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Dec 19, 2008
Buddhism, all and all, has to be viewed as a 'positive' philosophy. It does offer some therapeutic value in the realm of mediation and generating altered states of consciousness. The "4 Noble truths" are okay fare for beginners.

However, it seems as though, ultimately, Buddhism is a dead end. I have found "enlightenment" "Nothingness, emptiness" just to be a revisiting of an infant's POV, prior to the discovery of Self as Object. It is quite a wonderful experience to reverse that transition and entirely forget there is a Self as Object for a time. However, eventually one realizes that it is actually a regression to a primitive state of consciousness rather than the promised heightened state of consciousness, and may feel slightly cheated or misled...


Royalist Freicorps Feldgendarme
Sep 7, 2007
Between the Harz and Carpathians
I find buddhism the most despicable and pointless of philosophies. All the disadvantages of religion without the saving graces. No God or immortality, but temporary heavens and hells. No individuality, but simultaneously concentrating on the ultimate gratification of the self-satisfied ego. An apparent Be Nice ethos that masks a smug belief that all misfortunes and cripplings of others is deserved by them. A useless cycle of reincarnations that exist merely for no reason, not even the inscrutable decisions of a Creator, that end in nothingness.

Here's an excellent addendum written by 'Rachel' positing these points --- http://www.rabe.org/criticism-of-buddhism/ --- in reply to a general criticism of buddhism from an atheist standpoint by Vexen Crabtree.

[ Her own story as a single on relationships is worth reading... ]

Obviously many in the West having rejected their own traditions hunger for a non-specific Feel-Good spirituality that may give meaning to anomie surrounded by materialist values; and the look for it in the wise old East. If the repellent poverty of India and China ruled by castes of rapacious rulers doesn't give them pause, in the case of buddhism the horrific theocratic rule of the Lamas over the unfortunate Tibetans really should.

Claverhouse :phear:


Aug 19, 2009
the in-between

i recommend reading the comments posted on that very same blog. i love how she's just like "MY READERS CAN DRAW THEIR OWN CONCLUSIONS I DON'T HAVE TIME TO DEBATE YOU".

i dunno, i have a difficult time taking her too seriously. i recognize the importance of taking other peoples' views into consideration... but she sounds like little more than a frustrated, somewhat angsty little girl to me. and maybe i'm being condescending, but she's not doing much better.


still searching
Aug 25, 2008
I would recommend as unputdownable 'the empty mirror: experiences in a japanese zen monastry' by Janwillem van de wetering. Simply brilliant - and a quick read. He was a Dutch student who sought enlightenment in the 70s so went to Japan to join a Zen Monastery. The first book is his story which I won't reveal as it would spoil it. He has a second and third book. Once you have read them all, you at least know the advantages and disadvantages of Buddhism from a Western perspective. Needess to say, I believe we over romanticise Buddhism - I did experiment with it for a while. It has some interesting perspectives on life which I think many would benefit from but otherwise I agree with Da blob.


Royalist Freicorps Feldgendarme
Sep 7, 2007
Between the Harz and Carpathians
shoeless said:

i recommend reading the comments posted on that very same blog. i love how she's just like "MY READERS CAN DRAW THEIR OWN CONCLUSIONS I DON'T HAVE TIME TO DEBATE YOU"

Sadly, the commentators themselves seem self-righteous idiots defensive against anything against their creed:

In a Buddhist context, I think you are missing the point here. The second noble truth says that the cause of suffering is self-grasping ignorance. Craving arises in dependence of this. The cold itself, on the other hand, although is a contributory factor in suffering, is not suffering, nor is it the main cause of suffering. The reaction of our mind to it, though attachment to our body, is.

I think you may be conflating the notion of pain with suffering. If we are ill, we can be in pain, but still keep a happy mind.

Righhhttt... Useful advice in the cancer ward.

“The fact that Buddhists scholars, practitioners and teachers throughout history have fought wars is not a valid basis from which to judge Buddhist teachings themselves.”

