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Buddhism as Non-Religion (satire)

Buddhist practice centres around meditation, and as such, is not concerned with good and evil, apart from following simple precepts which have service to others as their inspiration.

This is in stark contrast from the fanatical forms of other religions, which sometimes claim to be on the side of the ages-old religious battle between good and evil. Whether this person roots for good while that person roots for evil, good and evil is but a form of dualism. At the root of this dualism is the Western logic of "one is either good or evil; anything less than this is evil", which condemns people who see life not as either good or evil but in terms of shades of grey as being wishy-washy or, much worse, considers them to be evil.

With neo-Pagans being at odds with Christians, in popular culture they have been demonized in Hollywood, and supposedly has influenced the rise of satanic cults and counterculture fashion trends such as Goth.

However, neo-Paganism is not Satanism, nor are the deaths and ritual sacrifices done in Satan's name truly Satanic, being committed by people who may have been drug users rendered psychotic through such use.

Nor has paganism influenced Goth fashions. Rather, the reality of high school has left a few teenagers with a healthy dose of rebellion. Besides, wearing black is a powerful antidepressant.

In contrast, American Satanism, is at heart a disguised cult of ego which incorporates parts of Ayn Rand's philosophy regarding the ego combined with mantras using a dead language for theatric effect.

Thus, Satanism is not about ritual sacrifice, despite what the Catholics claim in their anti-Satanic propaganda, much of which makes up the themes of many movies (The Exorcist and its copycats).

In contrast, Neo-Pagans tend to be anti-Christian yet their practice is still within the Christian domain in that few few see the need to study deeply Buddhism of any form.

Because Buddhism teaches that good and evil are relative, and that Asian culture as a rule tends to follow a form of ethics dependent on the situation one finds oneself in (situational ethics), much of it is anathema to a strict following of the Wiccan rule to "do what you will as long as it harms none".

Buddhism itself does not teach this: instead, it explains how the mind works, and gives the one tool to control it: meditation. More than a way of perfecting oneself, the Buddhist precepts serve as a guide to help settle mental unrest. Indeed, Buddhism encourages each of us to be of service to others. While it does expect its adherents to battle evil and side with good, Buddhism does so subtly. Additionally, there is no millennialism in Buddhism.

So at its root, Buddhism provides a mind tool (meditation) used to control one's mind through non-coercive means. No one is forced to meditate, yet its use is generally encouraged only when the novice Buddhist is ready.

Yet meditation itself is useful to all religions because the more one practices meditation, the more one realizes Buddhism to be a non-religion.

When religious people of all faiths reflect on their favorite book in their holy books, and then are inspired to become caring and loving people by treating other people with compassion, I feel that they have meditated on loving-kindness.

It may be called another name, but meditation is the precious gift that helps to transform people lost in their own worlds into caring and compassionate people.

Originally posted: June 21, 2010 03:02 PM

Grey in popular culture:
The Greyness of Living:

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