*Update ~ After a hiatus, I returned to the site and have been welcomed back with warmth and kindness. I realized that in many ways, the posters there were simply responding to my gangbusters approach. I learned that less ego and more humility works wonders... at least in this case, it did.
Every once in a while, I leave the safe boundaries of my journal and venture elsewhere to express myself. And although I gain beneficial insights and learn much during these outings, I return with my core intact. I remain true to myself—authentic.
Two months ago, I began interacting on a forum that is predominately comprised of western practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. I stumbled upon this community, as did others, after linking to it from an article published in The New York Times.
It was a strange experience. I was a stranger in a strange land—an outsider trespassing on sacred ground. I was never accepted into this community. Did I want to be? Yes, I suppose I did. But at the same time, I knew that I never would be—not as long as I spoke openly and honestly about my skeptic and atheist views. Should I have been surprised that I actually inspired hate in people who claim to hold compassion and kindness to be the most important virtues to behold? Probably not—but I am. Although there were three or four considerate members, the vast majority of the Buddhists behaved quite inhospitable—troll-like, intolerant, closed-minded, tribal, dogmatic, mean, and egocentric. It was odd—not at all what I expected to come across in a Buddhist community. You may think that they were just a bunch of poseurs. But I don’t think they believe they are. They think they are the real deal.
So what did I learn from this experience? I learned that you can take the deity out of Buddhism, but you still have all the problems of a religion. Make no mistake, Buddhism, as practiced today by most westerners, is not a philosophy, it is a religion. It is dogmatic, hierarchical, ritualistic, superstitious, tribalistic, and sexist. And Buddhism is no more hospitable with science than the Abrahamic religions. Though, for some reason, the adherents are obsessed with having others regard it as such. Buddhism will never be seen as a reasonable philosophy—conducive with scientific principles and a naturalistic worldview—until it ditches the supernatural beliefs. And Buddhists will never be authentic until they see that they too have egos—on full display—just like the rest of us.
Tonight I close the door behind me as I say goodbye to my reluctant foster Buddhist community. Because I now realize that it wasn't meant to be—it wasn't a good fit. It wasn't right for them, and it wasn't right for me.
You need to be logged in to comment