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> Some Buddhism criticism(from a former Buddhist), My practice and withdrawl story + criticism.
post Nov 14, 2007, 01:01 PM
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Hi guys! I quit Christianity in hopes that i would rid myself of mind disease forever to only eventually be lured into Buddhism(another mind disease). I guess i could not live without meaning and a new set of beliefs which is i think quite natural to humans(human, all too human!). What attracted me at first was their anti-god and anti-Christianity attitude that prevailed throughout the followers that seemed to nurture my own hate towards those concepts.

Back then i was still a little brainwashed into thinking that there must be a true religion of some kind of divine origin, an ultimate truth. Basically i was still naively led by my desire of order. I feared chaos that would result in a world where everything is permitable and there is nothing that punishes that bad deeds or rewards the good. My mother being very "spiritual" conditioned me to desire to stay within the label "spiritual". I figured maybe Christianity was wrong but some other religions were not. I sleeked meaning and order so hard that eventually i was lured into the beautiful myth of Buddha who was enlightened and shared that objective truth of reality with us. I was promised happiness, rewards in new life and this one. I was promised answers that i could find myself.

I learned the four noble truths, i learned of many traditions and being quite philosophically inclined i found myself spending quite a lot of time trying to understand all the teachings. I learned to meditate. Back then i had many questions but i had faith that the Suttas and the Meditation will give me answers. A year passed and then another. There were only more questions and more contradictions but i still had faith. The hierarchy was supposed to have all the answers and it took me a long time to realize they didn't.

While studying Buddhism and practicing i found myself become more passive, less human, sometimes depressed and even contemplated on suicide(purely logically and mostly driven by the first noble truth - life is suffering). I was conditioned more and more to have aversion towards life and that only practice will save me - not even death can liberate. Right now i see many traditions of Buddhism as a direct road to suicide if only one element is removed - rebirth. The fear of rebirth is the only thing that keeps many Buddhist from suicide. I even know a few friends whose relatives suicided dew to Buddhism. The interesting fact is that whilst i was semi-depressed and passive i knew that i was supposed to be "happy" as seen on pictures of Buddhists masters. They always market Buddhism as the road to happiness. So i lived the illusion of happiness. I denied any feeling of unhappiness and pretended i was. Sometimes when i got way too depressed i just thought that it was due to my lack of practice and that only Buddhism would make me happy.

Any criticism of Buddhism i just rejected with some arbitrary and obscure quote that deep inside i knew was not really understood by anyone. They all claimed truth was "beyond words" and i believed them. Every time the quote did not make sense i thought that the truth was beyond so i just blindly accepted them. After a while i intellectually understood all the concepts like no-self and co-dependent origination and the four noble truth and the rest of it. But what hit me much later is that those concepts were not that "deep" or helpful. They were just some concepts by some philosophers that may or may not be helpful but i took them as some kind of divine truth. I reached some progress in meditation but i soon admitted that in fact i hated that state- it was a state of a veritable where life looses all color.

I pretended as if Buddhism was some kind of secret to life and happiness, some kind of sacred knowledge that only a few had karma to understand. I even got some Buddhist friends that i went to Buddhist class with and i found them acting happy even tho they weren't but i denied what i was seeing.

My cure was started with a book - an autobiography of one of masters where he explains that he is just a regular human and other make him to be all that. I started doubting the whole hierarchy. Another trigger to make me question was my best friend who couldn't take it anymore seeing what Buddhism was doing to me and just openly criticized me intensely. At first i got angry but now i thank him from all heart.

Soon another college semester started and luckily i was taking Psychology, Philosophy and Anthropology. I was faced with concepts like relativism, neurology, materialism, epistemology and i was learning to be more skeptical and "outside of box" type thinking.

My interest in Psychology and Philosophy grew and i found myself to be quite intelligent and talented in it. I still have hard to believing that back then i was a Buddhist - how the hell did i fall into that trap? I consider myself intelligent but i guess it has little to do with that. It is just a play on our desires of order and meaning. We fear chaos, uncertainty and permanent death.

The next and final step was Nietzsche, Sarte and other Existential philosophers that knew perfectly well how i felt and showed me another way to cure it - through freedom, choice and responsibility. Through individuality and facing of truth, through accepting rather then running away. Through giving life my own meaning and my own goals. Through new ideals.

Well that basically more or less brings us to where i am right now. And it is time for some criticism. I don't want to go into details but i will just list some things i find terribly wrong.

