Buddhism is not Superior to Christianity, but…

20180625_092428I only know that it is more appropriate for these self-engorged capitalistic end-times than the prevailing paradigm, which is probably the cause of this effect. The original teachings of JC and the Buddha are almost superfluous at this point, anyway, what with so much cultural baggage added on over all the years, much of it far from the original teachings…

And in short, those original teachings consist briefly of Jesus’s ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ and the Buddha’s ‘cure for suffering in the cessation of craving’, and from those two starting points evolves the history of much of the world, the traditional west largely ambitious, aggressive, individualistic, loud and consuming, while the traditional East is largely passive, shy, conforming, quiet and retiring. Note that those two traditional paradigms largely parallel the traditional paradigms of male vis a vis female…

Of course, these paradigms as specific to geographical regions have largely been superseded in the modern world with the prevalent adoption of the predominant Western survival-of-the-fattest (!) paradigm, but the opposing paradigm still remains, if only as a psychological construct, and no longer specific to place. And this is largely the paradigm that defines Christianity vis a vis Buddhism…

So that many Thai Theravada forest monks preach a doctrine of ‘no-thought’ to the extreme, such that any recurring cogitative nuisances can be quickly allayed by simply reciting the mantra “Buddho Buddho Buddho” till the cows come home, or until all thinking ceases, whichever comes first…

And while the Mahayana monks are a bit less strict on such matters, Thich Nhat Hanh’s ‘washing dishes to be washing dishes’ is not much different, but with the added attraction that something is actually happening, not just mindless recitation, which in fact is promoted as ‘mindfulness’, so there’s a conundrum for you, mindlessness as mindfulness…

And I get it, but frankly I wash dishes to clean them, for purposes of health, and sanitation, and aesthetic compatibility, not as some makeshift excuse for meditation, which is much more pleasing while seated, and quiet, without the clanging of dishes, BUT…to be able to make the best of anyone’s any one situation is obviously a valuable skill, and much of what Buddhism is all about, though you can quickly see where this leads: bad situations are simply endured, rather than changed…

And the Buddha said nothing like that, anyway, to my knowledge, the strict Theravada version or the ‘lite’ Mahayana version, distinctions which were not made at the time, of course, samma ditthi and samma sankappa best translated as ‘right views’ and ‘right thought’, but never anything like ‘no thought’, not to my knowledge, anyway…

The Example of China

And that’s certainly not how China got where they are today, BTW, quickly moving to the forefront of the world’s stage in economy and politics, if not individual rights and freedoms, creativity and culture up for grabs. You advance and retreat as necessary, always willing to give up goals temporarily, in order to keep them alive for the future, as only a culture with a history as old as China’s can readily attest…

This is what the traditional ‘wiles’ of a woman refer to, of course, another paradigm largely displaced now, though still extant as a psychological construct, the ability to accomplish things by means other than aggression and violence, and the reliance upon an indomitable will…

And why that was ever specific to place, or a sex, is unknown to me, though if Jared Diamond were to write it up, I’m sure it would be a fascinating story, maybe something about why many of those early wanderers straight outta’ Capetown headed straight for the Bering Strait, as often than not, though often backtracking, and pooping out, quickly giving China the same percentage of the world’s population that they have now, more or less…

…and largely in isolation as the only civilized, i.e. ‘city-fied’, country in the region, while the more aggressive Westerners emerged from a crowded Near East with the strength of its chariots, mobile and militant, as ready to conquer the West as it was to conquer India, with no particular goal in mind. Conquering for the sake of conquering? Ask Thich Nhat Hanh…

The only problem with China is they still see themselves as the center of the world, Zhongguo, the Middle Kingdom, the central government, but that’s another story. It seems that the sweet spot always lies somewhere in the middle, and that is Buddhist doctrine, of the Middle Path…

So for centuries and millennia the only way to ensure survival of the human species was to expand and grow, to all corners of the earth, and by powers of ten, such that at the beginning of civilization, only a few thousand years ago, the few million people that existed on the planet quickly multiplied to several hundred million by the Common Era, after the agricultural revolution, and then it stalled for a thousand years, as diseases taught the rise of cities a thing or two about sanitation and hygiene…

Then the Industrial Revolution, hand in hand with capitalism, Protestantism and democracy, made the policy of growth sacrosanct, to the point that we are now over-populated, with no end in sight, over-populated and over-heated and over-stressed and overly consumptive and overly violent and overtly insensitive and overtly racist, all of our progress on the line due to our own wicked ways…

This is the world that we live in and that Buddhism inherits. This is a philosophy of non-growth and non-consumption, renunciation and reconciliation. Instead of rewarding the person who accumulates the most possessions, it rewards the person that accumulates the least. That is what we need right now, until the earth cools off, and populations stabilize, and our fragile psyches can see some daylight. The next revolution will be internal…

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