Douwe Osinga's Blog: Buddhism good, Islam bad?

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

It is common knowledge that Islam is a harsh religion where the hands of thieves are cut off routinely, while Buddhisme is the religion of peace. Holy War is something for the Christians and Muslims, not for the Eastern Saints. This might be common knowledge, but it is wrong. People fight wars, no matter what religion and if religion helps, they'll take religion.

A lot of people are fans of the Dalai Lama and his peacefull struggle for a free Tibet. Any fan should read the article by Swans about Tibet before the Chinese. Tibet was a medieval state with slavery, cutting of hands of thieves, sexual abuse by monks and a very low standard of living for the average person. The slaves and serfs were not so unhappy about the Chinese invasion (at least in the beginning). And the Dalai Lama counted quite some Nazi's under his friends "a weakness for the underdog", he calls it.

It is quite an eye-opener to many, but if you think about it, why would any good come from a theocracy, just because the religion is Tibettan. The Dalai Lama was a religious dictator of a state and claimed on top of that Divine knowledge. Dictatorship is bad. State institutions who claim to be the only source of truth are worth. At least with Khomeini one could discuss whether something was correct in the Islam tradition.

In the West we long for a hidden Eastern philosophy that will point us the way to true happiness. A happiness not depending on our material wealth, but spiritual hapiness. We have to realise, though, that the liberal democratic tradition of the West is the best philosophy of all.


Anonymous said...

One does not becomes a Buddhist just merely because he is born in a Buddhist family. One who really practices what the Buddha teaches is the real Buddhist. The Buddha criticizing the Brahmanic system says, "one does not becomes a brahmin by birth, but by one's action". So when you say there are lots of abuses and killings in Tibet, and Buddhism has something to with it, is really mis-leading what the Buddha teaches. I don't think in the whole of Tipitaka (Buddhist canon), there is anything mentioned that war, killing is good, and killing who are not Buddhist is a meritorious deed for next life, as mentioned in Quran of Islam, saying that those who don't believe in Islam are Kefir and will go to hell after death. The Buddha did not start teaching his doctrine with the idea of making a specific group of people as 'Buddhists'. He just wanted to to teach his Dhamma or doctrine so that people can get liberated. The word 'Buddhists' is a later development....Any body can follow the teachings of the as it is not specified to specific people. People are free to come, see, investigate, and decide for themselves whether good or bad. Buddhism is not a commandment of Buddha that one must follow. The Buddhism gives full freedom to decide for oneself without following a tradition of faith blindly........