|Censorship was so much easier before books became electronic|
It's a common tactic of many religions, and sects within religions, to attempt to censor all criticism of themselves, and by extension to stifle all competing world views. The motivation for this censorship is the religions' inability to defend their doctrines against both rational criticism, and criticism from equally irrational but doctrinally different religions and sects ('infidels' and 'heretics').
Fortunately, most forms of Buddhism have never needed to eliminate dissenting views by persecution, as the Buddha himself set the example of encouraging free enquiry.
Buddhism has always encouraged a free market place of ideas and vigorous philosophical debate, since one of the best ways to understand the strengths of a philosophy is to attempt to refute it.
Kadampa Thoughtcriminals and Unpersons
However, recently, in a regression from both the enlightened views of the Buddha and the enlightenment values of western philosophy, Reddit has placed a complete ban on any reference to the Buddhist New Kadampa Tradition (NKT).
The enlightenment ideal of a free marketplace of ideas defended the freedom to choose, or the freedom to express one's opinions even if those opinions might be considered unorthodox or unpopular, and it stressed the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them.
Censorship is an attempt to remove material from the public domain, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, censors are an insidious threat to freedom of speech and choice.
|If you can't burn it, ban it|
Why target the NKT?
The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) is a highly successful branch of Mahayana Buddhism that has developed a modern presentation of the Madhyamaka teachings, designed to be accessible to ordinary people living in the 21st century.
The NKT's success and its modernising approach may have attracted the jealousy and disapproval of some of the more hidebound reactionaries within the Buddhist establishment, and because they are not able to refute Kadampa Teachings, they may have decided to censor them with a clumsy attempt to impose internet gagging wherever they have the influence to do so.
The 'justification' for their censorship is based on completely unfounded rumors that the NKT is funded by the Chinese government. In fact, the New Kadampa Tradition is an international nonprofit organization registered in England as a charitable company (Registered charity No.1015054, registered company No. 2758093), so any such Chinese financial support would be very apparent in the accounts, which under English law must be publicly accessible. Needless to say, the Redditors have been unable to uncover any evidence of Chinese sponsorship.
Poisoning the well
But even if the Chinese government were financing the NKT, this would still be an unjustifiable reason for censorship. If there's something wrong with the NKT's teachings, why can't the Redditors bring them into the open and refute them?
This logical fallacy of banning freedom of expression because the unwelcome information originates from an unpopular source is known as 'poisoning the well'.
Following this line of reasoning, one might equally ban all space exploration, satnavs and communications satellites, because the rocket technology on which they depend was financed and developed by the Nazis .
'Poisoning the well' is a generalised version of the ad hominem debating scam of avoiding discussing issues by launching diversionary smear attacks against the opponents.
Kadampa Buddhism - Forbidden knowledge?
Seeking to ban knowledge has always been risky, because unless the censors can impose a complete Orwellian information blackout, including concealing the very fact that censorship has occurred (as with the notorious superinjunctions which forbid any publication that an injunction has been applied), they risk increasing the public's interest in the ideas they are attempting to stifle. This, of course, goes back to the myth of forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.
Most people have never liked to have information deliberately withheld from them, especially by self-appointed busybodies and thought-police who think they know what's best for everyone else.
In the eighteenth century, the Pope inadvertantly increased the sales of many heretical books in Europe (particularly those of the Enlightenment philosophers and scientists) by placing them on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.
In the nineteenth century, a big sales pitch for books and theatrical productions in America was that they had been 'banned in Boston' .
In the 21st century, the internet has made the censors' job even more likely to be counterproductive. The computer scientist John Gilmore, said "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.". But it can go much further and turn into the censor's worst nightmare by making the censored information go viral. This has become known as 'The Streisand Effect', after one of the first highly publicized attempts to gag the internet.
Why is Reddit so keen to censor rather than debate Kadampa Buddhism?
If the Reddit hierarchy don't like Kadampa Buddhism, why don't they refute it, rather than risk exciting people's curiosity by attempts at censorship?
Why don't they bring Kadampa teachings out into the open, discuss them and disprove them? Is it that, like the compilers of the Index Librorum, the Redditors lack the intellectual capabilities and logical reasoning powers to refute their opposing views, or is it that the NKT's Madhyamaka philosophy is logically irrefutable?
So what would it take for the Redditors to refute Kadampa Buddhism? They need to prove that the underlying Madhyamaka philosophy is false, which requires them to refute at least one of the following tenets:
 The Madhyamaka is a process philosophy (a, b), in contrast to most classical Western philosophies which are substantialist. Madhyamaka philosophy regards processes, rather than things and substances, as being the fundamental basis of reality. It states that all functioning phenomena (agents capable of producing other phenomena) are impermanent, and ultimately have the nature of processes rather than things. The Madhyamaka accepts that some permanent phenomena exist, but these are non-functional (a).
 Since all objects and substances are susceptible to change, it follows that they have no stable, permanent internal identity that makes them what they are (a, b, c). They are said to be 'empty of inherent existence', and derive their identity purely from interactions with other phenomena (a).
 Consequently, our normal thought processes of thinking that things exist 'from their own side' are at best only working approximations to reality ('conventional truths'), and at worst delusions (a, b)
 Hence the Madhyamaka's process-view of physical reality leads to a rejection of materialism (a, b ) in the sense that material things are not ontologically fundamental, but are all reducible to temporary stages of physical processes. All particles are processes ( a, b, c) .
 Furthermore, although having no problems with the 'mechanistic' processes of physics, chemistry, biology and other sciences, Madhyamaka regards the laws of physics as being an incomplete description of reality (a, b, c) and incapable of offering any explanation for some mental processes, such as 'mental designation' ('intentionality' or 'aboutness') and qualitative experience (a, b). Thus as well as rejecting materialism, Madhyamaka philosophy also rejects physicalism (a).
 Minds are non-physical processes which interact with the neurological processes in the brain, and are correlated with them, but not identical with them (a, b). Minds are drawn to objects of attachment, including repeated associations with the bodies of different sentient beings, human and animal (a, b, c, d), and this cycle of biological rebirth into suffering is known as samsara.
By gaining an understanding the impermanent and delusory appearance of objects of attachment we loosen the grip of samsara, and by realising the true nature of phenomena our minds can ultimately escape from being endlessly captured and recycled by successive biological organisms - see Buddhist Philosophy
Since these tenets are difficult and perhaps impossible to refute, the only option open to the Redditors is to censor them.