Sunday, January 24, 2010


I spent 10+ years of my life as a Buddhist. I meditated every day and read dharma books. But one quote increasingly stuck out in my mind, especially after 9-11 and my reading of the book "What's So Great About America?" by Dinesh D'Souza:

“I always tell my Western friends that it is best to keep your own tradition. Changing religion is not easy and sometimes causes confusion. You must value your tradition and honor your own religion.” -The Dalai Lama

No matter how much I thought I was fighting the tendency, I was always hooked on the "good buzz" I got, and was constantly maneuvering to defend it. I was always focused inward, even as I told myself I cared for others and wanted to be engaged with them. Basically, I was a smiling, peaceful, self-centered prick. You know, like most on the left.

It appeared to me that maybe the Dalai Lama was right. Maybe the cultures in which Buddhism is embedded FITS those cultures and those pitfalls are better avoided. Maybe I should stick to the religion of MY culture, the one I was raised in, and lo and behold....I started turning outward, truly LIKING people and becoming more concerned for how they felt than for myself (disclaimer: I'm still a self-centered prick much of the time...but I'm workin' on it and more importantly, being worked on by Jesus, k? lol). The Bible took on new meaning, old verses I had heard a thousand times suddenly made a deeper sense than I had ever known. I became a happier person.

Still, that's not to say that there are not Buddhist Americans who are fine, fine people.

One writes in American Thinker:
One day I perused a book by the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa. I was immediately hooked. The next month, I attended a daylong meditation workshop for women. A year later, I was meditating silently at week-long retreats, an amazing feat for someone who was born to chat.

Now that I think about it, I started becoming a conservative the moment I picked up that book by Trungpa. The Buddha's teachings are deeply conservative.

Once enlightened, the Buddha devoted his life to illuminating the path to liberation. His teaching: We create suffering through our desires and our focus on self.

One of the Buddha's more provocative statements: "Enlightenment is the death of hope." Being awake means accepting reality, not living in delusion.

The Buddha wasn't an ACORN, get-in-your-face type of a guy. He admonished people to face their demons. The Buddha declared, "You cannot save another; you can save only yourself."

The Buddha was indeed a revolutionary, but his was an inner revolution. If he appeared on the scene today, he'd be spurned as a relic.

This is because virtue and self-discipline are anachronisms, to be ridiculed and discarded with yesterday's trash. Faith is unpopular because it requires that we do the unthinkable: be answerable to forces other than ourselves.

The Buddha taught that humans cannot escape the vicissitudes of a human life. But liberals try to shield themselves, like the Buddha's father did. They concoct an elaborate charade to obscure reality.

The Left finds endless excuses for bad behavior: "He was a poor minority." "She was a victim of homophobia." But in the end, no one is let off the hook. Every one of us, weak or powerful, rich or poor, will be held accountable for our actions.
But what do we have in the huge pop-Buddhist movement in America?

Today's teachers communicate a don't-worry-be-happy kind of a vibe. Curiously missing is the number-one principle of Buddhism: that life is suffering.

In Berkeley, for instance, the latest craze is a Joy class, taught by a popular Buddhist teacher. Thousands have already attended the course, where Joy Buddies are assigned to make sure you're on the happy trail.

The Buddhist magazine Shambhala Sun likes to mix leftist ideology with ads for pricey yoga retreats. Right before the election, the Sun published an article entitled "The Meaning of Barack Obama," which declared that if you didn't vote for Obama, then you were in essence an unenlightened boob.

In the magazine's next issue, liberal icon Alice Walker blamed the U.S. for all the bad karma in the world. Left out of the equation were countries like Uganda, Sudan, Cambodia, China, and Cuba, which have some serious explaining to do in the karma department.
Its no different than smoking pot and brings about just as much divorce from reality. It's about the buzz, stroking one's self and clinging to illusion. Whenever i run into one of the hoards in my neighborhood walking around with their yoga mat clearly displayed on their backpacks for all to see or wearing their cute Buddha t-shirts (when their Che or Mao shirts are in the wash), I know to avoid them. They'll be smiling and feeling a "wicked good enlightenment buzz, dude" while people are being herded into re-education camps someday.

One final quote along those lines:

"If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun." - The Dalai Lama

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