Anti-reason movement.
Belief in magical karma.
Aversion towards life.
Belief in Enlightenment.
Mindfulness as promised to cure all problems while generally only creating more strain on the mind.
Meditation being promised a cure for many psychological problems which it never solves or does only temporary.
Belief that life IS suffering.
Belief that desire is bad causing people to get depressed(no desire = depression easily)
Non-dual teachings that make people passive, indifferent and easily fallen under suppression of government(although always denied and instead marketed as being a source of compassion, truth and wisdom).
Master-student relationship where student follows everything blindly.
Belief that all bad things are caused by Karma and that one should not be cured but left to suffer to "purify" oneself.
Selfish escapism.
Impossible ideals that only cause inner tension as they go against our nature and cause us to suppress the shadow to amazing extent.
False hope given to people.
Self righteousnesses.
Masked utilitarianism.
Constant chase of happiness resulting in paradox because when you chase happiness it causes sadness. Happiness only happens as byproduct but never as the goal.
Thinking of this reality as almost hell(what Nietzsche would criticize as other worldly religion)

Everything Buddhism promised had only resulted in the opposite effect.

If anyone had similar experiences - please share. Any comments are welcome except if you are gonna tell me that "i just got Buddhism wrong and misunderstood". I was one of these people telling others this kind of comments and believe me no- i got it right. I studied Buddhism long and hard and gave it plenty of chance. I was always leading philosopher in all my Buddhist classes.

Today i am very glad to be free of it. I am much more happier, realistic and enthusiastic about life. I am a Psychology/Philosophy major and perhaps psychology had became my religion but hey at least it is practical.

Thank you for reading, please comment.

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post Nov 03, 2009, 01:44 PM
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None of this is Zhenka's fault... (Zhenka, if you're still around, please forgive me for writing about you in the 3rd person). However, many of his (?) problems seem to have arisen from his attitude towards Buddhism. Many of them also arose from plain, simple (and tragic) misunderstandings of it. None of these are problems with Buddhism per se -- they could happen with any religion, or even with a nonreligious philosophy, if you go overboard on it.

To consider a philosophy circumspectly and carefully, to test it rigorously against your experience, and then (if it works for you) to integrate it in your life -- that is a tenable, useful process, and one that even an 'antireligious' person could approve of, at least in principle. But, from what I have read, it's not what happened here.

In the beginning, it seems that Zhenka thought that this or that religion of philosophy contained the ultimate ("objective") truth and would make him happy -- even though, ironically, Buddhism warns explicitly on that very point (e.g. the Tibetan saying: "seeking happiness outside yourself is like waiting for the sun in a cave facing north", or warning against become attached to the dharma). In the middle, he declined to engage his critical faculties in questioning what he witnessed in his friends and in the teachings (again, ironically, despite the Buddha's explicit encouragement of rigorous, critical questioning. Lots of people, like those friends he describes, are on unrealistic Buddhist 'trips' and sooner or later they, like all trippers, will inevitably find their trip coming up against reality, whereupon they will come down to earth, with a rather painful bump.)

In the end Zhenka became jaded -- and, at that stage, it's healthy that he did. But had his original approach been more realistic, and had he been more willing to engage critically with his experiences and the teachings, things could have been different.

Could have been. On the other hand, Buddhism is definitely not for everyone. When the Dalai Lama was asked "what is the best religion?" he didn't say Buddhism, he said "your religion". Christianity works wonders for some, Buddhism for others, atheistic humanism for others, etc. It may well be that Buddhism and Zhenka (like Nietzsche and Mother Teresa, or jackhammers and sewer pipes) simply don't go together very well, even though they're all pretty cool in their proper context.

