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Monday 23 December 2013

UnCracked Monday: Western Buddhists are really just Star Trek Cosplayers

I find it funny; I used to use this as an insult. I should have known that sooner or later some Buddhist who was slightly more conscious and less shy about being a Star Trek fanatic would actually just go out and claim it, like a badge of pride, and pretend that Buddhism is really Just Like Being a Real Vulcan.

The tragic part is that he's largely right, if what you're talking about is that certain brand of pop-culture baby-boomer mainstream Consensus Buddhism in the west. Of course, that Buddhism has very little to do with what Buddhism looks like in the rest of the world, and almost nothing to do with anything the Buddha himself was doing.

If the latter is what you're trying to claim, that somehow the Buddha was advocating that everyone go out there and act like Mr. Spock, then it really isn't similar. It IS similar to how a lot of western Buddhists (including quite a few no doubt mentally-influenced by memories of star trek) act, and imagine buddhism to be like.
They think that being spiritual means going around like Mr.Spock, repressing all emotions except this vague kind of smug "its nice to be nice" niceness, and calling this 'equanimity'.  They strip away their humanity to the point that they can't say the word "love", because that would be too strong a feeling! So instead they say "loving-kindness", a weasel word that means nothing.

This is part of the infection that is the Western Consensus Buddhism, which has NOTHING to do with what traditional Buddhism is about. 
There were some hilarious reactions a few years back, for example, when I told some western consensus Vulcan-buddhists that the Dalai Lama had cried when his brother passed away... they were in shock! You can't do that, right? I mean, one of the supposedly greatest figures in buddhism and he CRIES when his brother dies? How horrible! How utterly human of him (said as if being "human" is a dirty word rather than the ENTIRE FUCKING POINT of spiritual practice).

We're not supposed to be Vulcans and real Buddhism never wanted people to be Vulcan.  And the type of western Buddhism that does is SHIT Buddhism.  Its not really about discovering the real nature of reality but just hiding away, repressing, trying to reject the Truth of your own humanity; it bears far more resemblance to the ideas of the extremist ascetics the Buddha spent his life arguing AGAINST.

Oh yeah, and imagine their shock when I told them that the Buddha wasn't a vegetarian, and emphatically forbade his monks from being vegetarians.
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