Thursday, 8 April 2010

Buddhists, Dawkins and Gays worried by Islam in Europe

Stop the Warsaw Megamosque

The rapidly accelerating growth of Islam in Europe has produced a few unexpected alliances: Buddhists have joined Polish Nationalists in protesting the construction of a Mosque in Warsaw; atheist Richard Dawkins is having second thoughts about the collapse of Christianity in Britain, and the English Defence League - vilified by the Islamists as a bunch of football hooligans - has formed a gay division.

Islam is programmed to destroy Buddhism and exterminate gays.

Posters in Warsaw

Buddhists join Polish crusade against Megamosque in Warsaw
The Polish activist group Europe of the Future held a protest on 27th March against the proposal to build a new Saudi-financed mosque in Warsaw. The predominantly Catholic Poles objected to the fact that the Saudis could build triumphalist mosques in European capitals, but Christians were not allowed to build churches or even possess Bibles in Saudi Arabia.

Interestingly, a Buddhist organisation played a leading role in the protest. The organisation is called Diamond Way and is headed by a Dane named Ole Nydahl. Members of the Diamond Way organisation were prominent in TV coverage of the demonstration against the mosque.

Ole Nydahl is quite forthright about the Islamic menace to all other religions. In a 2008 interview he was asked: "In your view, is there a redeeming value within the Abrahamic religions?" To which he replied:

"The Abrahamic religions, the ones that follow our constitution, treat women well, don't blow up people ... Judaism and Christianity are fine. Islam, I warn against. I know the Koran, I know the life story of Mohammad and I think we cannot use that in our society today. "

Buddhists don't normally criticise other spiritual paths, but it's OK to tell the truth about Islam because Islam isn't a spiritual path, it's a contagious mental disease like rabies. Islam has destroyed Buddhism wherever it has had the power.

Islam has destroyed entire Buddhist civilisations. And of course the Poles have also suffered from Islamic attacks, but unlike the Buddhists they have always beaten them back, most notably at the siege of Vienna where a Polish army under Jan III Sobieski saved Christendom from annihilation

Why the Czechs have a better understanding of Islam than Western Europeans

Richard Dawkins views Christianity as a bulwark against Islam
Christianity is in decline in Europe as a whole, and has collapsed in Britain in particular, leaving even the most committed atheists wondering what is going to fill the spiritual vacuum.

From The Times:
"Even among the world’s most famous atheists, the crisis of faith among Christians in Europe has been met with concern.

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said: “There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”

Peter Tatchell, the human rights campaigner and one of the organisers of the Protest the Pope demonstration at Westminster Cathedral last weekend, came to the defence of a Christian street preacher who was fined £1,000 in Glasgow for saying that homosexuality was a sin.

Shawn Holes, a Baptist from America, was charged with “uttering homophobic remarks” in a breach of the peace that prosecutors said was “aggravated by religious prejudice”.

Mr Tatchell said: “The price of freedom of speech is that we sometimes have to put up with opinions that are objectionable and offensive. Just as people should have the right to criticise religion, people of faith should have the right to criticise homosexuality.”

It is a sign of how bad things have become that the faith’s enemies seem now to be defending it."
More at

Gays respond to Islamic attacks by joining EDL
British LGBT have responded to the vicious anti-gay jihad being waged in London and other Islamified cities by joining the English Defence League, which in its early days had something of a macho redneck image. But it now has a Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Division campaigning against increasingly violent homophobic attacks by Muslims.

The EDL is also attracting growing numbers of Sikhs and Jews who are also coming under attack as the Muslim population rises. The only safe place to wear a yarmulke or fly an Israeli flag in Britain now is at an EDL demonstration.

The ever-increasing influence of the Ummah in Europe

To the Ummah, we are all 'najis kafirs'
European infidels are beginning to realise that if we don't hang together, we will all hang separately. First they'll come for the Jews, then the Gays, and eventually the Buddhists, Christians, secularists and everybody else.

A Predatory Warrior Cult
Coercion, intimidation, thuggery
and outright terrorism are 
intrinsic and essential features 
of Islam. 

Islam is so intellectually moribund

and ethically repulsive 
that it cannot compete for followers
in a free marketplace of ideas, 
but must eliminate its competitors 
by whatever means may be necessary.

Sexual humiliation, pedophilia and gang rape of infidels
Humiliation of 'Kafirs', especially by sexual humiliation and gang-rape of their women and children, is extremely important to Jihadists, with Islamic child abductions and gang-rapes being a feature of jihad in such widely different locations as Iraq, Russia, Nigeria, Britain, Switzerland, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Burma and Bangladesh. 

