Monday, December 9, 2013

Doubting Buddhist Doctrine?

First, this is a blog of Magic but since many people expressed their views on doubting our standard Buddhist doctrines. Below is one of the mails I received, please read with open mind and surely there is something wrong with either the doctrine itself; or on how the religion is transmitted to general public:

“I came to know a famous medium in US by name George Anderson. His background was Christian but neither fanatic nor religious. He is very honest to say souls in the afterlife told him no such mighty spiritual being as God to judge our sin as we crossed over. Our subconscious mind registers our every act, guilt and other emotional imbalance cause us to choose rebirth to “repay” whom we are indebted. Hell or heaven is only creation of our mind. If you are bad to a person, it attracts bad circumstance back to us as punishment. Again what he said was very honest and non religious (but very close to Buddhist ). George Anderson clearly states that none of the religions is perfect, just as lessons in our spiritual progress.  

I read a booklet about Buddhism by chance at a local temple. It says hell or heaven only exists in our mind. Punishment like soaking in the boiling oil is an educational tale only. Whatever bad things we do to others, will definitely be suffered by ourselves on earth as well, if not this lifetime, then future lifetime. This educational tale is very misleading, till I found out the truth by myself.


Original Buddhism teachings were passed down orally, and later written on a special kind of dried leaves. Followed by scripted on papers as a book.

I really doubt about the true meaning of “not to kill life” in Buddhism. For example, I have to kill virus in order to save from certain disease, otherwise, “death sentence” keeps awaited for me .


Cleve Blaster ( Baxter ) was an American scientist who invented lie detector known as polygraph in 1960s. He passed on in the middle of this year.


Polygraph can pick up true emotions of a person who is lying. He had experiment on plants as well including the below:


a ) His potted vegetable felt worried and panic, and transmitted its feelings to other potted vegetable around before he walked in with an intention on mind- “I will cook this vegetable today”


b) A potato felt fainted even he just planned to cook it.


Don’t you see that plants too, are struggling badly before dying. We do kill lives even we are a vegetarian. 

I don’t think reborn as an animal is always to be considered as negative karmic sufferings. A clear ironic example is Panda, with reputation and luxuries considerable to a movies actor.


Seriously, I disagree with few parts of Buddhist teachings. After all, Buddhism is still my first choice due to its openness.”


My Input:


I supposed that Buddhism has come a long way. The above passage refers to the ‘Northern Tradition’ or Mahayana Buddhism. The Mahayana Buddhism has gone a long way and experienced major content changes compared to the Theravada Buddhism.


Traditionally the Mahayana or Sino-Buddhism has the patron of Chinese emperors since Northern Wei Dynasty (北魏) 386-534AD. Being a royal religion, Buddhist monasteries are awarded with lands and slaves to work for the Buddhist monks. When conditions are hard, these slaves revolted and form their own secret societies under the disguise of Buddhism and Taoism, the scholar named these societies ‘the secret folk cult’ (民間秘密教門). Some of these cults that existed until today are ‘the cult of white lotus’ (白蓮教) and ‘Yi-Kuan-Dao’ (一貫道). It is not surprising that good folks can get confused with one of these cults with orthodox Buddhism.


The original Buddhist activities in China didn’t involve rituals or chanting, but only translation and teaching of Buddhist canons. Without referring in detail into actual history, Chinese emperors added many rituals and then followed by officials, monks and scholars and hence give forth the Sino-Buddhism that we have today.


For a more faithful study of the actual Buddhist canon, one has to refer to the Theravada Buddhism, i.e. the one now active in Sri Langka, Burma and Thailand.


I think ‘not eating’ meat is very much circumstantial as Tibetan monks do eat meat and Thai monks is allowed to consume meat as they cannot refuse whatever is offered to them. Then and again, the folk cults also encourages non-meat diet.


The view on animals is quite interesting. The reason the Buddha insisted that only the rebirth as a human is of best choice is that, only human understands Buddhism; not the animals and that was about 2000 years ago.


All in all, some confusion and misconceptions can arise due to the improper interpretation of religious canons; this is not limited to Buddhism specifically. Cunning folks intentionally deviate from such doctrines to serve their own purposes; the Chinese emperors are just one example so to speak.



  1. Can you shed some light on Mahayana Sutras? Many thinks that its not from historical Buddha Gautama. Thank you , sir.

    1. Mahayana Sutras have too many exaggerations which are contrary to the Buddha's teaching of 'no lies'. The original teachings of the Buddha are already hard to trace but I think the Theravada system is much authentic.