Search This Blog


If the Left Thinks Buddhism is Authoritarian, They Need to Think Again!

I have never understood how the New Left can mistake Buddhism as only a religion when it, like the Tao, is also a philosophy and a psychology. Their criticism of Buddhism appears to be almost the same as it is for Christianity

Here is how their logic works: Buddhism is a religion. All religions are authoritarian. Therefore, Buddhism is authoritarian.

Confounding this logic is another one involving both Christianity and Buddhism: Buddhism is a religion. Christianity is a religion. Therefore Buddhism is like Christianity.

It is this second logical premise which is a false one, because it is a broad generalization that is invalid.

If Buddhism was like Christianity or even Judaism, then all those Western Christian and Jewish converts should have searched for the esotoeric in Christianity and Judaism such as Gnosticism and early Hasidism.

However, the New Left is notorious for using invalid logical premises to justify its activism, especially the violence-prone Black Bloc and especially in light of the Left's willingness to let agents provacateurs of the State lead and train other activists in what is essentially criminal acts of vandalism.

Returning to Buddhism, I will state that some forms of Buddhism may be considered authoritarian. Theravada Buddhism is a good example of this in Sri Lanka since a needless civil war by the Hindu Tamils was started by the Sinhala-dominated government insisting on Theravada Buddhism being the State religion.

Elsewhere, Theravada Buddhism is so enshrined in Thailand that there is a law that says any disrespect for Buddhism is disrespect for the King of Thailand, and subjects anyone who publicly expresses disrespect to a jail term.

Given the state of the prison system in Thailand, a Buddhist zealot among the guards could easily make your life a living hell just for being vocal about your non-belief in Buddhism. For dissing the Buddha in Thailand is diss the King!!

Also, within the Theravada sangha, women are there to serve the priests. While they are able to become nuns, they are not allowed to become a part of the hierarchy. According to their sutras, women are excluded from becoming a Buddha unless they are reborn as men.

I challenge this sexist notion because women after menopause have been known to grow beards! Therefore post-menopausal nuns should be allowed to become venerable Buddhist priests too..

Returning to the Left and their generalization about Buddhism as authoritarian, my examples do not prove that Buddhism is inherently authoritarian. Instead, they prove that Theravada Buddhism is authoritarian and sexist in some cases.

It is invalid logic to apply this specific example of authoritarianism to all of Buddhism as a generalization because in America, there are Zen masters who are female.

However, I feel that because of lack of a comprehensive education about Buddhism, the New Left movement may have a few members mistake it for a form of authoritarianism.

As well, I call for any New Left activist to fully explore Buddhism before generalizing about what it is, in addition to Googling it on the Internet. For you cannot confront the truth about Buddhism merely by relying on incomplete sources of knowledge. Rather, all the many schools of Buddhism need to be studied throughly before assessing it as something it isn't.

For it is invalid logic to state that since Theravada Buddhism is sometimes authoritarian and sexist, that Mahayana Buddhism is likewise the same. For there are many flavors of Buddhism and I assure you that Mahayana has more different flavors.

No comments: