Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

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dharmapdx
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Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by dharmapdx » Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:57 am

I know this is not going to be a popular question. But at least with Nichiren Buddhism it’s probably pretty self-explanatory: any school that teaches that it is the only true school is by definition elitist and cliquey. I think Nichiren Buddhism may be the best example of what I’m offering to, but I have actually seen it in all schools of Buddhism, and it has been very disappointing. I used to be surprised that the younger generation in Asia is apparently not that interested in Buddhism, but after looking into at least the institutional basis of Buddhist schools, it’s no surprise at all anymore. (Maybe the fact that Buddhism is still relatively fringe in the United States means that it is more likely to attract a certain type of hipster/elitist person.)

I swear that this is not an attempt to start a flame. Just something I’ve come to accept about Buddhism for the last few years: most Buddhists I’ve met have not at all been humble, loving, and non-judgmental. Quite the opposite actually. (Oh, and don’t forget all the anger and defensiveness.)

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Nemo
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Nemo » Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:08 am

I see it very clearly also. You have 20 translators for every carpenter. Why is complicated. Buddhism does attract smart people. But also people with leisure who tend to be from a certain class.
"We aren't elitist. We are just better than other people."

dharmapdx
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by dharmapdx » Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:15 am

Nemo wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:08 am
I see it very clearly also. You have 20 translators for every carpenter. Why is complicated. Buddhism does attract smart people. But also people with leisure who tend to be from a certain class.
"We aren't elitist. We are just better than other people."
Thanks. I’m glad I finally worked up the courage to ask this question. Now occurs to me that education and income level may also play a part, at least in the United States. I think that most Buddhist practitioners in this country are very well educated and somewhat wealthy. This is where Nichiren Buddhism actually deserves some credit: it offers Buddhism for the little guy. But then Nichiren Buddhism offers its own form of elitism: saying that it is the only correct form of Buddhism. It’s all so disappointing and disillusioning. I have found most Buddhists — both native Asian practicing Buddhists, and American converts — so defensive and angry and just all-around “touchy,” that I don’t dare mention Buddhism to them at all.

smcj
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by smcj » Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:50 am

"We aren't elitist. We are just better than other people.
:applause:
https://soundcloud.com/user-730689343/chenrezig-puja
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

shaunc
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by shaunc » Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:59 am

Very similar in Australia. Strangely enough though originally in Japan many years ago nichiren Buddhism and pureland Buddhism were both designed to appeal to the working class.

Simon E.
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:41 am

It attracts no one whose karma is not ripening in a particular way. Or if it does they don’t stick.
This is no more elitist than the law of gravity. Or the second law of thermodynamics.
It just is.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:04 pm

I should add that my reply was concerning Buddhism in general because that is what the question asks. Whether the same answer fits Nicheren I have no idea.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Brunelleschi
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Brunelleschi » Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:33 pm

Nemo wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:08 am
I see it very clearly also. You have 20 translators for every carpenter. Why is complicated. Buddhism does attract smart people. But also people with leisure who tend to be from a certain class.
"We aren't elitist. We are just better than other people."
Sure, I agree.

Another factor I think is that Buddhism (Dharma) really elicits strong feelings in people. Because, you feel there's "something there" and so naturally you want to embrace it, grasp it, hold it, etcetera. Thus we get all the usual ego stuff coming up.

Secondly, I think alot of people drawn to Buddhism do it because they're not satisfied with life. Perhaps they didn't excel much in anything prior to encountering Buddhism. But now, they can be great meditators, feel like intellectuals etcetera because their heart's in it. This too gets thing moving. :stirthepot:

If your livelihood depends on Buddhism that further complicates things I guess.

Just my view.

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:46 pm

Brunelleschi wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:33 pm
Nemo wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:08 am
I see it very clearly also. You have 20 translators for every carpenter. Why is complicated. Buddhism does attract smart people. But also people with leisure who tend to be from a certain class.
"We aren't elitist. We are just better than other people."
Sure, I agree.

Another factor I think is that Buddhism (Dharma) really elicits strong feelings in people. Because, you feel there's "something there" and so naturally you want to embrace it, grasp it, hold it, etcetera. Thus we get all the usual ego stuff coming up.

Secondly, I think alot of people drawn to Buddhism do it because they're not satisfied with life. Perhaps they didn't excel much in anything prior to encountering Buddhism. But now, they can be great meditators, feel like intellectuals etcetera because their heart's in it. This too gets thing moving. :stirthepot:

If your livelihood depends on Buddhism that further complicates things I guess.

Just my view.
Which ignores the role of karma-vipaka. Which is Buddhism’s own explanation of its appearance in the life of any individual.
Reject that and any interest in Buddhism is simply as comparative religion. An academic curiosity subject to mundane processes and sociological theory only.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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well wisher
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by well wisher » Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:34 pm

smcj wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:50 am
"We aren't elitist. We are just better than other people.
:applause:
:twothumbsup:

It is true. I would say that Buddhist tend to be much more honest and humble and grounded im comparison than "extremely greedy selfish rich manipulative corporate executives" or "blind-faith extremely-judgemental zealots", that are obsessed with abusing and domination other people for more and more personal gain (albeit temporary in actual reality) - and seemingly never being able to be satisfied. And they will use any dirty tactics and ill-intentioned means to achieve their goals (eg, exaggerating lies, obfuscation, theft in all manners stealthy or not, psychological & physical harm threats, restrictive illogical policies, excessive charges & fines, Kangaroo fake injustice courts ...etc). At least many Buddhists I personally know of have much better ethics and morale to do such malicious actions too frequently! They simply know better.
These facts can be easily observe this very frequently in actual daily life, anecdotes from friends & family relatives, in the news, over the internet ...etc.. Especially true in the modern degenerate era, as many factual evidences does support the anecdotes that the daily life situation for the vast majority is getting worser and worser, not better.

