Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Refuting that Buddhism is 'cultish'

I am going to place this in pacifying because for some people in the tradition they believe that there is some truth in this and this is of course creating bad feeling within them. Rather than leaving this feeling festering it needs dealing with. We need to actually check, are these problems just normal religious problems or is there more to it?

Rick Ross names the 10 characteristics of a cult as follows. I will go through each offering a exerpt of Milarepas life story.

1)Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
2)No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
3)No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.
4)Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
5)There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
6)Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
7)There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.
8)Followers feel they can never be "good enough".
9)The group/leader is always right.
10)The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.


This article is an analysis of the experiences of Milarepa within the context of the definition of Rick Ross. Therefore the debate is based on the lifestory here We need to remove the obstacle that historically Buddhism clashes with these modern Western definitions. Such definitions were written by people who havent studied traditional Buddhism. They therefore did not have the knowledge to ensure that their criterion do not clash with correctly practiced oriental religions. The oriental master beating his student with a stick for example!
I am not saying to accept this way of life. I am saying give people the freedom to choose what they want to do with their lives. Some may want to follow the path of Buddhism. If it not for you fair enough. But to say these methods are to be banned from the world and to campaign for this is to say that Marpa is wrong is it not? If society takes this route it will end with endless disparaging of Buddhism and requests for editing and anyone who follows the path of Marpa will be on television being deemed evil. Our democracy and concept of religious freedom will be in shambles.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatsos advice is to delevop a more gentle teacher student relationship in these modern times. His advice on this is at the following link relying-upon-the-spiritual-guide-in-these-modern-times

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