Sunday, 19 May 2013

Meditation 'opens the mind to possession by demons and evil spirits'

She meditated too much

From the Huffington Post 
Eden Kozlowski teaches a secularized version of Buddhist mindfulness meditation in businesses and educational settings.  However she's meeting resistance from Christians who believe that the 'mind is evil',  and 'clearing the mind opens a gateway to demonic/evil forces, thoughts or actions.'

Apart from the risks of demonic possession by Satan and his minions, they claim that  "As a Christian, mindfulness goes against my theology, as it is a Buddhist practice."

She  counters this by arguing that 'It is true that mindfulness has roots in Buddhism. However, the mindfulness that is typically taught in business and academic settings is completely Westernized. It is purposefully devoid of spiritual or religious connotations and focuses simply on the act of awareness. And if you want to take it to a level that we can all relate to and understand, at its core is stress reduction.'

Attendees at a meditation class

The article raises a number of issues, apart from the obvious superstitious paranoia about the unknown:

(1) Meme-clearance

One of the effects of meditation is to clear memes and memeplexes (parasitic mental processes) out of the meditator's mind.  It may be that the leaders of some of the more control-freaky Christian sects realise this, and don't want their carefully-nurtured memes cleared out of minds of their brainwashed adherents. 'For the good of your religion, think less'.

Original sin

(2) In addition, some of the  more extreme Christians believe that the mind is evil.  

Literalist Christians believe in 'original sin', which was passed down from Adam and Eve to all their descendants as a result of their eating the apple.  Consequently, literalists believe that our minds are fundamentally evil from the time of birth, even if we do nothing wrong.

So from this point of view, any exploration of the mind will inevitably mean exploring corrupt and demonic regions of experience. This evangelical belief in the fundamentally corrupt nature of the human mind
is incompatible with Buddhism, which  sees the mind as ultimately pure, but temporarily clouded by defilements, like a clear blue sky obscured by clouds.

The evangelical view of the mind

(3) Can you really secularize Buddhist methodology by cherry-picking one part of the system and trying to keep it isolated from the rest?


'Here's a bunch of round red sweet things. We're going to examine them, feel them and eat them. But please don't ask where they came from
and what they're actually called, or what the hard thing in the center is for. And if you find any green bits attached to them, take them off immediately '   

Don't mention the B-word!

Isn't it likely that once people have begun to explore their minds, curiosity will lead them to learn more about the philosophy of what they're doing?
So should Buddhist techniques of mind-management be presented without any reference to their origin?  Is this a form of plagiarism? 

It's Buddhism Jim, but not as we know it!

Or is it skillful means to sneak dharma teachings into the secular business establishment under the radar of the religion-detectors?   If people learn a little about meditation techniques, might they want to find out more? 

(4)  Fruits of the tree
Returning to the fruit-picking metaphor, perhaps the Buddhophobic evangelicals should take Jesus' advice and judge the tree by its fruit, which in the case of meditation includes...

Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Cutting healthcare costs

Alleviating Depression

Reducing adolescent stress

Purification of Guilt and Negative Thinking 

Treatment of Alcoholism 

The webcrawler in your mind.

TIP - If some aspects of Buddhist beliefs seem unfamiliar, obscure, or confusing, then bear in mind that Buddhism is a process philosophy.   Difficult aspects of Buddhism often become much clearer when viewed from a process perspective.







Anonymous said...

The author of this article seems to be very ignorant in christian theology, nobody (except maybe sects) say that the mind is considerated evil in christian theology, it's a lie or a lack of knowledge. The human mind is considerated to be good (as christian God created the man as good) but polluated with an evil germ that leads to make man attired by the evil, if he doesn't fight against it. Sorry for my bad English.
Next time, try to educate yourself before accusing, it's not very buddhist.

Anonymous said...

Another thing, considering the fruit, some are good, and some are bad (but strangely, you didn't mentioned the bad ones...) meditation can lead to acute psychotic problems and acute depressions, there have been many many cases, often from person who had absolutely no psychotic background in their past, it's well documented in medical studies. You have to be honest, not partial.

Anonymous said...

You are the one who is not honest.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic article. Christian churches(there is really no or at least so little exception it needn't be mentioning)teach that every other religion absolutely is of the devil/evil. From Catholics to Pentecostals and in between it is all the same. Most devotees of the Christian religion don't even realize the history of the various parts of Christianity that are borrowed and repackaged and resold to them on Sunday. Cult television with a Christian base like Benny Hinn, TD Jakes, TBN, among others teaching that healing of the body and salvation(from the great vague sin that one never actually committed)comes from not creating a healthy mind, but from accepting that someone else's suffering can alleviate yours. All of the contractors who build luxurious mansions in heaven for people who accepted Jesus on their death bed should possibly consider going on strike as enabling dependence and other such things considered sins is not best for man. Meditation is an essential part of life. No matter who you are or where you are, when you begin, you start on the path to understanding.