Buddhism has been around for a long ass time but I find that it’s become almost like the in thing to do lately in western society. Kind of like yoga and green tea. What drives one to look into Buddhism? Probably a dissatisfaction for one’s own life. If you liked your life you wouldn’t go out of your way to flip it upside down.
A couple years ago, I began studying Buddhist teachings. I bought books (and read a couple of them too!), took a course with a bunch of other curious folks, meditated here and there, and watched spiritual Buddhist like videos on YouTube. It seemed great at first but after a while it felt like everything else that seemed great at first. When you’re looking to fill a void, you put a lot of hope in the first thing that makes some sense. Buddhism makes sense but I feel it only works well in theory for most of us. Just because it makes sense it doesn’t really mean it’s possible. Being a devoted Buddhist means denying your natural human instincts and desires. That’s the whole point really. You hate your life cause of your monkey attitude so stop being a monkey. I think Buddhism works effectively to an extent. It can make your shitty life less shitty but I find it doesn’t do much more. It’s not suppose to bring you to happiness, it’s just meant to take you out of the shitsphere.
Buddhism pretty much leads you to live a boring life. Instead of idolizing rockstars and millionaires, it rather you emulate dudes with shaved heads who sit around with their legs crossed trying to take themselves out of life.
i went to the meditation centre about a year ago. There’s one by my place and there was going to be this monk giving a lesson so I thought I’d check it out. It was cult like. Everyone in the room treated this guy like God. You have to stand up waiting for him to walk in the room and when he does, everyone bows. Everyone addressed him by some title that I can’t remember. When we got to doing these chants I felt like getting up and walking out.
One of Buddhism’s main teachings is to do away with your ego or at least as much as you can. It sounded great at first but now I sort of regret stomping on my ego. The ego is like a vital organ. It keeps you wanting to live even when your life blows. It’s irrational and stubborn but it does its job well. It gets you into big trouble but without it, you lose your zest for life. Having a big ego is obnoxious but having a healthy one is probably beneficial.
The quest for spiritual enlightenment of any kind is great but when faced with the daily grind of a long life and its category 5 hurricanes, can one just meditate it away? Can you trick yourself everyday by rationalizing that everything is just fine? That it’s really the way you look at it and not the way you feel? Sometimes but not all the time. Maybe if you live in a monastery where you’re secluded from life.
I see Buddhism as a compliment to an already decent life and an escape from a shitty one but not really the answer. Yes I think we should calm our ego, stop chasing unfruitful desires, be more compassionate and all the rest but to be a full time Buddhist seems not possible. If someone with a gun is pointing it at me while I’m in my car, I’m going to run them over and not call the ambulance. Sorry compassion, you have to take a backseat to Mr. Monkey, otherwise I’ll be involuntarily meditating in the hospital bed or a casket.
Semi-conclusion…I guess if it’s working for you keep doing it. We all need something to believe in.