The practices continues due to humility and honesty: in recognizance of the personal flaws and sufferings that still needs to be overcomed. Many Buddhist monks/gurus/teachers even also recognize their own shortcomings, honestly answering questions to students to their best efforts, and honestly stating they still have some mental fetters / roots of skandhas /etc.
Last edited by well wisher on Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Queequeg
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:53 pm

dharmapdx wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:15 am
But then Nichiren Buddhism offers its own form of elitism: saying that it is the only correct form of Buddhism. It’s all so disappointing and disillusioning.
I would suggest that the people who say these things don't actually understand the teaching. You're disappointed in a phantom.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Brunelleschi
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Brunelleschi » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:22 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:46 pm
Brunelleschi wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:33 pm
Nemo wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:08 am
I see it very clearly also. You have 20 translators for every carpenter. Why is complicated. Buddhism does attract smart people. But also people with leisure who tend to be from a certain class.
"We aren't elitist. We are just better than other people."
Sure, I agree.

Another factor I think is that Buddhism (Dharma) really elicits strong feelings in people. Because, you feel there's "something there" and so naturally you want to embrace it, grasp it, hold it, etcetera. Thus we get all the usual ego stuff coming up.

Secondly, I think alot of people drawn to Buddhism do it because they're not satisfied with life. Perhaps they didn't excel much in anything prior to encountering Buddhism. But now, they can be great meditators, feel like intellectuals etcetera because their heart's in it. This too gets thing moving. :stirthepot:

If your livelihood depends on Buddhism that further complicates things I guess.

Just my view.
Which ignores the role of karma-vipaka. Which is Buddhism’s own explanation of its appearance in the life of any individual.
Reject that and any interest in Buddhism is simply as comparative religion. An academic curiosity subject to mundane processes and sociological theory only.
Don't know where you get the idea that I ignore karma-vipaka. I see all this stemming from karma and its maturation. Seems more like you want to start an argument for argument's sake.

Edit: There's always different levels of analysis. My prior "analysis" was one level.

Simon E.
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:53 pm

I wanted to start an argument?
I would refer you to your own statements concerning the motivation of meditators, complete with “stirring” emoji.
I was pointing out that we can speculate all we want about what brings people to Dharma.. What know for a fact is that no one comes to a genuine practice of it unless their karma vipaka ripens that way.
Elitism is not the issue. And anyone who takes pride in their prowess at meditation will run out of runway pretty fast..or become a cult leader.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by narhwal90 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:57 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:53 pm
dharmapdx wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:15 am
But then Nichiren Buddhism offers its own form of elitism: saying that it is the only correct form of Buddhism. It’s all so disappointing and disillusioning.
I would suggest that the people who say these things don't actually understand the teaching. You're disappointed in a phantom.
Concur. A reasonably close reading of the gosho will provide a very different view. Polemical quotes get a lot of press but they are a small part of the story.

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Brunelleschi
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Brunelleschi » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:10 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:53 pm
I wanted to start an argument?
I would refer you to your own statements concerning the motivation of meditators, complete with “stirring” emoji.
I was pointing out that we can speculate all we want about what brings people to Dharma.. What know for a fact is that no one comes to a genuine practice of it unless their karma vipaka ripens that way.
Elitism is not the issue. And anyone who takes pride in their prowess at meditation will run out of runway pretty fast..or become a cult leader.
Right, the "stirring" emoji was meant to convey that meditation and practice can temporarily "stir up" alot of feelings and emotions. There are usually several motivating factors - we're complex creatures. I'm talking about my interpretation of mainly my own experience and faults.

If this is about some issues with opinions I've stated in other threads then kindly post in those threads.

Simon E.
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:14 pm

It isn’t. Please see my post above. It’s about what brings people to Buddhism. I don’t recall reading any of your opinions before today.. :shrug:
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Sonam Wangchug
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Sonam Wangchug » Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:32 pm

We can have a worldly analysis of it, but if someone has enough merits, I believe they will meet with the Dharma regardless

There are plenty of Dharma-bums
"To have confidence in the teacher is the ultimate refuge." -Rigzin Jigme Lingpa

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Vasana
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Vasana » Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:42 pm

I think the karma and elitism topics are obviously related in that beings need the karma to meet and then decide to stay with the dharma but that doesn't then mean those who chose to stay can't then go on and address any unnecessary elitist dynamics in the hope of some kind of reform...or at least talk about it on the internet.
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying

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justsit
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by justsit » Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:51 pm

So this thread is in the Nichiren forum but the title just says "Buddhism."

Just so we're clear - are we discussing Nichiren only, or Buddhism in general?

Simon E.
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Re: Why is Buddhism so elitist and cliquey?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:56 pm

I assumed rightly or wrongly from the phrasing of the observation that it was addressing Buddhism generally, but had been posted in the Nichiren forum?
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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