The book, an easy way to discover a tradition, or not!
Him: I've always been interested in Buddhism, I've read a lot, mostly positive and inspiring works. Also, for once, I wanted to unearth a book that was bound to bother me. Ah! this need for contradiction!
Her: Like everyone else!
Him: Yes, that's it. I can't help but find suspicious a philosophy, a religion that is difficult to criticize. There is a paradox worthy of Karl Popper!
Her: You and your skepticism! It's true, Buddhism seems to suit everyone, at least in the forms it takes here! And, I'm the first concerned… I remember the beginnings of my practice, proud to succeed with difficulty, but rather quickly, in a half-lotus, and to affirm that I was a Buddhist. I had no recoil.
Him: Yeah, me neither. I probably missed reading no criticism of Buddhism, but we don't have our Ernest Renan (1) of contemporary Buddhism!
Her: Think again! There is someone who smashes Buddhism as it is taught in the West, and who says "worse than hang"... It makes a lot of noise in the middle...
Him: Oh? Who are you talking about ?
Her: The title is: What have they done with Buddhism?, and the subtitle drives the point home: An uncompromising analysis of Western Buddhism. The author sounds the charge against Buddhism, she says, "misguided by the West, as it is practiced in France, Europe and the United States". Her name is Marion Dapsance, she has a doctorate in anthropology at the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes, and taught the history of Buddhism at Columbia University. This pedigree gives him a certain credibility to feed a critical-erudite-international, legitimate thought on the subject. At least in appearance, because, in fact, not necessarily!
Him: What does your specialist say? This is perhaps the book that will reconcile me with my rational and skeptical self.
Her: Certain aspects of the book speak to me and question me. It recalls, for example, the late arrival of meditation in the original practice of Asian Buddhism, and that certain very ancient texts confer a magical and supernatural dimension on the figure of the Buddha. This Buddha is, for her, the opposite of the image of the philosopher that the West has retained, which she considers as an invention of Western intellectuals who discovered the East and its religions in the XNUMXth century.
Him: You who like to investigate, you didn't stop there, I suppose!
She: No, I got information from specialists and historians of Buddhism. Those I have met explain that meditation has always existed in Buddhism, under various names depending on the country and time; and that the magical side of the Buddha was a symbolic way of expressing to as many people as possible the incredible "performance" of the Buddha who freed himself from the causes of suffering in a few years. As for Western practitioners, some believe that Buddhism is a religion, others a philosophy and in no way obscure the reality of existence, quite the contrary. Also, it seems obvious that under the pretext of denouncing what she calls a “perverted and “creolized” Buddhism” and more particularly Tibetan Buddhism, there is something else, implicitly, behind her remarks.
Him: That is to say?
Her: There's a chapter on abortion that makes me uncomfortable, another rather delirious one on Buddhism, champion of a deadly Transhumanism, and here and there, spades against multiculturalism, humanism, the decadence of the modern world, the theosophists, freemasons and freethinkers who discovered, used and diverted true Buddhism to put it at the service of their secular war against the Church!
ÊBeing an informed reader means asking yourself who the author is and where he is talking about!
Him: Yes, his remarks also intrigued me, I watched his career. She does a lot of conferences for the association Terre et Famille. It is an association for the promotion of medieval Christian life, clearly anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-modernist...
Her: Bingo! One wonders if Buddhism is really his center of interest. That said, you don't need to read this book to take a step back. Just pay attention to the news. When you see what the Burmese Buddhists do to the Rohingyas, or the revelations of the Zen monk Brian Victoria on the terrifying role of the Japanese Buddhist clergy in the crimes of Japanese imperialism, it is obvious that our critical sense must remain alert. Being a Buddhist can also show common sense!
Him: The real question is probably: what does it mean to be a buddhist? Do I finally need to be stamped “Buddhist”?
Her: You're right! I am not drawn to Buddhism to live a desperate quest for serenity and happiness. This is another thing. My “Creole” Buddhism, which is an abjection for this author, testifies to my spiritual identity: modern, mixed-race, ambivalent… And corresponds to me.
Him: Yes, we are creole Buddhists and proud of it! Finally, I come to wonder if my daily practice of fifteen minutes of Mindfulness by listening to guided meditations on apps brings me closer to Awakening, away from burnout, or makes me a victim more or less less aware of modern spiritual marketing…