example, presenting what was not spoken by the Buddha to have been spoken by him, often under a guise of “tolerance for all sects and opinions” - even though the Buddha himself criticized misrepresentations of the Buddha, Dhamma, Vinaya, etc.

I sometimes wonder why it bothers me so much…and whether it is wrong for me to be upset at it and/or see problems and dangers with this. Others often seem so casual about this, like as if the fault lies with those who see it as problematic and not the fault of those who tolerate such inaccurate misrepresentations.

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No haiku for you?
I can’t complain without verse!
Although some aren’t terse.

I have nothing more,
besides debates bein’ a bore.
Such is our mind, señor.

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These might be the same people for which the celebration of Festivus developed …

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I already complained in haiku lol

The ability to voice one’s concerns in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya (i.e. right speech) seems important. I think the Buddha started the practice of soliciting feedback precisely to go against the fearful tendency of sweeping problems under the rug in order to avoid confrontation. This doesn’t seem to lead to an actually clean house - just a very, very dirty floor under the carpet lol.

:rofl:

This seems to show why comedy is so cathartic. The problems we simply repress inwardly and bury inside seem to find solace in the comedies (or other forms of art, etc.) that express and give voice to the problems its viewers often feel, but are unwilling or unable to say.

I am hoping this thread can be an outlet so that those frustrations and concerns related to Buddhism can find an appropriate avenue to be expressed suitably here.

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My attempt:

  1. Buddhism seems like it used to have a reputation and feel of “nobility” and “best/foremost” at the time of the Buddha - now it seems buried under New Age philosophical psuedo-detachment and passivity, something that is of some trifling feel-good value but doesn’t actually solve one’s problems. Why are we expected to pretend that all the religions (and even sects within “Buddhism”) have to falsely be treated as equal when in fact they are not equal? The Buddha himself claimed to be the foremost of all beings and the Sangha to be the foremost of groups (their lion’s roars). Why can’t we just matter of factly acknowledge that Buddhism is foremost rather than having to dishonestly and falsely pretend that it is not?

  2. Why can’t I find the entire Dhamma-Vinaya all neatly and cleanly organized all in one place? Is that too much to expect of what is supposed to the foremost organization in entire universe? It just seems expected that what is Dhamma-Vinaya can’t just be distilled and purified and presented accurately and suitably - meanwhile, those in other fields are taking large strides and advancing their own fields in ways that were previously unimaginable. (Maybe this frustration is largely directed at myself lol.)

  3. Why can’t pseudo-Buddhism and false representations of Buddhism be matter-of-factly called out whenever and wherever it appears? Why do we have to respect sects and traditions and schools to the degree that they themselves choose not to respect the Dhamma-Vinaya that was actually laid down by the Buddha, and instead defer to their own teacher, lineage, school, culture, etc. - why are we obligated to respect these groups and individuals?

  4. Why should skeptics who try to throw dust in everyone’s eyes and sow unnecessary and illegitimate confusion be respected and not simply rejected? They try to make it seem like just because they are too foolish and unwise to figure out what the Buddha said to almost any degree, that no one else can. And if anyone claims to do so, they are dogmatic and arrogant. Their belief that no one can know what the Buddha said seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: they either stop looking or never even looked at all and thus barely know what the Buddha said at all…but then over-reach and say that no one else can know what the Buddha said either. When these beings are academics, that seems ironic - what is so scholarly about someone publishing a paper where they tell me that they don’t know what they Buddha said…thus no one else can. What a hollow, empty, value-less paper. Move over and make way for those academics (or otherwise) who are able to.

  5. Why do Buddhists tolerate pop culture fads like mindfulness and meditation for the sake of gaining mere popularity? It seems to be unnecessarily reductionist and often ends up leaving everyone feeling disappointed when they realize that it’s just another hollow fad that doesn’t actually work. Mindfulness and meditation are not cure-alls, nor did the Buddha claim that they were - the Noble Eightfold Path is the “cure-all.” The value of the actual Dhamma-Vinaya seems so vast and immeasurable that shutting down the whole mindfulness and meditation pop culture movement and replacing it with an actually correct representation of the Dhamma or Dhamma-Vinaya seems like it would do far more good in the long-run - even if Buddhism might (temporarily at least) become less popular. Buddhists often seem like they lack self-respect when they try to pander to the masses with watered-down pseudo-philosophies that were not even actually taught by the Buddha. When one possesses a gem of true and actual value, why foolishly promote it in a way that marketers market counterfeit pseudo-valuable products to “make it seem better than it actually is”?

