This news about the killing of Cecil the lion is an example of why Buddhism is not and will never be a philosophy embraced by the wealthy modern elite (as a block), and could easily end up being their next hunting target:
“Rich American tourists kill hundreds of lions each year, and it’s all legal
American tourists — wealthy ones, given the high costs involved — account for the majority of lions killed for sport in Africa. A 2011 report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare found that between 1999 and 2008, Americans brought home lion “trophies” — heads, pelts and whatnot — representing 64 percent of all African lions killed for sport during that period.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/07/29/rich-american-tourists-kill-hundreds-of-lions-each-year-and-its-all-legal/
You have to consider that this ‘hunting sport’ is totally against the Buddhist philosophy of life. The Buddha’s instructions in sutra 19, (see my earlier post),explains why: basically it will get you back sooner or later, karmically speaking.
As I abided thus, diligent, ardent, and resolute, a thought of sensual desire arose in me.I understood thus: This thought of sensual desire [of cruelty, of ill will] has risen in me. This leads to my own affliction, to others’ affliction, and to the affliction of both; it obstructs wisdom, causes difficulties, and leads away from Nirvana.
Well, that dentist who killed that animal for fun and because he could, is now regretting it. The point being that the elite will not tolerate anything or anyone who interferes one way or another with their ‘right’ to do as it pleases them.
The Buddha, supposedly, refused to systematize his teachings, he knew it would end up as dogma. He required, for those who chose to dedicate their lives to the search of wisdom, not for those who chose to stay in society practicing the Buddha’s philosophy, that they abandon life in society and resort to the homeless life of monks because there is NO other way but to live away of from social temptations, until the goal is reached. By accident, maybe. Living with the wealthy and getting their money was a no-no. That’s precisely what many of today’s Buddhist monks are doing, studying so they can work as professional social worker or soothers of the elite’s guilty feelings for a high fee.
Read sutra #3: Heirs in the Dharma; it’s precisely about this. The Buddha was kind of disgusted with his monks behaviors. Sariputta had to interpret for them why the man was upset with them; they couldn’t even get it on their own:
- disciples don’t follow the teachings
- they are luxurious and careless
- leaders in backsliding
- neglectful of reclusion
The Buddha also listed shamelessness and recklessness as two of the 14 immoral behaviors and personal characteristics. Recklessness is the lack of fear for the consequences of one’s behavior, for self accusation or by others, or of punishment. And shamelessness is the lack of guilt before committing a wrongful act. So, our unenlightened gurus are contributing their skills so that the elite does not feel shame for acts like hunting and, in this case, killing Cecil the lion. They bless the elite’s cars, and, who knows, maybe their hunting gear too for protection of the hunter against its victims.
Modern Buddhism: the new ‘industrial psychology’ of capitalism
Buddhism could be a tool to advance our collective mind: it is a science of the mind, it can support Western science (as opposed to Christianity and Islam); it is moral and compassionate, you can practice it and see the results almost immediately. Its tenets are easily tested. And it fortifies in its practitioners the desire to do no evil. What else could you want from a ‘cult’?
But, ignorance is bold. Today’s economic system is capitalism, as you all know by now, am not making it up so don’t get upset by my use of the word. Its mark is the ability to transform EVERYTHING into profit yielding, including the Buddhist psychology/philosophy.
I have read articles about the 1%ers, Wall Street and Silicon Vally CEOs, hiring ‘Buddhist’ gurus of all schools (not only Tibetan) to teach them the science of mindfulness, MINDFULNESS! so they can rip the planet off with MORE ease of mind and efficiency.
I have read also about these elitists and corporate CEOs hiring gurus to help them better squeeze their workers, you know, like a new form of ‘industrial psychology‘, bringing Yoga and meditation to the work place to keep the workers ‘fit’ for exploitation. Of course, the workers never feel exploited, like the house slaves of yore. Even good ol’ China is getting in the act! I never thought I would live to see China becoming chummy with the Tibetans.
Buddhism hasn’t reach its potential to change our social values because of the marriage between its monks and governments and corporations. That’s my opinion. Famed king Asoka helped to disseminate Buddhism as a religion, but in so doing he also helped to institutionalize it and, consequently, made it blunt.
Some of today’s gurus are, in my view, the hookers of capitalists and money. (OK, in Trump-ism, “some are good’.) As with capitalists, ideology is not a problem for these gurus. For example, you can see Western capitalists and CEOs (Bloomberg, for example) making nice with Sharia Law. Why let a money cow like that pass you by just because it responds to Islamic culture, the one we are at war with, supposedly, for being ‘terrorists’? Or bankers (Bank of America, among others) doing the ‘laundry’ to South American drug cartel’s CEOs? Well, similarly, some ‘Buddhist’ monks are now the lap poodle of BOTH the communists and capitalists.
Buddhists know it all too well: everything in this existence is interconnected. By soothing the elite’s feelings of shame for their behaviors, these gurus have contributed to the killing of Cecil the lion, indirectly, of course.
The day the good followers of Buddhism wake up and decide that they want a society with no evil, that day, inevitably, the marriage between governments, corporations, elite and elite monks will end. You will see then the capitalists demonizing the Buddhist philosophy. As long as they are not denouncing the status quo or shaming the elite, they are not a threat to it. But all they have to do is NOT cater to the wealthy, you don’t have to become suicidal.
It’s a matter of time. For now, let the ‘Buddhist’ monks extend the life of the dying capitalist (Chinese too) monster.
I, in the mean time, will continue studying Buddhist psychology. I don’t need a guru, thank you very much.
I apologize for the many grammatical, syntactic and writing style errors. I’m working on those.
Your comments are welcome.