My intention here is to make it clear that the 'problem' in this case is not with Buddhism as a religion or a philosophy. But I also want to express, not as a Buddhist but as a human, that I am sorry, in a heartfelt way, that Zhenka had a rough time. It can be a very confusing, harsh world sometimes. I'm sorry about any and all of the rough times that he and anyone has had with anything. This in particular seems like a very sad series of events. I hope that Zhenka will discover the peace and happiness that is beyond all labels, religions and philosophies.
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zhenka11230   Some Buddhism criticism(from a former Buddhist)   Nov 14, 2007, 01:01 PM
Rick   A very interesting story. I never got sucked into ...   Nov 14, 2007, 02:46 PM
code buttons   Welcome Z-130! How did you find us? Just curio...   Nov 14, 2007, 07:08 PM
zhenka11230   Welcome Z-130! How did you find us? Just curi...   Nov 14, 2007, 08:09 PM
Lindsay   ... I was supposed to be a Protestant (born into ...   Aug 09, 2009, 04:16 PM
zhenka11230   Oh and the way i found this forum was probably fro...   Nov 14, 2007, 08:12 PM
Orbz   And another questions, What drugs are actually sa...   Nov 14, 2007, 10:01 PM
code buttons   And another questions, What drugs are actually sa...   Nov 15, 2007, 08:41 AM
trojan_libido   Sorry to hear about your problems zhenka. I sympa...   Nov 15, 2007, 05:00 AM
zhenka11230   Sorry to hear about your problems zhenka. I symp...   Nov 15, 2007, 08:25 AM
code buttons   [quote name='trojan_libido' post='85403' date='No...   Nov 15, 2007, 09:02 AM
maximus242   In general I just avoid religions due to the dogma...   Nov 15, 2007, 05:40 AM
trojan_libido   I've never been into organised religion, despi...   Nov 15, 2007, 06:04 AM
zhenka11230   Also i might add that what most people do with Bud...   Nov 15, 2007, 08:36 AM
Rick   Thank you CB. Regarding zhenka11230's inquiry:...   Nov 15, 2007, 03:17 PM
trojan_libido   I apologise zhenka, its just easy to take your own...   Nov 16, 2007, 12:23 AM
Flex   Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama su...   Nov 16, 2007, 11:28 AM
code buttons   Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama s...   Nov 16, 2007, 11:43 AM
Flex   Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama ...   Nov 16, 2007, 02:12 PM
zhenka11230   Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama s...   Nov 16, 2007, 09:10 PM
Rinzai Dharma   Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama ...   Nov 17, 2007, 02:49 AM
zhenka11230   [quote name='zhenka11230' post='85477' date='Nov ...   Nov 17, 2007, 11:29 PM
Rinzai Dharma   [quote name='zhenka11230' post='85477' date='Nov...   Nov 19, 2007, 11:33 PM
zhenka11230   Zen was my focus as was meditation. The higher te...   Nov 20, 2007, 11:44 AM
code buttons   Zen was my focus as was meditation. The higher t...   Nov 20, 2007, 12:53 PM
zhenka11230   [quote name='zhenka11230' post='85572' date='Nov ...   Nov 20, 2007, 02:08 PM
code buttons   Your comments are very nourishing to my Ego : ) T...   Nov 20, 2007, 03:48 PM
Rinzai Dharma   Your comments are very nourishing to my Ego : ) ...   Dec 05, 2007, 05:39 AM
zhenka11230   [quote name='code buttons' post='85590' date='Nov...   Dec 05, 2007, 08:19 AM
Rinzai Dharma   [quote name='code buttons' post='85590' date='No...   Dec 05, 2007, 09:10 PM
project-2501   [quote name='Rinzai Dharma' post='85484' date='No...   Dec 20, 2007, 04:07 PM
Flex   This is why I like Daoism... The Tao Te Ching is v...   Nov 17, 2007, 11:42 PM
trojan_libido   There are good points is religion, the bits that s...   Nov 19, 2007, 12:53 AM
Joesus   The statement in itself is relating to the idea t...   Dec 05, 2007, 09:37 AM
Nirvana   Anti-reason movement. => Mahayana idea, not wha...   Nov 19, 2011, 10:52 PM
Rick   There actually are many things that, even in princ...   Dec 05, 2007, 12:12 PM
zhenka11230   I am well aware that not everything can be describ...   Dec 05, 2007, 09:55 PM
Joesus   Actually it does exist and people believe it doe...   Dec 06, 2007, 12:00 AM
Rinzai Dharma   Actually it does exist and people believe it do...   Dec 13, 2007, 03:50 AM
atha   When Bodhidharma became enlightened, for seven day...   Dec 13, 2007, 06:58 AM
Rick   When Bodhidharma became enlightened, for seven da...   Dec 13, 2007, 04:51 PM
Orbz   When Bodhidharma became enlightened, for seven d...   Dec 13, 2007, 05:08 PM
zhenka11230   Buddha is a F**KING myth, stop using a myth to pro...   Dec 13, 2007, 07:52 AM
trojan_libido   Please zhenka, theres no need to get that aggressi...   Dec 13, 2007, 08:44 AM
Joesus   No its saying it exists without the need to back...   Dec 13, 2007, 09:28 AM
