Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Portrayal of the Positive and Negative Principles Principles in Buddhism

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/rdbook/2158/monks_with_guns%3A_discovering_buddhist_violence

I think this author goes too far with his message, but we always find truth intermingled with falsehood, so I thought I’d pass this along with caveat.

I can agree with him up to the point that there’s an artificial selectivity in the way most authors present Buddhism to the West. They focus almost exclusively on the essence of what Buddhism is trying to be (much of it sublime!), while turning a blind eye to its actual living expression (much of which has disappointed me).

I’ve read Thomas Cleary, who’s unafraid to discern between what he calls “cultic” Buddhism which has nothing but the exterior appearances of Buddhism, and a classical Buddhism that has actually succeeded in communicating something authentic. This makes a lot of sense to me because there are too many centuries and too much geographical territory to allow us to reduce Buddhism to a unity without introducing significant error.

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