Beware of Buddhist side-effects: Peace, Love, and Understanding…

IMG_2290Like a new drug, when trying out a new religion, philosophy or belief system, it’s probably wise to ask about any potential side-effects. Of course sometimes those ‘side-effects’ turn out to be something not anticipated, or imagined, and maybe even far better than what was intended. The history of pharmacopeia is full of such examples, when the ‘side-effects’ of a drug led to new usages that yielded great benefits to the healing processes—and perversions—of human beings..

This also happens in the case of new ideas. Who knew that John Stuart Mills’ evocation of the ‘invisible hand’ of the marketplace would yield not only an Industrial Revolution of textiles and iron, but a digital revolution of gigabytes and live streaming, the former populated by skyscrapers and fashion, the latter by instant worldwide communication and virtual realities intrinsically internal…

And Buddhism is no exception. What started out as a call to reduce suffering by reducing desires has become something far more than that, in almost inverse proportion to the Christian call to love one’s neighbor as oneself and its resultant Industrial Revolutions of time and space, by some circuitous method still not well understood, even as we live it…

And Buddhism plays out almost the opposite, though the original social intent is almost identical, to do good and avoid evil. So some of the side-effects of Buddhism are a reduction of noise, aggression and consumption in favor of silence, conciliation and sustainability. And whether that is cause or effect, i.e. whether the Asian mentality created Buddhism in its image and likeness or whether Buddhism created that Asian mentality is probably superfluous, and obviously circular reasoning…

Especially now that we know that the genome of the Aryan people who defined Buddhism, at least in its early phases, is largely the same as the European genome that defined Christianity, at least in its later phases. It seems that the ‘mass sub-conscious’ that rules from within is not so much different, from place to place, and from time to time, and from doctrine to doctrine…

How things play out is much more important, especially in this era when societies are consumed by back-biting and in-fighting, and the best that our belief systems can tell us that if we don’t like it, then we can change it (Christianity) or adjust to it (Buddhism). So I could care less, really, about whether Buddhists believe in God or not, or whether Christians believe in a trinity of Gods or whether they have three-Gods-in-one…

I’m much more concerned about the outcome, something is which highly unpredictable. Bottom line: the current outcome of Christianity is chaos, consumption and aggression, even if its best days were all about love, growth, and creativity. On the other hand Buddhism is all about silence, adaptation and harmony, even if the bad old days included much too much renunciation, stasis and denial…

These are the good ol’ days for Buddhism, and that’s why I’m Buddhist. I make no claim that it is intrinsically better than Christianity or anything else. It’s just that the full effect of its vision and its realizations couldn’t be seen clearly until now. Like socialism, its previous incarnations were simply way ahead of their time. That time is now…

And if the positive benefits on a personal level are palpable and penetrating, which I think many of my friends can easily attest to, I think that the social benefits can even go much farther, and possibly even be the savior of our species, which is largely in the death throes of its own suicide, by overdose, even as it celebrates its golden days. Rome fell almost overnight, and Christianity couldn’t save it. Buddhism now deserves its chance. That’s why I’m Buddhist…