In fact, these attacks seem inevitable wherever packs of sexually aggressive predatory Muslim males are able to get access to vulnerable kafir women and children. [a b c d e f g h, i, j , k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r s t, u, v, w x y z, a1, b1, c1, d1, e1, f1, g1, h1, i1, j1, k1, l1, m1, n1, o1, p1, q1, r1, s1, t1, u1, v1, w1, x1, y1, z1, a2, b2, c2 , d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2, j2, h2, i2, j2, k2, l2, m2, n2 , o2, p2 ,q2, r2, s2, t2, u2, v2, w2, x2, y2]

Of course there are pedophiles, rapists and sex pests in all communities, but they normally operate as despised and isolated loners. Only in Islam is there widespread community approval for such activities as a form of jihad against the hated kafirs, and so only in Islamic areas are organised pedophilia and gang-rape unchallenged threats to kafir women and children.   This is the new normal in once civilized areas of Europe.

Islam is a brutal, hyper-masculine, barbarian, tribal warrior cult that glories in machismo, murder, mutilation, gang-rape, genocide, terrorism, destruction and anarchy.

Islam is as ruthless as the rabies virus in ensuring is own propagation. It appeals to the lowest motives in human nature, with its divine approval for murder, sadism, extortion and rape in this life, and the promise of an afterlife spent in Allah's brothel in the sky with 72 subservient virgins.

Women, girls and all the feminine aspects of human nature are chattelised and subjugated. Weakness is despised and seen as ripe for predation. Women and children are gang-raped, and kuffar captives and defenseless minorities tortured and slaughtered.

With its institutionalized misogyny, Koran-sanctioned wife-beating and prophet-inspired pedophilia, Islam is a predatory, bullying, domineering, gang-raping despoiler and destroyer of all that is beautiful, spiritual, gentle, peaceful, innocent and vulnerable.

In the face of this militant all-conquering savagery, Buddhism doesn't stand a chance!

Update July 2017  Dawkins banned from radio for Islamophobia 

See Also

Islam will Destroy Buddhism

Islam will Dominate - The Islamic Threat to Buddhism

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Chesterton on Mysticism

Mysticism permits the twilight

"Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of to-day) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that.

"Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such as thing as free will also. Thus he believed that children were indeed the kingdom of heaven but nevertheless ought to be obedient to the kingdom of earth. He admired youth because it was young and age becsuse it was not.

"It is exactly this balance of apparent contradictions that has been the whole buoyancy of the healthy man. The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand. The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid."

— GK Chesterton

One foot in fairyland

"The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid." - this is reminiscent of Gödel's incompleteness theorem, which states that any consistent system of axioms whose theorems can be listed by a computer program is incapable of proving certain truths about arithmetic.

In other words, any consistent computable formal theory which can prove some arithmetic truths cannot prove all arithmetic truths. Or, if an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within itself, then it is inconsistent.

As mathematics is the very foundation of our understanding of the physical universe, Gödel's theorem suggests that there may be an unsolvable mystery or irreconcilable paradox at the very heart of reality.

For a discussion of why the mind is a non-physical, fundamental aspect of the universe which is not derived from anything else, see Confronting Materialism and the Delusion of the Mechanical Mind.


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Himalaya Exhibition London, from 8th Feb 2010

Himalaya Exhibition combines art and photography to give an introduction to the cultural forces and trends flowing through the present-day Himalayan Region.

Further details here 



Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Tibetan language -Howtheuseofwhitespaceinprintingcouldhelpreaders

BREATHING SPACE: How Word Separation Can Save the Tibetan Language

By Tenzin Dickyi (from

The Tibetan language, like an asthma patient in a dust storm, is gasping for breath. Although Tibetan children born and raised in locations as geographically disparate as Lhasa, Dharamsala or New York may grow up speaking Tibetan as a first language, they’ll almost certainly write it as a second. As long as Tibet remains a colony of China, this will not change. For Tibetan students inside Tibet, the language of professional success is now Chinese. For Tibetan students outside, it’s English. Disadvantaged by the system, Tibetan is inevitably neglected.

For the fate of Tibetan as a spoken language, the result of this neglect is so far minimal: as the language of home and hearth, it surrounds us in infancy and we grow up speaking Tibetan as our mother tongue. For Tibetan as a writing system, however, the result of this neglect is devastating: Tibetans of our generation do almost all of our reading and writing in a foreign language and almost none in Tibetan.

