Furthermore, there is a history of Buddhists refuting other doctrines (including erroneous interpretations of Buddhism) through written and oral responses. The same could be done towards Julius Evola and his followers.
The Buddha taught quite specifically that there is only one nobility, the nobility of the spirit. Perhaps another reader here can supply the reference to a conversation the Buddha had with a certain brahmin on this topic. Please?
I don’t have time to read JE I’m afraid, I’ll have to find time to read JE, but I’d like to comment that were I wishing to widely propagate a Bad idea, an early strategy would be to look for a Good idea to wrap it up in, so JE’s approach doesn’t surprise me: even tho it saddens me. (And think how many Bad ideas have been propagated in the name of religions that carrry Good messages.).
Imho, this is indubitably the best advice to apply as we consider appropriate ways of countering Bad ideas.
It hasn’t happened so far in this thread , but given how easily trolls can be attracted to threads that discuss countering Bad ideas, it’s worth reminding any newcomer to the thread that posting in support of any type of Alt-Right idea is never acceptable on this Forum. Posts will be removed and their posters suspended.
11 posts were merged into an existing topic: Breakaway thread on “isms” and ideologies
I myself must disagree with this point, there is a sutta that escapes my mind currently, but it’s similar to the abhasita sutta. It tells about how to discuss someone who’s misrepresenting the dhamma, and specifies not to get angry but to draw distinctions and show that something that was said was not said at all.
This in mind, I think direct refutation can potentially be a good thing, if only it helps a few people instead of many.
This is my thought though, it’s possible that I’m subject to subtle clinging with this idea and not thinking it through.
The type of people espousing and pushing Evola are the same people photographed doing nazi salutes to the Buddha, or who have YouTube channels full of interviews with nazis. Such people are the darlings of the alt right Buddhist movement.
It seems the alt right audience is growing. Agree to disagree?! Might not be enough…
I’m not going to comment on your interactions with other forum members here, but I don’t think your own response (which seems to me to be optimistically burying one’s head in the sand, hoping it goes away, not confronting these abhorrent idealogies, not rejecting them nor refuting them, and both-siding the argument with unrelated things instead of addressing the real and current concerns raised by the OP) is going to have the effect you desire either.
This is going to be wildly off topic, but it feels pertinent. Responses like this and the attitude of you and Bhante Sujato are why I love this little community.
May all beings be happy.
There is a concept called the alt-right pipeline, which describes the process of how individuals are radicalized through increasingly extreme content online. I think it’s important to realize their goal is not to accurately represent the Buddha, but to hook people in and push them down the pipeline.
I have heard several anecdotes online from people saying they were de-radicalized from the alt-right via (generally leftist) youtubers (e.g. contrapoints, three arrows, philosophy tube, hbomberguy, etc.).
Maybe there is a space for someone to create the same type of content for Buddhism?
Tbh, we should have a lot of compassion for these alt-right people who are likely making extreme amounts of demerit for misrepresenting the Buddha in this way.
You are tying to use reason to disprove what is based in the irrational. Fascism itself openly embraces the irrational, and fascists won’t be interested in what’s reasonable or logical. Using the Dhamma in this way is just a means to an end.
Not sure how many are aware, but the translator of The Doctrine of Awakening by Julius Evola was Harold Edward Musson, who, accompanied by Osbert Moore in 1949, would go on to ordain in Ceylon as Vens. Nanavira and Nanamoli respectively. It appears that Evola was an early influence on both while they were still laymen (Musson translated the book to English while stationed in Italy during WWII). I skimmed Ven. Nanavira’s biography last night to see if I could get a better idea of how he understood Evola’s views, but all I could find was a short quote that Nanavira later had “considerable reservations” about the work (though no source was provided for that - probably one of his letters - I’m still searching). A nearby footnote indicates that early on - since there were so few books available in the UK about Buddhism - that Musson’s translation of Evola was an important early exposure for Moore as well. I’ve not had a chance to parse Nanamoli’s biography, and there’s no mention of the extent to which either was aware of Evola’s more troubling views (the work in question was originally published in Italian in 1943, it seems the worst of Evola came later?). Take this with a grain of salt, but considering how personally both monks took on the Dhamma, and the body of work they produced, it seems very unlikely that Evola’s early influence remained in the years that followed their ordination.
I gave The Doctrine of Awakening a quick glance last night and, like pretty much everyone who approaches the Dhamma for the first time, it seems likely that Evola thought it more as something to be used to further his own interests in the world - something to add to the identity for the gain of success, comfort and security. Considering AN 4.159, it is feasible that one could pick up the Dhamma still full of craving, desire, and conceit, and through those wrong views gain right view; but in doing so one must be willing to shed the absolute pinnacle of what they prefer, and whatever goal or ideal is representative of that preference. Evola shows no interest in doing so. His description is one of someone who believes he has grasped the “method” and finds it a useful tool for the refinement of his own worldliness.
Having dealt with - as a moderator on DW - the influx of many groups who use the Dhamma as a tool in the same way, it is always abundantly clear that something other than liberation is sitting at the pinnacle for them. An easy way to rebuke their views is to simply point out that Dhamma has not been given priority, and they are in the direction of enhancement rather than cessation, which is far from the point. Also it is pure sīlabbata-parāmāsa to take on asceticism in the manner Evola describes it: the idea that the duty in itself is enough for liberation; failing to see that purification of virtue is not a means for just any end, but meant to serve as an enduring basis for something you have yet to understand.
All in all, alt-right Buddhists (or anyone who upholds a worldly ideology above all) typically crack under the pressure of their own views. They are controlled, but not tranquil, and aggressive, but not confident. They uphold their acquisition above relinquishment, which is to say they are just as deluded as anyone else who isn’t hedging against wrong view. It isn’t really necessary to rebuke these views, but to represent the Dhamma in much higher standing (which it is). They simply can’t keep up because they would have to displace their view to do so.