zhenka11230   Given the amount of text actually does the opposit...   Dec 13, 2007, 10:29 AM
code buttons   Given the amount of text actually does the opposi...   Dec 13, 2007, 11:48 AM
Deshan   Siddharta Gautama is a historical figure. The codi...   Dec 18, 2007, 01:58 AM
Joesus   It would appear that way from an unenlightened s...   Dec 13, 2007, 08:16 PM
atha   Relax deeply inside yourself -- into the eye of th...   Dec 14, 2007, 06:38 AM
atha   For Rick... "Chess is the game of the Gods. ...   Dec 14, 2007, 06:58 AM
Rick   For Rick... Thank you, atha. I read the Scientifi...   Dec 18, 2007, 01:15 PM
zhenka11230   Quotes quotes quotes... Where are the arguments fr...   Dec 14, 2007, 03:46 PM
Joesus   I believe the quotes refer to a greater truth in r...   Dec 14, 2007, 11:17 PM
atha   Zhenka, When you will understand the meaning of Ka...   Dec 15, 2007, 09:39 AM
zhenka11230   I am not complaining i am just criticizing you.   Dec 15, 2007, 10:21 PM
atha   "The divine souls come forth upon the earth t...   Dec 16, 2007, 05:09 AM
atha   Rick, are You familiar with The Urusov Gambit ? B...   Dec 18, 2007, 07:02 PM
Rick   Rick, are You familiar with The Urusov Gambit ? ...   Dec 20, 2007, 09:46 AM
Cassox   So you studied under what type of Buddhism? SGI ri...   Dec 20, 2007, 02:46 PM
zhenka11230   Well i am specifically fighting the Buddhist notio...   Dec 20, 2007, 04:37 PM
Cassox   Well i am specifically fighting the Buddhist noti...   Dec 20, 2007, 04:48 PM
zhenka11230   Well i am specifically fighting the Buddhist not...   Dec 20, 2007, 04:54 PM
Cassox   lol. What I'm trying to say is that while you...   Dec 20, 2007, 05:07 PM
zhenka11230   lol. What I'm trying to say is that while yo...   Dec 20, 2007, 05:09 PM
tony   Hi All, I don't know if you guys still watchi...   Apr 17, 2008, 10:38 PM
aniccha   Hi Zhenka, besides Zen meditation, have you tried ...   Jan 05, 2009, 05:55 PM
Phi   Teach me...   Jan 06, 2009, 01:22 AM
trojan_libido   I'd like to know more about the Buddhism you p...   Jan 07, 2009, 12:04 AM
Phi   I'm glad you asked! We'll meet up som...   Jan 07, 2009, 06:28 PM
trojan_libido   I actually want to go to Vegas to do some poker pl...   Jan 08, 2009, 12:05 AM
Phi   I actually want to go to Vegas to do some poker p...   Jan 08, 2009, 04:41 AM
trojan_libido   Haha, I meant I want to make the trip over to the ...   Jan 08, 2009, 07:45 AM
Phi   I'm far but it takes 10 minutes for me to get ...   Jan 08, 2009, 06:02 PM
trojan_libido   Feeling dirty is a state of mind, maybe bathing in...   Jan 09, 2009, 12:28 AM
Phi   leaving las vegas because im free from the injusti...   Jan 09, 2009, 04:47 AM
code buttons   leaving las vegas because im free from the injust...   Jan 09, 2009, 05:37 AM
jhonny   Zhenka, I think you are ready to start to practice...   Aug 08, 2009, 01:36 PM
Rick   What's it good for?   Aug 10, 2009, 01:01 PM
Joesus   It was good for me....   Aug 10, 2009, 02:21 PM
Rick   Good feelings can be useful or deceptive.   Aug 10, 2009, 03:58 PM
Lindsay   Good feelings can be useful or deceptive. IMO, s...   Aug 11, 2009, 11:42 AM
Joesus   That's true. It's been gooder sometimes th...   Aug 10, 2009, 05:18 PM
Rick   Janice Joplin sang: Feeling good was easy, Lord, ...   Aug 11, 2009, 03:06 PM
Joesus   And now she's dead. Guess that was good enough...   Aug 11, 2009, 10:43 PM
Rick   Everyone dies. So it's good enough for everyon...   Aug 12, 2009, 09:00 AM
Joesus   Everyone dies. So it's good enough for everyo...   Aug 12, 2009, 09:36 AM
GodConsciousness   I have taught classes in eastern philosophy and ab...   Aug 13, 2009, 04:51 AM
Rick   ... is Ayn Rand's philosophy perhaps more appr...   Aug 13, 2009, 10:05 AM
Joesus   Both Jesus and Buddha taught the same. Jesus spent...   Aug 13, 2009, 08:58 AM
msmother   Hi guys! I quit Christianity in hopes that i...   Nov 03, 2009, 03:50 AM
Lao_Tzu   None of this is Zhenka's fault... (Zhenka, if ...   Nov 03, 2009, 01:44 PM
zhenka11230   Since my last post i had changed a lot, but most i...   Nov 03, 2009, 05:41 PM
code buttons   Since my last post i had changed a lot, but most ...   Nov 03, 2009, 06:56 PM
zhenka11230   I am not sure reductionism is a useful term. Yeah...   Nov 04, 2009, 02:23 PM
Buddhist=)   Hi zhenka11230, I am new to forums, and in fact i...   Nov 22, 2009, 01:13 AM
ADGujral   I am extremely irritated by the Buddhist practice....   Jan 30, 2012, 03:20 AM
WHAT IS WHAT   Hi all, I just want to share this, which I think ...   Feb 15, 2012, 08:10 PM
code buttons   Hi all, I just want to share this, which I think...   Feb 17, 2012, 06:30 PM
Mystic1   [quote name='WHAT IS WHAT' post='118315' date='Fe...   Jun 21, 2012, 01:35 PM
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