Marx encountered Buddhism through the work of his close friend Karl Koppen – an early European expert upon Early Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism.
Many people do not adequately understand the fundamental concepts of ‘history’, ‘necessity’ or ‘materialism’, and only possess a vague working knowledge. History is thought to
It is common knowledge (or should be) that ‘capitalism’ routinely ‘kills’ as part of its division of labour, but many people remain blissfully unaware that
It is often left-leaning capitalists in the UK that criticise Communist China. This type of bourgeois often supports the Labour Party, and whilst living within, and supporting the capitalist system – openly attack non-European countries that have thrown-off the capitalist yoke. My view is that this is anti-Chinese racism as manifested on the left of the political spectrum.
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.
Applying Marx’s critique of idealism as conveyed in The German Ideology, religious perception of the world is the wrong way around. God did not create the world in a mysterious manner, but rather it is the mind of humanity that has created (or imagined) god and his heaven.