When young Tibetans trained outside the monastic system – who constitute the majority – cannot write a decent letter in Tibetan or read a sentence without tripping over at least three words, we have a crisis at hand. What’s to be done?

The root of the problem is quite simple: we cannot write Tibetan well because we almost never read Tibetan, and we almost never read Tibetan because it is so difficult to read it. And there’s one very simple way to immediately ease the difficulty of reading Tibetan: word separation. Adding a space between words so that we can see each word as an immediate discrete unit having visual meaning will simplify the daunting task of reading Tibetan script overnight.

In fact, this is what people throughout the world have been doing with other writing systems. Ancient Greek and Latin were written in scriptura continua, which is continuous script without spaces between words. Paul Saenger, the distinguished scholar of medieval writing practices, asserts that it was only at the end of the seventh century that Irish monks began to introduce spaces between words into medieval manuscripts, and it took several centuries for this practice to be adopted as standard. (Paul Saenger argues that it was this “aerated” script that led to the development of silent reading as we know it.) This space between words, also called whitespace, is now ubiquitous across many writing systems. Even Hindi, previously written in continuous Devanagari script (the base from which Thonmi Sambhota devised the Tibetan alphabet and writing system) is now spaced. Korea’s Hangul, previously continuous, is now generally spaced. Ethiopic, which like Tibetan uses the interpunct, the dot – although they double it, like so (:)- is increasingly written with a space between words... FULL ARTICLE


Thank goodness English has a perfectly logical writing system.



Sunday, 24 January 2010

Was the Buddha a CONSERVATIVE???

Excerpt from an article by Robin of Berkeley...

"Now that I think about it, I started becoming a conservative the moment I picked up that book by Trungpa. The Buddha's teachings are deeply conservative.

Given that Buddhism got me started on the straight and narrow, I was puzzled when Brit Hume urged Tiger Woods to switch from Buddhism to Christianity. As a Christian, Hume reasoned, Woods would find a path to forgiveness and redemption.

As a spiritual seeker, I'm a big fan of Christianity. I've attended two services -- one Catholic, and the other primarily black and evangelical. I loved them both.

But Buddhism is a fiercely moral path too, even though it is not God-centered. There are severe consequences in the next life for sins this time around. Act like a snake, and come back as one. (Tiger, are you listening?)

Whether a person calls himself a Buddhist or a Christian doesn't matter anyway if he doesn't walk the walk. Obama's bio states that he's a Christian. But his administration doesn't exactly exude Christian brotherhood.

The Buddha would never excuse Tiger's lying and cheating ways. But the problem is that Buddhism, like everything else, has been co-opted by political correctness and leftist dogma. Contemporary Buddhism resembles little of what the master taught.

Today's teachers communicate a don't-worry-be-happy kind of a vibe. Curiously missing is the number-one principle of Buddhism: that life is suffering."

"In Berkeley, for instance, the latest craze is a Joy class, taught by a popular Buddhist teacher. Thousands have already attended the course, where Joy Buddies are assigned to make sure you're on the happy trail.

The Buddhist magazine Shambhala Sun likes to mix leftist ideology with ads for pricey yoga retreats. Right before the election, the Sun published an article entitled "The Meaning of Barack Obama," which declared that if you didn't vote for Obama, then you were in essence an unenlightened boob.

In the magazine's next issue, liberal icon Alice Walker blamed the U.S. for all the bad karma in the world. Left out of the equation were countries like Uganda, Sudan, Cambodia, China, and Cuba, which have some serious explaining to do in the karma department."


As the Buddha lay dying, he uttered these final words:

'Be a lamp to yourself. Be an island. Learn to look after yourself; do not wait for outside help. Only truth can save you. Work out your salvation with diligence.'

The Buddha stood for hard work, restraint, and honor. Sounds like a conservative manifesto to me."

'A frequent AT contributor, Robin is a recovering liberal and a psychotherapist.'

Full article at 



Friday, 15 January 2010

Bodhisattva vows - an antidote to depression and mental illness

Bodhisattva Padmapani

By Eric Klovig, Ph.D from

Crazy and Free--A Million Lifetimes

Taken from The Oak Tree in the Garden (Journal of the Hidden Valley Zen Center)

Eric Klovig, Ph.D., is an experienced Buddhist teacher of Vipassana. He generously shares his personal story below:

'Nearly 30 years ago I brought great mental and physical suffering into my first three-month-long meditation retreat. There would be many more three-monthers over the years, but for a while that fall it looked as if there would not even be one. Even though I had plenty of good external support at that retreat, I was suffering so much that I felt I would have to leave. That prospect brought desperation; I didn't know where else to turn.

