treehuggingoctopus wrote:Sure, but the intensity seems proportionate here to the value attached, consciously or unconsciously (and thus also to the emotion invested, etc.). In other words, the us-vs-them mentality among boardgame geeks or stamp collectors is nowhere near as aggressive as it is among the people concerned with universal salvation. Or with the benefit of all sentient beings.
And the fact that such kind of mentality is pretty much common* in Buddhist sanghas hurts particularly horribly, clashing with the very basic principles of the Dharma.
* Can't say I have a long Dharma life history. But I've been here and there, and I've never come across a sangha free from the problem. And it was a cold cold shower each time, with a nasty and lasting aftertaste.
So Buddhism is evil sounds right to you because of what? I am sorry, I can't imagine what happened to you in these Sangha's that make you think the word "evil" is the correct description of your experience with them. Perhaps you could elaborate a little?
Erm, I didn't say Buddhism is evil. That's Malcolm's word, and he didn't use it to characterise Buddhism per se but "religion, such as it is". And he didn't say 'all religion is evil'. What he actually said was much more nuanced:
Malcolm wrote:This is a problem with religion in general. It fosters this stupid us vs. them mentality and reinforces tribalism. This is among the many reasons why I eschew the label "Buddhist". I have no interest in religion, per se. Religion, such as it is, is pretty evil.
You may ask him what he meant. I understood him as suggesting that even a perfectly valid 'spirituality' (excuse the word), the moment it transforms to a religion with all its typical accoutrements, becomes deeply ambiguous, to say the least. Institutionalization corrupts. I don't think Malcolm's 'evil' is a metaphysical concept, btw.
I'm no Buddhism-hater, of course, and I could never say I've ever been a helpless victim of Buddhist sanghas. What I've come across included deep, and usually unacknowledged, arrogance; aggressive sectarian narrow-mindedness and 'born-again' kind of mentality; profound internal elitism (i.e., sanghas clearly divided into outer and inner hierarchically structured circles divided by what appeared to me when I first bumped into them as walls of ice); general willingness to show off to newcomers and general unwillingness to go out to them; complex, unofficial and subtle but stable power structures; a LOT of tensions and pettiness and spite (both towards the 'outside' and on the 'inside'); a wide assortment of the cultural prejudices typical of the time and the place; and, last but not least, a huge, riveting social game in which one is supposed to boast to one's fellow sangha members of one's 'Dharmic' achievement (which includes one's proximity to the teacher(s), exotic retreats, Dharma 'possessions' and skills, etc.).
Needless to say, not everybody in a sangha gets involved in those human, all too human behaviours - which certainly aren't Evil, but are just sorely vulgar and disappointing. And, yes, it could be much, much worse. Still, if I understood Malcolm correctly, I subsrcibe wholeheartedly to his sentiment.
I should also add that I've come across kindness and utter selflessness and generosity as well. I've learnt, too, the obvious thing that all Dharma environments, even those that initially alienate and mistreat you, ceaselessly change - and may, with time, outgrow and leave behind their ugliest features.
. . . there they saw a rock! But it wasn't a rock . . .