The Christian monastic tradition, as manifest through Western Christianity, has generally combined a stringent discipline with voluntary poverty and celibacy. The idealised image of the Buddhist monk, as it has entered the Western psyche, is one of a man who has abandoned what is here (real material life), for what is over there (imagined religious realms). Of course, as what is over there, by definition, is never here and now, its presence can never be empirically confirmed. The Buddhist rules followed by monastics and the laity take the place of Christian piety in the West, but are adhered to by most Westerners with a similar fanatic attitude that completely misses the point the rule is assumed to be designed to achieve. The physical practice of Buddhist meditation is of course the act of Christian prayer wrapped in saffron robes. Western converts meditate as if they are praying to a divine being, but with the added titillation that the divine being in question is their own imagined self-essence – or god removed from his heaven and relocated into their own head. Chanting mantras – the holy syllables of the East – replaces the singing of hymns and the chanting of monks, and sutra reading is bible study by other means. Just as god in heaven can never be logically verified, enlightenment in the head can not be seen in the environment or known to exist.
Tolkien, himself a fantasy writer famous for his Lord of the Rings, stated that Christianity was of course a myth, like all other religions in the world, with the only difference being that Christianity was real. This type of nonsense underlies the bourgeois educational establishment, and serves to demonstrate the danger of thought regression from the progressive state back into the reactionary.
The above article entitled ‘Buddhists Behaving Badly’ appeared on page 3 of the Tuesday edition dated the 18.6.13. Astonishingly, this story takes up around three quarters of a page. It is not an original, or even a new story, but rather a report lifted from Youtube. The story evolves around apparently high-ranking Thai Buddhist monks flying in private jets, and wearing designer sunglasses. It may or may not be a troubling story for Buddhists, but the Metro reporter responsible for the story – Nicole Le Marie – demonstrates no knowledge of either Buddhist or Thai culture.
‘In the early months of 1943 (when Xu Yun was in his 104th year), he had a conversation with the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) regarding the Buddhist teachings (Dharma), the philosophical principles of materialism and idealism, and the theology of Christianity. Thirteen years earlier, Chiang Kai-shek had converted to (Methodist) Christianity in 1929, and since that time had believed that China’s future could be moulded and directed from principles contained within the Bible itself, and this belief influenced policies such as the ‘Three Principles of the People’ and the ‘New Life Movement.’ ‘
‘From the assessment of (the Pali) and Sanskrit terms ‘sraddha’, ‘prasada’, and ‘adhimukti’, as used within Buddhist philosophy, (both early and late), together with a cross-referencing of the translation terms used to render these notions into written Chinese, it is clear that these terms can not be interpreted through the lens of a Christian concept of ‘faith’. Buddhist philosophy is an example of the product of pristine ‘logical’ thought that is dependent upon personal experience and spiritual experimentation. The Buddha’s system is simple in essence – over-come greed, hatred and delusion, and suffering will stop – but extraordinarily extensive in presentation. Each expressed idea and concept fits neatly into every other idea and concept. It is precise, exact and constant in its original form, and a simple idea, (the product of a profound enlightenment), requires literally hundreds of sutras to express its totality. Whereas St Augustinedescribes Christian faith as coming before knowledge, the Buddha’s message is exactly the opposite – it is the presence of exact and profound knowledge – that generates a confidence and a therefore a ‘qualified’ belief in it. Although it is true that ‘faith’ In a deity is a Hindu belief, and that the Buddhist terms are also used within Hinduism, nevertheless, the Buddhist usage is of a specific type that alters considerably, the original Hindu meanings, which are dependent upon a belief in a deity, (or divine concept) for salvation.’