  6. Why does effort seem so devalued and downplayed in pop culture Buddhism?

"You, too, monks, should relentlessly exert yourselves, [thinking,] ‘Gladly would we let the flesh & blood in our bodies dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, but if we have not attained what can be reached through human firmness, human persistence, human striving, there will be no relaxing our persistence.’
Appativana Sutta: Relentlessly

This seems like a far cry from new age spirituality emphasis on “effortless effort” and other such tricks and shticks and gimmicks. The Buddha just seemed to call for good old-fashioned, all-out effort.

(4) “When it was said: ‘This Dhamma is for one who is energetic, not for one who is lazy,’ with reference to what was this said? Here, a bhikkhu has aroused energy for abandoning unwholesome qualities and acquiring wholesome qualities; he is strong, firm in exertion, not casting off the duty of cultivating wholesome qualities. When it was said: ‘This Dhamma is for one who is energetic, not for one who is lazy,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
AN 8.30: Anuruddha (English) - Aṭṭhaka Nipāta - SuttaCentral

If the excuse for not conveying Buddhism as a religion that values trying and effort is that it might turn away those who don’t want to hear about effort and energy, it seems like the Dhamma is not meant for them anyway - let them go away on their own accord.

But why misrepresent Buddhism as a passive, lazy, stoic, radical acceptance philosophy when it is anything but - the goal is not to passively resign to and accept dukkha, but rather to end dukkha (through the development of understanding)?

In the western world, hard-work and effort is often prized and valued. But why does putting “hard-work” and “Buddhism” together seem like an oxymoron in today’s pop culture? Buddhism seems to end up attracting in lazy beings (who value laziness and “effortlessness” and effortless effort) while turning away those who are energetic and effortful - who instead run off to conquer or climb random mountains like the Himalayas (sometimes dying in the process!) - an accomplishment that doesn’t seem worth even a fraction of any spiritual accomplishment praised by the Buddha.

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The danger with a complaining thread is that it fosters the negative complaining mind, something that most of us have to strive to overcome. We definitely don’t want to be having ‘rants’ and to encourage ‘pet peeves’.

Secondly, this is a forum about EBT’s. We cannot fulfill all needs, and have actively and purposefully chosen to have a narrow focus on the EBTs, rather than duplicate what is already available elsewhere.

There are many general Buddhist forums, where venting and complaining are possible, yet this is the only one where an undiluted focus on EBTs is available.

As a nod to the need to have a little vent - there is the haiku thread.

Ill will and the complaining mind result in suffering, and by implementing the Noble 8 fold path we strive to eradicate ill will from our lives. I think there is more benefit in contemplating why the dissatisfaction is there - how it has come to be conditioned, and how to transform the unwholesome to the wholesome.

Added:
Regarding a practical approach to dealing with frustrations, this is how I went about it. As someone who focused on solutions to problems for most of my life, it was an incredible freedom to realise that problems are wholly constructed by ourselves. Left unchecked, one can construct a universe of problems… which can completely misdirect right attention. Instead, freedom comes from focusing on the Noble 8 fold path. With this in mind, looking at each of your 6 points above, and identifying the assumptions underlying each one (what causes and conditions are needed for these to be seen as problems) is very useful. :slight_smile: When the expectations of what ‘should be the case’, are clearly seen, one can then go deeper and contemplate how these arose. In , in , in until the nature of fabrication becomes clear.

:pray: :thaibuddha: :dharmawheel:

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I agree, I think the haiku thread was very skillful, it allowed criticism but in a fun way. To accept that valid criticism is essential in principle is one thing, but we cannot ignore the toxic nature of critical dialog on the web, and the very real psychological toll it takes on moderators and readers. There is a place for critical discussions. The internet, as virtually any comment thread will show you, is not that place.

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As such, we will just lock the thread, and please use the Haiku thread for venting :joy:

These issues can be addressed another way in Discussion as well. By looking at how the Buddha advised to deal with all kinds situations and suffering.

With meta and karuna :pray::sparkling_heart::thaibuddha: :dharmawheel:

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