To which she rightly replies as you mention. Context, context...

Why not? We seem to have no problem doing that with Christianity…

As for the rest of your arguments, I will let the readers of this blog come to their own conclusions. They can read what I wrote and what you wrote and if they want to do their own research.

And later:

Paul wrote: “In the context of the abuse of Buddhism, where are its inherent flaws?” See above. Any inherent flaw that I am pointing out, you dismiss because you claim I don’t know Buddhism well enough. Anything else, you dismiss because it’s not really Buddhism but people’s abuse of Buddhism. That means that no criticism is possible because no matter how I approach it, you have a way to dismiss it without looking at the substance.

In the Mahayana lineage that I practice, there are two types of doubt. Deluded doubt and non-deluded doubt. An example of the first type would be something along the lines of:
Buddha has said that karma exists. I don’t think that I agree with that. I don’t think that karma exists.
Deluded doubt is an obstacle to spiritual progress. Someone who claims to be a skeptic, but adheres to the above, regardless of the personal experiences of many people, is actually a pseudo-skeptic.
An example of non-deluded doubt would be something like:
Buddha has said that karma exists. I’m not sure if this is true or not.
This kind of doubt is fine, it is healthy, open-minded skepticism. It is not an obstacle to spiritual progress.

So, as with any other religion, honest doubt is acceptable provided it is humble and susceptible to correction from wise masters; but unacceptable if stated as a definite personal opinion in contradiction to the beliefs of the wise masters...

Do you not see the benefit of realizing that you are the cause of your own suffering? Look at that for a minute. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. Think about it until you feel that great sense of relief in knowing that *you* are the cause of your own suffering. When it hit me, the power of that message, I felt a great sense of relief. I have no one to blame, no one to scold, no one to direct anger towards. It is the way I live and act and react that feeds into my own suffering.

Instead of forming trade unions and agitating for better conditions, miners and their women and children pulling carts of coal --- handily without needless wheels --- should have just meditated that they themselves were the problem: their attachment to their bodies and discontent caused the suffering, not the work or pay or conditions.

Buddhism is a religion for slaves.

Claverhouse :phear:


still swimming
Nov 14, 2009
Intuitively (which may be my way of excusing myself from research and dedication) I favour Buddhism. I can't reason with this - I just like it.

Reverse Transcriptase

"you're a poet whether you like it or not"
Sep 22, 2008
The Maze in the Heart of the Castle
I like it, although I prefer Taoism.

My brother, when he heard I had visited a zen center for a 3.5 hour celebration, said in a somewhat disgusted tone (a little similar to Da Blob's and Claverhouse's response): "What's the point??"
(Btw, you're both arrogance incarnate. Obviously I'm a terrible buddhist, and I have very little compassion for people who jump to negative conclusions.)

Buddhism allows you to eat when you eat, sleep when you sleep, and walk when you walk.

(It's also not a religion in the sense that it demands irrational beliefs of an invisble sky man. It's almost a psychology rather than a religion or philosophy. One can simply choose to mold their mind with meditation to bring out happiness and compassion.)


Put me in Coach
Nov 11, 2009
I used to read up on everything about Buddhism when I was unemployed. It kept me somewhat sane. I have trouble finding the motivation to meditate these days, but it has helped develop a positive, healthy philosophy in life. To say it has helped me is an understatement. It's the best philosophy/religion in my opinion (and of course possibly for other INTPs).

There are some awesome books with the Dalai Lama, western psychologists, and scientists. I'll link some in another post when I have the time.

The Tibetan branch is my personal favorite and has the richest philosophy. I felt it suited me the best (and possibly the INTP mind, as well). I did not make much progress studying Zen and Theravada (which was the denomination you linked in your original post). If you are serious about it, I'd look at the three major branches and pick one out and go from there. All three are very different in my opinion, similiar to the Christian powerhouses.

