Spiritually Bankrupt Buddhists
After much thinking it occurs to me that:
You are who you are despite the events in your life.
However, you are where you are because of the events in your life.
Around WWI or WWII, when Europe finally had a respectable supply of Oriental Antiquities, they had began examination of said Antiquities. At the time, there was (and currently this market is reawakening) a black market of Oriental Antiquities. They were collected - however never studied - until Adolf Hitler ramped up the SS archaeology division. This was done, primarily, to see if they could trace Germanic ancestry into The Orient. You see, the Germans were looking for something that made them fundamentally different than the rest of Europe. Nazi archaeologists blanketed the world looking for anything to explain their history. Mongolia, Tibet and South America, were the lands that contained expensive and extensive archaeological digs. The fact that modern archaeology owes much of its progress to Nazi Germany should not be any surprise for any archaeologist worth his salt. Archaeology, in general, owes much to despicable men, who had little interest in culture or history, and who only wanted to strike it rich in the Antiquities market. And it owes even more to those laymen, who had a passion for history and archaeology and who possessed little formal knowledge of archaeology. Their ambition outweighed their talent, but their greed was tempered by their good nature. The modern view of archaeologists crying, “Foul!” over the latest movie that centres around an Archaeologist lead, is simply intellectual whitewashing. I will expound on this topic more in a later post.
The focus of Oriental Antiquities shifted to something called Buddhism. And it became the rage of many; not only The National Socialists, but much of the intelligentsia in Europe, and later (as intellectual trends often do lag a bit here) America.
The above is merely for reference to bring you, the layman or the ignorant archaeologist, up to snuff on his trade.
Here is the important part:
When enough was understood on Buddhism, many notable scholars, psychologists, and the like, of the middle and late 20th century, adopted it to their lifestyle, or simply lectured about it. This provided, for the first time, an Occidental to view into the mind, mythology and, dare I say, architecture of the Asiatic psyche, albeit an askew one. Also came large misunderstandings and misinterpretations of what Buddhism fundamentally is. Buddhism was not the only thing packed up and imported to the West by Antiquity dealers, but so was Hinduism, Shinto, and other religions. It must be noted: What made this different from the slow pathogen of Asiatic Mysticism from trade via silk, spice or salt road was the way in which it was transmitted - via media. This allowed rapid propagation of the Asian Myths directly into the living room of the Occidental layman.
Now, whenever you introduce something specific to the layman there must be a market to support it. Whether it was Tulip mania of 1637 CE, the Gold Rush of 1848 CE or, more recently, Day-trading of 1997 CE , all had their respective markets to equip anyone with the funds to undertake his personal journey. And like all markets, they are all subject to buzz, and what I term for mythologies marketed in such a fashion is Mythic Aggrandizement.
Here we have Buddhisms being sold. Not, yet by Buddhists, but by publishing companies and universities. It was intellectually whitewashed and removed many Asiatic components.
Akin to presenting Christianity as an overly simplistic teaching of an ideology to a group of people who are largely unfamiliar with the mythology at hand:
There is a God who controls everything, and he loves you.
God lives in Heaven, and it is a place of pure paradise.
In Heaven, there is no pain, no loss, and everyone who you love and miss is going to be there.
There are bad things in the world called Sin, placed by the Devil.
At one time the Devil made it very difficult to get into Heaven, because of Sin.
Whenever something goes wrong in your life it is the fault of the Devil.
God, knew this, and sent his only Son to Earth to free mankind from Sin.
Now, when our physical body dies, we go to Heaven.
Absent is any doctrine, canon, or creed; namely the rules and rituals that are presented in the myth and how to render them such, in this case Christianity. And furthermore is absent the different sects of Christianity. And altogether gone is the original language the mythology was rendered in.
What was the standard for accuracy when interpreting an Asiatic language and subsequently translating it into, in this case, Germanic? It would be laughable to assume it was seamless. However, this is exactly what happened with Buddhism. And it was embraced far too eagerly by those who were tired of their Levant religions. The reasons for this rapid abandoning of Buddhism was both fashion and perhaps:
People found their religion not making sense
The rules may have been to harsh or nonsensical
The leadership was seen as corrupt
A schism developed in the Occidental psyche, that caused an upsurge of libido that manifested itself in extreme guilt, paranoia, and/or neuroticism
A spiritual placebo had begun to rot their beliefs
However, also around this time was a type of carnival religion of Christianity called “Revivalism” and sometimes “Tent-Show Revivalism”. This too began to spring up at a similar time Buddhism was introduced to America. Today its moraine is referred to as "Fundamentalism" or, "American Evangelicalism" or "The Religious Right".
Whatever the reason may be, what was transmitted to America was some kind of bizarre interpretation of both Buddhism and Christianity - completely without canon law in many cases.
For example, the diet of monastic Buddhists is rather strict. And even of the followers outside of the monastery, adhered to a very strict and complicated diet. A diet, termed zhāicài. Personally, I have infrequently read anything of this. Despite the number of times I have read American and European academic texts on Buddhism.
It is evident that the mythology, was completely changed and not exported in accordance with anything remotely Buddhist. What the Occidentals got was more of an ideology. And with that, people have, wrongly, praised Buddhism as some sort of superior “religion” or “way-of-life”, while the Buddhism they understand is not at all alike to Buddhism practiced anywhere in Asia. Most laypeople I have spoken with think of Buddhism as having little or nothing to do with reality and/or ritual, but view it as something more of a mental exercise.
This degrades the mythology in its entirety, and is frankly an attitude of racism and ignorance left over from the mid 20th century. In fact only as a token gesture did a Japanese Zen-Buddhist (Daisetz Suzuki) make it onto television.
Buddhism, and the clichéd Oriental allure, still infect much of the Occidental mind today. It has blinded many to the true tone and intrinsic worth of the mythology. Continually, many are stifled by the language gap, prejudiced thoughts, and other hold-overs from Nazi Europe. Or perhaps, more simply, lack of due-diligence on their part. Leaving many still, despite their searches, spiritually bankrupt.