Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why Buddhism Doesn't Make Sense

Well, first of all, I have a great respect for Buddhism. I think it makes more sense than most religions and philosophies. Buddhism is concerned with suffering. Its a problem solving philosophy. However, its a bit preoccupied with suffering. As if suffering is the only descriptor of reality. One of the noble truths of Buddhism is that life IS suffering. Well, what if life IS love. What if reality is LOVE. Buddhism characterizes suffering as disease, old age, pain, and frustration. Well, disease is caused by unnatural care of body. I would say good health is the natural state of being. Disease is a minor aspect of a living body's experience. Old age does not have to be perceived as suffering. I think there is much wisdom in the eastern traditions of vitality. These traditions such as taoism teach that a human can stay physically and mentally fit into old age and even to death. Pain, ok its hard to perceive pain as positive. But once again, which is more prevalent in life, pain or pleasure? Well pain is more of an emergency alert system for the body. Help! I'm going to die if you don't feed me! Pleasure occurs much more often. In fact, in a resting state, people experience a slightly positive feeling, not a neutral one as you would expect. Now frustration is the aspect of Buddhism that I think is really practical. Frustration occurs when people get upset about things they cannot change or crave something that is impermanent (all things). But with the knowledge that all things are impermanent, I think it is possible to enjoy the sensory experience of life. Sure, you don't go wishing for your soul mate or a warm apple pie to cause your permanent state of happiness as we sometimes do, but you still enjoy the moments with your girlfriend and eating apple pie and look forward to those moments. So yes, Buddhism has a practical philosophy for dealing with frustration, however its solution to reality is too abstract for humans to appreciate. It involves a much longer term solution that humans care to address. We are concerned with the life we are living. We cannot conceive a past or future life because we cannot remember them! Therefore, we don't really care about ending the cycle of death and rebirth. Also Buddhism is in favor of dispassionate renunciation, which eventually leads to the goal of Buddhism: the end of consciousness, delusion/reality, and sensory experience. We are supposed to have faith in several things in Buddhism without proof: that there is rebirth, that rebirth is caused by craving, and that extinguishing consciousness is a good thing. I have a radically different belief...that humans can only make judgments according to our human perspective. Humans, by nature, are only concerned about our present life, until proof of the afterlife. That humans want sensory experience, want consciousness, and humans are willing to accept pain if it comes at the cost of pleasure. We want to live! Buddhism involves the renunciation of human nature, the renunciation of our survival mechanism. In fact Buddhism would be totally pro-suicide if it wasn't for two things: 1. suicide is a CRAVING to not exist. 2. Suicide doesn't stop you from being reborn! But if you dispassionately killed yourself and knew you wouldn't be reborn, Buddhism would be all for it. Ok, another paradox of Buddhism...you are supposed to have compassion for all beings (that are impermanent and empty) and work to help them realize that they are impermanent and empty. Well, once you realize enlightenment, which means you understand that you are not separate from every other being, why do you have to go around convincing every other being (that are not really other beings, we are all one energy. It seems like a pointless exercise to want to be reborn to help other beings (that aren't other beings/we are all one). If the whole idea of multiple beings is a delusion, why do we have to keep helping each other! So Buddhism requires faith that the best thing ever is nirvana, which we cannot conceive by the way. Ok I don't mean to make fun of Buddhism, I'm just trying to point our the holes in logic.

Now I would like to propose a new philosophy, Seanism if you will. It involves defining reality as dual. Some things are better that others for humans to experience. Having sex is nicer than having your hand chopped off. Whatever we focus on, will be magnified. I don't know about you, but I'm going to focus on the good stuff. With this philosophy, suffering is not cured, but minimized. And isn't life so much more than pain and pleasure!? It has more depth and richness! Its not about extinguishing consciousness, its about expanding it. Its not about extinguishing reality, but experiencing it fully. Its not about extinguishing life, its about living it. I have to borrow a tenet of buddhism though. I've got to hand it to them on the cure to frustration. If we have no control over something, there's no use worrying and getting frustrated. Instead of getting mad at reality,... adjust. Its a good way to minimize suffering. Seanism is great for a human life. You're not tied down to a bunch of limiting beliefs. You're open to what comes next spontaneously. Perhaps the next life will not be human, perhaps it will have even more depth and richness. But we don't have to worry about that right now...the present life is enough to be concerned with.

Sean Morgan

For questions about Seanism email seanomorgan@gmail.com

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree man. Enjoying life and feeling compassion for others (helping them enjoy their lives, not converting them!) are important to me, and it seems that Buddhism is not compatible with those except through twisted logic. Buddhists would say that I just don't "get it", but...Seanism is enough for me, without additional assumptions and complications.