Some Buddhism criticism(from a former Buddhist), My practice and withdrawl story + criticism.
Some Buddhism criticism(from a former Buddhist), My practice and withdrawl story + criticism.
Nov 14, 2007, 01:01 PM
Group: Basic Member
Joined: Nov 11, 2007
Member No.: 14344
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nov 22, 2009, 01:13 AM
Group: Basic Member
Joined: Nov 21, 2009
Member No.: 32491
I am new to forums, and in fact i think this is my 1st post in any forum. I hope I could share with you what I have learn from practising Buddhism. I apologize and regretted that only until just now that I see your posts/know you have problems with Buddhism.
Yes, Buddhism has a lot of philosophies but if you think that being a Buddhist means only learning and/or just following and/or memorizing philosophies, then I think you have gone off Buddhism. If I am not mistaken, Buddha himself said that never believe anything you read or hear or ... and so forth.
With regards to empirical, you hit the jackpot =) you need to experience/'directly see it yourself' to get/know the truth =) That is why Buddhism encourages meditation. On some of your posts, you are right, you should feel depress initially while learning Buddhism. Yea again you hit the jackpot again on controlled experiments and data, in Buddhism, with many methods available (but you do not need to follow them if you do not wish), you are the experiment, the specimen, the scientist and everything needed for the experiment.
I agree with you that neuroscience or other medical studies or drugs and so forth may get you happy but I am certain that it is impermanent. That is, once the medicine and so forth wear out, you will be depress again, won't you? In Buddhism, we are suppose to discover/experience the true nature of things or some people put it as 'see things as they are' (mind you that it is not always easy to be done). Once we are able to do that, our fear, hatred or delusions or any other negative emotions will go off. Then, we will be able to confront the problem with ease.
Easy to say, hard to be done. Let me give you an example, let say you are having an headache or any other pain (not too severe of course, if not you should be in the hospital or so). (I assume you have some experience in meditation) just 'watch' or monitor what is happening to that part of your body. Initially you might be agitated or 'interfering thoughts' (to stop you from doing it) or so, just relax and go on watching (that is, you might notice 'pain, no pain, pain, no pain,...' or similar). Mind you, you might think 'how suffering this is' or similar stuff but this is only to show you how 'seeing the things as they are' helps you. After some time, you fear or aversion (or other negative feelings) towards the pain will go off. With a peace of mind, you will know what is appropriate to do to solve the problem. Say for the headache case, with a peace of mind, you could rest in peace without the headache disturbing you and/or continue to watch it and/or take medicine. Soon later, I believe your headache will be gone. What actually happens? you have cut through the delusion of 'the pain is really terrible or so' and see it as just pain - a feeling... some information...or so. By no means I am saying you should reduce anything to something else. This is where you mention Buddhism talk about beyond words.. I can't explain to you how you should understand the pain as it is but rather you have to experience it yourself, but first, deal with all the thoughts (this is where you complain that you got more depress, more on this later) and emotions as they interfere with your 'controlled experiment' (to see for yourself what pain really is). I am not saying that this is easy or you could 'see the pain as it is' and not affected by it, but at least less affected by it.
So what is the difference from you just taking the medicine (method1)? After all, both method works and maybe the medicine works must faster. Yes your right, medicine may work much faster. But once you get the headache again in future, you will still suffer from the headache (at least until the time you take the medicine) if you just deal with the headache with method 1. On the other hand, if you are 'good at see the things as they are' (many Buddhism methods available), you know the 'real nature of the pain'. Thus, the pain will just be the 'feeling... some information...' and it would not be any 'real problem to you'. Just like once you are young (I suppose) you are afraid of going in to dark rooms, and once you realise that dark rooms are 'just no light' and everything in the room are just the same as they are in light (I know this explanation is dumb but I don't know how to explain and hope you get it). Going back to the pain, by no means I am saying do not take medicine or take any appropriate steps but just see the real nature of things.
Most of the time, mind tend to 'play tricks', by exaggerating how the things are, such as how pain really is. Moreover, what we learn last time such as 'pain are really bad', which I wouldn't say is wrong, but having it pestering you while having headache and getting you feeling so depress and so on, is suffering. Many times, the problem is not the main thing that cause us to suffer. Rather, its our deluded mind, which does not apprehend the things as they are, that tortures us.
From personal experience, all problems that I encountered have either be solved by just 'seeing the real nature of things' or I will know what appropriate things to do, without any negative emotions or negative thoughts. Compared to last time, before I learn/understand Buddhism, it is a new life to me. But I must say that I did gone through a short period (few days or so) of being depress when understanding the 'real nature of things'. Note that this is not the problem of Buddhism but it is just how the things in nature are.
Repeated many times before, 'seeing the true nature of things' is really one of the most important things in Buddhism. Once you 'see the things as it is' and gained wisdom, you can then create your own philosophies =) I hope this post help. By no means, I am trying to get you into Buddhism or trying to convince you that I am right in any way or hoping you to thank me. I am doing this solely because you seem to be having problems =) And again let me remind you that do not just listen to anything I typed here =) I apologise if I have offended or hurt anyone and may all beings find happiness and stay happy ^^
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