On Seeing Behind the Eyelids – A Marxist Critique of Buddhism in the West

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.

Buddhism Through The Capitalist Filter.

‘For many, modern living carries the necessity for mutual exploitation of one another either within, or in the case of crime, outside a moderating legal system. Profit has to exist for the system to function, and with this profit, there must be inequality. The Buddha lived in a society that privileged his caste and his social rank – his father was a chief or king (raja). Social inequality was as prominent in ancientIndiaas it is today across the world. As a spiritual statement, the Buddha gave up his life of luxury, his wife and his child. He turned his back on a life of sensual pleasure and headed into the wilderness to rid his mind of attachment.’