It is an astonishing situation to see the majority of Indian voters elect an openly racist and hate-filled party that espouses intolerance, separation, and discrimination as normal modes of political, cultural, and social interaction. Particularly when viewed in the light of the fact that India as a country suffered under decades of British imperialist rule that saw the most vicious application of racism and ignorance in the name of commerce and the gathering of profit.
It is an astonishing situation to see the majority of Indian voters elect an openly racist and hate-filled party that espouses intolerance, separation, and discrimination as normal modes of political, cultural, and social interaction. Particularly when viewed in the light of the fact that India as a country suffered under decades of British imperialist rule that saw the most vicious application of racism and ignorance in the name of commerce and the gathering of profit. Parties like the BJP, are of course following the imaginations of a man-made theology attributed to a god, or set of gods, but which is in reality the creation of the minds of men. The BJP is a Hindu movement that draws its inherent racism from the perpetuation of the Brahmanic caste system – which was banned in theory at Independence, but which in reality is as strong today as it has ever been. Non-Hindus are seen as inferior species of life, and it is this attitude that the BJP brings to the governance of India.
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.
‘The nature of post-modern freedom, although equally applicable to all, does not necessarily mean that it is immediately perceivable to all those who exist within its condition. Its condition is the product, generally speaking, of advanced economic development, although on occasion such philosophies as Buddhism have been interpreted as being of a ‘post-modern’ nature. Obviously ancient India was not in the advanced economic state that western Europe is in today, but the Buddha’s philosophy marks a stark break with the traditions of his time, and represents a clear manifestation of one particular aspect of the post-modern condition, namely that of dismissing the long narratives of history that had previously dominated Indian philosophical and spiritual thought. West Europe, the United States of America and to a lesser extent the emerging central and eastern European states, are the product of hundred of years of economic development that has created nothing less than a revolution in the material structure of outward society that has seen the remarkable establishment of science and medicine over that of the theology of monotheistic religion. This state of industrialisation and technological development, regardless of its inherent inequalities has nevertheless created an extensive collective wealth that has raised the level of physical and psychological existence.’
‘Of course, the act of physically changing one’s environment for another inevitably has the consequence of a change of mind itself. For many ordinary beings this change of mind through experience is simply the process of the cognising of new sense-data – to be stored alongside similar sense-data previously acquired. For the Buddha himself, the change of physical experience led to the development of the immense urge within him to seek the answer that reconciled all physical experience, regardless of the nature of that experience itself.’
‘Through austerity and meditation, and after leaving the world of plenty, the Buddha roamed from place to place with only his begging bowl and robe as possessions. After practicing austerity, he rejected this method as not being able to reach the highest enlightenment. He trained in, and fully mastered the meditative methods of his day, and despite achieving the highest state, rejected these paths as not going far enough toward the ultimate enlightenment. Having abandoned the conventional spiritual teachings, he embarked upon his own meditative practice, a practice that would eventually lead to a full and profound inner metamorphosis, more commonly known in English as ‘enlightenment’.’