The issue gets complicated, however, when those wishing to debunk the Evolas of the world themselves uphold an opposing view that may be just as worldly - far less in the direction of ill-will but not in the direction of relinquishment either. No good can come from that sort of confrontation.
The intent should always be to show that such a person’s placement and usage of the Dhamma is more auxiliary than primary and therefore something else is present that they still consider more valuable than development towards nibbana. Bring that to the fore (in a discussion if possible) and it should expose that identity is of the utmost priority to such a person, i.e. not the Dhamma.
Just my take.
This a a new topic for me, and I’m only hearing about this issue/JE here for the first time, so please forgive my ignorance. I really don’t want to stir the pot, but I saw this comment and it got me thinking.
I do think Erik’s comment seems to point to a potential antidote the OP requested (practical and actionable right now - sorry @faujidoc1 ). And it looks like it worked?
Are there any similar Buddhists/groups speaking out against this co-opting of a religion for nefarious reasons? Looks like it will only spread. I live in a very multicultural neighborhood and was surprised to see a white nationalist party sign on my street during a recent election. and this person got some votes(!). So this problem is not going to go away.
I’ve seen on the news how there are Muslim groups who work hard on deradicalizing young Muslim men who get pulled into this sort of extremist ideologies specific to their religion. Most of them proactively start by looking for the reasons why these youth turn to such groups and don’t waste time in engaging them to stop them from going on that path.
Actively spreading information about the actual Dhamma teachings can be a good antidote for debunking this person’s delusional writings. But sometimes you may need to get some boots on the ground, so to speak, to deal with delusional human beings actually getting caught up in it.
Some personal comments:
This is the first time I heard of J Evola. There was not one reference to his writings in the OP and I assumed he is someone posting online!!!
Now I realise he is dead and should be thought of as someone whose writing is influencing the present. Thanks to those who supplied references and links that we can download and learn from.
I know and respect you personally on and off line, so I absolutely accept the truth of this statement; however, could you supply some starter names/links to follow up please?
I know and respect you too, having worked with you online, and it is easy for me to accept the truth of this, but it is “news” for me, and again I would like to follow up, so a couple of references please Erik.
I presume you refer to their use of the Dhamma rather than ours … assuming I got this right, then I agree with you. But how would you suggest we attempt to counter such damaging ideas?
I wish it could be otherwise.
And it is the same with Christianity: both historically, and currently in the USA.
If you like I can move the non-JE and non-alt Right material away from this thread.
Also now I realise JE is dead, a historical figure who is influencing the alt-Right, I think we could change the thread title to “Rebuking Julius Evola and his influence on the AltRight”.
Humm, I do like the sound of that yes Though I think we should keep the cats hugging…it makes me happy and is good for thread spirits
Yes, I think this is a marvelous idea actually.
I suggest you read the article by Gleig and Artinger I already linked to above which discusses Evola’s influence and those perpetuating it.
Sorry, but I’m not going to provide any links. There is no way I am going to give these people and their views any publicity even for critical purposes. In fact people posting links to such websites caused a huge problem on this forum a while back, because of vile racist and mysogynistic views and would actually violate our forum policy.
I’m reluctant to even name names quite frankly but can mention the main figures who I think are mentioned in the article I linked to above: Brian Ruhe, (ex) Ven Puññobhaāsa, and Jason Manu Rheume.
Their opinions on this issue can be seen on social media chats, other Dhamma forums and on their own pages and video channels. They have thousands of supporters around the world. They are not subtle about their political views and somehow mould their understanding of Buddhism to fit those. Worryingly, people come across such people and share these things often without knowing the full picture of what they are endorsing. What is publicly available online is only the tip of the iceberg and there are private groups where things are discussed more freely.
Having done several deep dives into the alt right Buddhist scene and seen the pervasiveness of its influence in unexpected quarters, this is not something I would generally recommend others
to do themselves, as it can lead to a real loss of faith in fellow Buddhists and humanity generally! Seeing things like a monk giving a nazi salute to a Buddha image, reading why women are biologically inferior, or why the Buddha had to have had blue eyes, why Buddhism is inherently racist (and that’s ok), seeing Nazi flags, imagery and leaders photos on Buddhist sites, hearing why Jewish people are inferior etc none of this is good for anyone! It’s darkness and it’s stomach churning… but it’s real and out there.
But one thing, I would suggest to members here who have been commenting in somewhat idealistic tones without perhaps knowing the full extent of this issue at least do some basic research themselves before commenting!
This is wonderful, I like these ideas. I think your thoughts on this are good and agree with everything in this post very much so.
I think there are probably some more like us but I don’t personally know them, I know the Dalai Lama has been talking out against co opting of buddhism for nefarious reasons. But we definitely need more good hearts in the world to help quell this.
This is true! I think we can learn alot from our islamic friends who take away the radicalization forced on them.
I have nothing to say about this other than I agree completely. Sadhu sadhu sadhu.
I can’t help but think the reasoning behind alt right people going to buddhism is directed at separating the historic bond Jewish and buddhist people have had in places like america for several years now.
I believe that we can preserve our bond with our friends though, and make our community stronger than their hate.
It’s already downloaded for when there’s a quiet moment . I totally understand that you wouldn’t want to offer publicity in public places. However , I do see a bit of a difficulty here in that if I didn’t have this trust in you personally I would have simply discounted your post.
@Erik_ODonnell would you be kind enough to PM me?
Of course we keep the 🐈⬛.
I’ll divide the threads on a bigger machine when I get home.