Then one afternoon, as I walked outdoors in solitary walking meditation trying to hold this desperation, a thought came seemingly from nowhere and struck deeper into my psyche than anything had ever done before: If it takes a million lifetimes, I will free this heart from its suffering! Almost 30 years later I remember precisely where I walked when this thought came. Because it set so deep, I knew immediately that the outcome would be inevitable: This heart will be free! There has never been a doubt about the matter since. An unshakable resolve had set itself, one that supported me to stay at that retreat, and also to face many more difficulties in practice and in the rest of my life.

Bodhisattva Guan Yin

Years later that purpose widened. I took the bodhisattva vows of Mahayana Buddhism, even though they were not part of my own Buddhist tradition. Since then I have tried to make my last thought before I sleep, and my first thought after waking, these words: For as long as space and time endure, I will abide to relieve the suffering of living beings. For me the question of purpose has been settled forever. This, my only real purpose, is the true north star that guides everything in my life.

Do you sense the forceful strength of such purpose? It can support you through the challenges of spiritual practice. It can also support you through the grave challenges of mental illness, and indeed can change for the better your relationship with illness. For example, unshakable purpose likes this acts as a direct antodote to the futility, despair, and sense of meaninglessness that depression hawks as false truth. It also cuts through the solipsistic self-absorption that comes as baggage with all mental illnesses.

Recently, in the midst of a bad bout of PTSD, I watched a movie that depicted grievous human suffering. As the credits rolled, I thought, "My task is to relieve the suffering of living beings. So let's get on with it!" Remembering and renewing my purpose propelled me out of self-absorbed PTSD pain into service again.


The webcrawler in your mind.

Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation Alleviates Depression better than drugs

Teens meditate to reduce stress

Vajrasattva purification of guilt and negative thinking

Rational Buddhism



Buddhist Practices for Peace of Mind

Daily Lamrim

Kadampa Life 

Kadampa Working Dad

Glossary of Buddhist Terms


Leading Buddhist author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has released the authoritative Modern Buddhism into the public domain as pdf files and eBook formats.

The book is downloadable in three volumes free of charge.

Topics include:

Volume 1 Sutra
- Introduction
- Paths of Initial, Middling and Great scope
- Bodhichitta, Love and Compassion
- The Six Perfections
- Emptiness of Body, Mind, Ego and the Eight Extremes
- Conventional and Ultimate Truths
- the Union of the Two Truths
- Lamrim

Volume 2 Tantra

- Introduction to Tantra
- Correcting Misunderstandings
- Relation of Sutra to Tantra
- Tantra of Generation Stage
- Tantra of Completion Stage
- The Subtle Body: Channels, Drops, Winds and the Mind
- Mahamudra
- Great Bliss
- Heruka Body Mandala
- Instructions of Vajrayogini
- Yogas of Sleeping, Rising and Experiencing Nectar

Volume 3 Prayers for Daily Practice

- Liberating Prayer
- Prayers for Meditation
- The Yoga of Buddha Heruka
- Blissful Journey
- Quick Path to Great Bliss
- Liberation from Sorrow (Prayers to the very popular female Buddha Tara)
- Avalokiteshvara Sadhana

- Glossary
- Bibliography
- Study Programmes of Kadampa Buddhism
- Tharpa Offices Worldwide
- Index
- Further Reading

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Teens meditate to reduce stress

From Times Online

Pupils at a leading public school are to receive weekly 40-minute classes in meditation and stress relief in a ground-breaking addition to the school curriculum.

Schoolboys aged 14 and 15 at Tonbridge School, in Kent, were given their first lesson yesterday as part of a course designed with psychologists from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

The project — the first to introduce meditation skills as a regular subject on the curriculum — has been designed specifically for adolescents and comes after the success of a pilot study at the school last year.

The “mindfulness” course for Year 10 pupils will last for eight weeks. It is designed to develop skills in concentration and to combat anxiety, showing teenagers the benefits of silence and helping them to identify and escape corrosive mindsets that could lead to mental health problems such as depression, eating disorders and addiction.

The course develops other exercises to help to improve attention — rather than allowing the mind to be “hijacked” by emotional issues, regrets, worries about the past and future and other distractions. This can be done in a number of ways, such as by focusing on breathing, parts of the body or movement.