I'll share my brief impressions:

Theravada is considered the Way of the Elders. It's mostly localized in Eastern Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Burma, etc). Their studies include the really old texts that are supposedly from the original Buddha's timeframe. They try to follow the big doctrines (The Noble Eightfold path and four Noble truths) very literally. Their typical meditation is visapanna, which is pretty much mindfullness meditation from what I can gather.

Now onto Zen and Tibetan Buddhism which both cover the Mahayana vehicle. (Whereas Theravada is a form of the hinayana vehicle) Zen used to be the mainstay in Japan, but I believe it has recently declined.
I had trouble finding the reading material to make good progress in Zen. I felt like I was going in circles. What they do in Zen is ask you Koans. Koans are special riddles which help you along the spiritual path. They are wierd questions like "What is the sound of one hand clapping". I was mostly reading Alan Watts' material, which while amusing, I now feel is a poor representation of Zen in general.

The Tibetan origin has the most organized and updated philosophy. Part of their practice is intense debating on philosophical issues. They talk about concepts such as interdependence, attachment, dependant origin, and emptiness. There are very famous philosophers who rival some of Europe's best. Their practice includes yoga, and some much different kinds of meditations from the other branches. The Tibet branch most outsiders would consider the most "religious" of the buddhist lineages because they pray and have some rituals.

Inappropriate Behavior

is peeing on the carpet
Sep 21, 2008
Behind you, kicking you in the ass
You go RT!

I'm currently beginning to look into Taoism. Not seeking enlightenment in any terms other than it's something to study. Just doing some reading on the subject and haven't reached many conclusions but it doesn't seem for me.

But I'm certainly not going to let that stop me. :smoker:


When in the course of inhuman events....
Jan 27, 2009
Spacetime Continuum
I used to be Buddhist a long time ago. I agree with many of the points Da Blob and Claverhouse are bringing up.

I'm not entirely sure if the achievement of Nirvana is possible. Someone who really has this state would not be able to relate to us at all, we would not understand one another. How then could the Buddha communicate his teachings? How did he keep his grip if he was mentally detached? But to be fair, one only really achieves Nirvana after they die. Then they realize nothingness. But since I don't believe in a soul that survives death (closest thing I believe in is that there is a part of God in all, but where or what this is I'm unsure) then nothingness is your fate anyway (unless God steps in somehow).

The claim that there is no self goes totally against two ontologies that I mostly deal with and think about. One would basically say that because we use the self as a centering part that organizes our life in our world, that it is our window on the world combined with our world. Heidegger inspired stuff. Another is very atomistic and individualized. Every object exists as a singularity. Wholes are more than their parts and the parts are just as much themselves as their wholes. Each object marks this by their resistance against other objects. Your self, my self, somebody else's self, the ideas of self etc. are but a few of these objects, given no greater or less ontological status than any other.

I'm not as hard as Claverhouse is on the Buddhist tendency to renounce life and go for nothingness and peace. That is but one attitude one can have on life. Its not for me. I try to find a rational yet spiritual balance between that and Nietzschean struggle.


Oct 30, 2014
Many people think, that enlightment is impossible. This is mainly because you guys look for somethink perfect. Complete, perfect enlightment. You wont find that in this world, there is only imperfect enlightment.
But we are allowed to be imperfect, to make mistakes, for that is the teaching of compassion and kindnes a part of buddhist teaching, alongside with mindfulnes and awareness.
And you certainly dont need to go to monastery, you can live on your normal life :)
Xel: Buddhism teaches, that the self is an idea. Does it exist? You have to ask yourself if ideas exist. We certainly can use them even if they are not real. Is our body real? Yes. Is our mind real? Yes, too. But is our identity, our preferences and dislikes, our opinions, wishes and fears real? They are our ideas. (you can argue that an idea or feeling is just an electrical and chemical state of brain, and I agree with that, but this is not relevant now for the purpose of buddhism).
The second, atomistic onthology... guy, meditate, not think, more about it. :):p
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