Today, the socio-economic forces of the West have produced the conditions for the human mind to move beyond the conditioning of a theology that reflects medieval (and earlier) conditions, and which have led to the development of secular logic and presumed superior standards of moral behaviour. The problem with this development is that it is not ‘free’ of the Judeo-Christian tradition that has served as its historical basis.
Daoxin stared at this young Dharma-vessel. Later the boy became his student and eventually inherited the Dharma and became the Fifth Ch’an Patriarch – Hongren. Hongren would eventually choose an illiterate man for his successor, who would become the Sixth Patriarch of Ch’an – Hiuneng. This is a significant statement to humanity, because Hongren had many students who were affluent and well educated.
There are a number of Buddhist monks from Myanmar and Thailand, who are advising the lay people in their communities to attack and kill their fellow citizens who happen to be Muslim. A recent BBC Radio Four documentary investigating this phenomenon found that it was a minority of high ranking Buddhist masters (in Myanmar) who were responsible for this behaviour, and that the majority of masters did not agree, or had no opinion. This demonstrates that theses rogue masters are behaving in an unBuddhist manner and not only creating hellish karma for themselves, but also causing hellish karma for all those who unthinkingly follow their delusion without question.
Many Ch’an masters, such as Ben Huan and Fo Yuan, talk of the inherent dangers for the mind whilst in the sleeping state. This is because all kinds of hellish states can be accessed when the body is dormant, but the mind remains active.
These events have occurred in predominantly Theravada Buddhist countries, and have led to an intellectual climate which feels comfortable enough to routinely express sentiments of Islamophobia – an expression that legitimises itself by masquerading as a manifestation of Buddhist wisdom, when in reality it is nothing more than the product of greed, hatred, and delusion.
‘To understand this developmental process, an assessment of ‘emptiness’ (sunyata) must be undertaken. It is clear that in early Buddhism emptiness refers to the lack of the presence of greed, hatred and delusion, as well the abandonment of the notion of a permanent self. It is an emptiness that marks the absence of delusion. Delusion is no longer present in the mind or perceived in the environment (in relation to the mind). The mind does not create the conditions that lead to the desire of external entities or attachment to those entities. It is true that no further karma is produced but that the karma relating to the world and the physical body continues until it is fully burnt off (at the point of death), and there is no more re-birth. The nirvanic state has present within it certain powers of the mind, and perfected knowledge. This concept of nirvana exists as an escape from the physical world of samsara. It is viewed very much as an antidote to the suffering experienced within ordinary life.’