Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

A Response to Negativity Towards Buddhism

It was claimed on the Anthropik.com site, on today’s blog post, that Buddhism is misanthropic and that it denigrates the human condition.

This is part of my response:

As to Buddhism...I say, without ranchor, that you have a rather Western stereotyped view of Buddhism. I invite you to meet a Tibetan Lama or a Thai abbot. You will find them joyous, postive, and happy people. Why? Because they are free. I don't know where you're attitude towards Buddhism comes from but it isn't an uncommon dismissal. Perhaps it is your Christian upbringing, perhaps it is just what you've been exposed to, I couldn't say. Unlike other faiths, Buddhism doesn't expect someone to come save you. There is no God or Messiah that will do things for you. There is no rescue party on the way. It is up to each of us to save ourselves and then to save each other. Buddhism doesn't teach the being human is "an awful and miserable state." It teaches that nothing is permanent, period. Your pain? It's not permanent. Your happiness? It's not permanent either. Your family? Nope. Your life? Not at all. But, regardless of that, you desire that everything should be permanent. You don't want things to end because you want the good things to last. Except, of course, they don't and it leaves the taste of ashes in your mouth. This is the suffering that we all experience if we live very long at all. Heck, even your very "self" isn't permanent and is not, when you really look, even there. It's like smoke and it cannot be grabbed or even seen if you look closely enough. The Buddha's answer to this was that there was a way to learn to not grasp after things, to not be pulled in by the con game. It is also a revelation that the lack of inherent existence (because nothing lasts and nothing has ever lasted) is actually liberating if you learn how to deal with it. Maybe you find this misanthropic but I could say your view of civilization is misanthropic but you would counter that, no, it is just reality and the way it is. Well, this is just the reality of human existence. It isn't misanthropic. It just is (and is not in the end).