Mindfulness originated in Eastern meditation traditions such as Buddhism but is now an established secular discipline. A growing body of research supports wider use of the approach to address transient stress and deeper mental health problems, including recommendations from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence that it be offered on the NHS to patients suffering from depression.

The project is a collaboration with staff at Charterhouse and Hampton schools — with both institutions planning similar schemes — as well as the Mindfulness Centre at Oxford and the Wellbeing Institute at Cambridge.

Richard Burnett, a divinity teacher and housemaster at Tonbridge who is leading the course, told The Times that the course demanded a “culture change” in the perceptions of silence for teachers and pupils.

“One of the things about schools is that silence is associated with power — the teacher tells the pupils to be quiet. What you need to do is convey the idea that silence is a positive activity to be savoured and enjoyed,” he said.

He said that while some children involved in the trial had been sceptical, most had embraced the challenge that it posed in the classroom. The pupils said that they hoped to use the mindfulness in the future to help to battle anxieties and to put things in perspective. They also said that they found it helpful for getting to sleep and becoming less nervous about school cricket matches.

Mark Williams, director of the Mindfulness Centre at Oxford, said that Tonbridge was the first school to introduce a full meditation course in a practical rather than academic context.

Professor Williams said: “This is not about converting people to Buddhism, but showing there is scientific evidence that these practices are useful. So why deny them from being used?”

In March Tonbridge is to host a conference, with Professor Williams as a speaker, that aims to encourage mindfulness uptake in schools.

Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said that mindfulness training also offered the chance to take proactive steps to avoid depression and anxiety in later life.

“These problems have their roots in early life, so if you can learn techniques when you are young you might never have a breakdown,” he said.

Staying focused

• The first lesson, being run this week, is described as “puppy training” — comparing the mind with a puppy that needs to learn how to “stay” and focus on one thing, rather than running around in a distracted fashion

• Other stages of the course include establishing calm and concentration; recognising rumination; developing present-moment awareness in the everyday; slowing and savouring activities; stepping back from thoughts that hijack you; allowing, accepting and being with difficult emotions; reflection and making it personal

• It uses figures from popular culture to help to explain the benefits of mindfulness, including rugby player Jonny Wilkinson, who uses meditation techniques to help his concentration when kicking for goal, and Po, a lethargic panda who transforms his attitude in the Dreamworks’ film Kung Fu Panda

• Each class has one 40-minute lesson a week, with a weekly MP3 file of mindfulness exercises that they are encouraged to listen to before evening homework


The webcrawler in your mind.

Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation Alleviates Depression

Bodhisattva vows - an antidote to depression and mental illness

Rational Buddhism



Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Where do pets go when they die?

Does a dog have Buddha nature?

Grieving for dead animals and rituals to strengthen your karmic bond with your dead pets.

A recent article on the BBC website discussed how people grieve for the death of a pet.

Many of those facing up to such sadness want spiritual reassurance. When humans die, many religious relatives have the consolation of their belief in an afterlife, however in the case of deaths of animals no such consolation is available from the Abrahamic religions, where funeral rites for animals would be considered blasphemous.

There have been recent attempts to fill the gap left by the neglect of the spiritual welfare of animals in these religions, which do not normally recognise the spiritual and karmic significance of the human-animal bond.

Traditionally, the Abrahamic religions state that only humans have souls, whereas animals are automata (biological machines) whose minds cease at death.   

Joseph Rickaby SJ, an influential Jesuit theologian, said that animals had no souls, no rights and no feelings and were no more than automata - like clocks - and if they squeaked or made noises when damaged this was equivalent to the mechanical sounds a clock would make if it fell to the floor and was similarly damaged.

In contrast, the Buddhist view is that animals' minds survive death just as humans do.  All sentient beings (creatures that experience suffering and happiness) have non-material minds. Consequently, the funeral rituals to help pet animals in future lives are essentially the same as for humans...

Powa Ceremony Transference of consciousness for the deceased
"We understand that throughout this world millions of humans and billions of animals die every day from so many different causes. If these living beings have the opportunity to take rebirth in a Buddha’s Pure Land they will attain permanent liberation from suffering and experience pure and everlasting happiness.

Our practice of this powa offers them this precious opportunity. By engaging in this practice we ourself will create a great collection of virtue, which will also lead us into the pathway to the Pure Land of a Buddha.

