What Disappoints Me About Modern Buddhism By Richard Hunn (Extracted from Richard Hunn (Upasaka Wen Shu) a Letter to Adrian Chan-Wyles (Shi Da Dao) Dated 28.4.1991)
The Buddha never argued that the physical world does not exist, even if he acknowledged that all material constructs that come together are changeable and impermanent.
Although the different Buddhist schools argued over the existence or nature of the atom, the Theravada thinkers conceived of an atom comprised of ‘space’ and ‘sub-particles’ (dravya-paramanu) which is physically complex (rupa-kalapa), whilst its constituent parts exist in a state on constant flux (kalapanga).
Indeed, in the Vinaya Discipline, a member of the Sangha is defined as someone who has left the life of a householder and taken the all the monastic vows as decreed within the Vinaya Discipline. The breaking of these vows either attracts reforming behaviour, or expulsion from the order. However, the Vinaya Discipline also defines a ‘member of the Sangha’ as someone who has ‘realised emptiness’ irrespective as to whether they have renounced the lay-life.
The modern liberal notion of ‘freedom of speech’ is an error of interpretation for the Buddha, because such speech is never ‘free’ of greed, hatred and delusion in the unenlightened state. In reality ‘freedom of speech’ is the institutionalisation of the freedom to spread greed, hatred, and delusion throughout the world, with no thought for the consequences.
It is irrelevant whether I agree or disagree with this or that teaching – the point is that we do not have to fight one another simply for thinking differently. Criminals are terrorists – Muslims are not terrorists. What Buddhism and Marxism has taught me is that it is important for human evolution to be ‘open’ to other people’s ideas and beliefs.