I’ve stumbled lately upon article of Ajahn Sujato about modern movement of secular buddhism and its misinformation, conceit, lack of understanding of suttas etc.:
It is absolutely genius and I agree 100% what Bhante Sujato wrote there.
The thing is that I’m somehow annoyed and concerned that so much people and so many books are saying that Buddha was teaching something that totally contradicts what he was actually saying in the suttas. The are so many distorted dhamma books out there that more and more people know these distorted versions instead of actual dhamma taught by the Buddha and its spreading and spreading. Also there are coming new “dhamma forums” that are based upon this distorted versions of dhamma, and they start to claim that monastic life is religious artifact of the past etc.
A few things that I’ve noticed:
- People reject notion of Nibbana and Parinibbana and say that Buddha was teaching something like powerful metta, awake to love of this world etc. It is true in terms of practicing goodwill, but it is not all for sure and totally against main teaching of Buddhism relating to panna (wisdom).
- Even if they agree to rebirth, people reject all teachings of different planes of existence as non-buddhist fairy tales, even thou Buddha was saying many times about devas, brahmas, hellish realms etc. and suttas are full of them, and he was clearly stating that they exist and it is clear that they play big role in motivation for the quest for Nibbana to avoid rebirth in planes full of suffering. And to get a feeling how vast samsara is and how rare existence as a human is.
- People reject notion of moral perfection and renunciation on the path, while saying that realising no-self through so called hard-core vipassana practice is everything that one needs to be Enlightened. And then there are “enlightened” lay teachers who commit various immoral deeds and people get disheartened with Dhamma. Lately for example famous lay pseudo-buddhist teacher Culadasa was exposed that he used money from donations to be in 10 relationships, with hookers included, without knowledge of his wife. People don’t realize that renunciation is one part of Buddha Dhamma and now they are surprised that their teacher betrayed “teaching of the Budda”. Btw. he was kicked out of his “sangha” which didn’t have a single monastic in it.
- Organisations of bunch of lay people calling themselves Sangha. Generally using sacred terms for mundane things…
- People are saying what Buddha said without ever reading a single sutta, and being very sure about their view because “they’ve read that in a book of famous buddhist author”, which content was of course against the Buddha teachings.
- Worse, authors of popular books on buddhism often write about ideas that are against buddhism, and they claim that it was words of the Buddha.
- Worse, people who never read a single sutta in their life, make agressive speech towards me, claiming that I live in a dream-world of wishful thinking that I pursuit Nibbana as a Buddhist, and that Nibbana is a fairy tale, and true “Buddhism” is about mindfulness, jhanas, nice insights etc. Everything but not renunciation and moral perfection
- People say to me that teaching about Nibbana and path of renunciation is “religious fanaticism” and it is inapropriate for a rational buddhist.
- People cite only those suttas which confirms their worldview and so they are “buddhist”, while ignoring hundred of suttas that go against their view, still claiming that its buddhism.
I know that we buddhists should be tolerant, always kind, always patient etc. and I try.
But I’m getting here on the edge a little. I’m concerned that more and more people misinterpret Buddhism to such extent, that I’m getting attacked as “deluded” by being actually faithful to the suttas and to my path of long meditation introspection and insight.
Btw. I really have nothing against people following different paths. All I wish here is that people would stop calling buddhism what is not buddhism. And to stop saying that Buddha said something that he didn’t. And stop teachings their theories as buddhism. And sell their books as “teachings of the Buddha” that goes against his teachings.
Why people cannot just call it something else? Why they must keep changing buddhism and making fame on it, why our religion/path cannot be respected as other religions as a whole?
People are constantly making a tool of buddhism, without being intelectually honest. They use word buddhism for their convinience, and when something in buddhism don’t suit their new theory/method, they say it was something this stupid buddhists got wrong…
How do you respond to such situations and this situation overall? I must say I’m trying to be patient and educational, but I wish to share my concern for some “connection” because here I feel very alone in this endevour and somewhat overwhlemed by numer of such encounters, both in literature/Internet as well as in human relationships.
How you react to such situations and how do you feel about this situation overall?