We perform this powa practice on behalf of those who have recently died, traditionally within forty-nine days of their death. As preparation for this ritual practice we begin by arranging beautiful offerings such as candles and flowers. On a piece of paper we write in red ink a large letter ‘R’, which symbolizes the contaminated rebirths of all the deceased. We attach the paper to a stick to resemble a flag, and place this flag in a suitable container such as a small vase. We also prepare a candle, which should be placed on a flat plate. Both the flag and candle should be arranged on a table in front of us.

When we engage in this practice in a group, it can begin with a senior Dharma teacher giving some practical teachings about how to develop compassion for all living beings. When we engage in this practice individually, we should generate compassion for all living beings by remembering how they experience immense suffering. Then, with compassion for all the deceased throughout the world, we perform the following stages of the ceremony:

1 On behalf of the deceased, we accumulate a great collection of virtue and merit. We do this by making prostrations and extensive offerings to the holy beings, so that the deceased gather the necessary conditions to take rebirth in the Pure Land of a Buddha.

2 On behalf of the deceased, by sincerely making requests to Buddha Vajrasattva with the recitation of the hundred-letter mantra, we purify the four main obstacles to their taking rebirth in the Pure Land of a Buddha. These obstacles are their non-virtues and negative actions created (1) physically, (2) verbally, (3) mentally, and (4) by their body, speech, and mind together.

3 Through the power of our compassionate intention, strong prayer, and concentration on the practice, we transfer the consciousness of the deceased to the Pure Land of the Buddha of Compassion so that they will experience pure and everlasting happiness.

4 Through the power of our concentration on the final special ritual practice, together with the mantra recitation, we create a special auspiciousness for the deceased to attain permanent liberation from samsaric rebirth.

More here

Pure Land

General background at  Buddhist Philosophy

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Collateral damage

Xenophobia or militant secularism?

In earlier posts I blogged about the danger of the rising European backlash against Islam producing collateral damage to harmless 'foreign' faiths such as Buddhism, due to guilt by association and cultural xenophobia (here and here) ...

"... Nevertheless Buddhism may suffer collateral damage from the growing European fear and hostility towards Islam. Xenophobes who know little about Buddhism may suspect it of being a similarly violent and barbarous Eastern cult, purely on the grounds of originating 'somewhere east of Suez, where the best is like the worst, Where there aren’t no Ten Commandments and a man can raise a thirst.."

A plague on both your houses
Well, now there is hard evidence that hostility to Islam is indeed causing collateral damage to other religions. However the surprising aspect is that Christianity is being hit, according to The Telegraph:

"The British public are concerned at the rise of Islam in the UK and fear that the country is deeply divided along religious lines, according to a major survey.

More than half the population would be strongly opposed to a mosque being built in their neighbourhood, the study found.

A large proportion of the country believes that the multicultural experiment has failed, with 52 per cent considering that Britain is deeply divided along religious lines and 45 per cent saying that religious diversity has had a negative impact [...]

David Voas, professor of population studies at Manchester University, who analysed the data, said that people were becoming intolerant towards all religions because of “the degree to which Islam is perceived as a threat to social cohesion” [...]

While 55 per cent say that they would be “bothered” by the construction of a large mosque in their community, only 15 per cent would be similarly concerned by a large church.

Nevertheless, the research found considerable suspicion towards those of any faith who hold deeply religious views, while there was a widespread reluctance to see matters of faith intruding into the public sphere.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of Britons believe that laws and policy decisions would be worse if more politicians were deeply religious - almost double the number who think that they would be better. "

Threat or opportunity?
So rather than driving British people back to their Christian roots, the anti-Islamic backlash is making them increasingly secular and hostile to all religions. It may be that in Islam they see an exaggerated caricature of the worst features of the other Abrahamic religions, which they subconsciously tar with the same brush.

Whether this represents a threat or opportunity for Buddhism is difficult to interpret. It certainly makes a case for Buddhism marketing itself in Europe more as a philosophy and/or psychotherapy, and less as a 'religion'.

Also, as people become more aware of the other Abrahamic religions in addition to the one they were brought up in, they realise that each of these faiths makes exclusive truth claims that invalidate the others.  Of the six Abrahamic religions (Protestantism, Catholicism, Sunni, Shi'ite, Judaism, Mormonism), at most only one can be true, and no amount of interfaith dialog is going to alter this. And if at least five of these faiths are false, maybe all six are.


Rational Buddhism

Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation adopted by British Health Service

Islam will Dominate

Shared Heritage - Hellenism, Humanism and Rationalism

What next... Zenophobia ?