Friday, October 28, 2016

Buddhism doesn't exist

People tend to forget, if they get caught up in the Buddhist spiritualism, the human made pageantry and ritual of a religion like Buddhism, that even Buddhism doesn't exist.

As humans, we need "metaphysical" things / mental constructs to help us practice and remember, to share common understanding, to alter behavior, to join a tribe, to cling to, and so on. This has more to do with how our brains work than what and how we choose to believe.

Believing in the eightfold path does not make it real. Believing in reincarnation does not make it real.  Simple people seem to miss the mental flaw underlying the Buddhist belief system.  When I look at Buddhists operating in a Buddhist manner I am reminded that my belief is while Buddha explained and encouraged behaviour that would make his ideals flourish, I do not think Buddha was certain reincarnation or karma existed.

Buddha knew what he was creating didn't exist. Ponder that for a moment.

If making his teachings part of a belief system that would spread better and faster needed the extra jewellery of metaphysical constructs, then allow them he did. Like Machiavelli, even the middle way is a practice in pragmatism; ends justifying means. If letting uneducated unwashed illiterate peasants encrust his ideals in ritual and if that made them happier, made them more productive and increased the chances people find harmony, that that was in essence the first compromise of Buddhism with itself.

This reality is why I define my spirituality as "pseudo-Buddhist". No, I will not chant incessantly and play silly human games. I will not pray and meditate for hours for the benefit of a cause or a person. I don't wish anyone ill, I wish all well, but conducting a ceremony made for the other purpose - to solidify the Buddhist practice - is not necessary. It doesn't exist. So in a way I can also claim to be an atheist.

What is necessary if one doesn't want to live as a nihilist or an anarchist,  is to adopt a set of operating principles, based in an understanding of humanity, that allows one to tread lightly in the universe. The eightfold path, offers a compassion and goodwill based philosophy.