MODERN BUDDHISM 2020: One Life, One world (พุทธศาสนารักวิทยาศาสตร์)

This is to announce the formation of a new Facebook group, under my moderation. The main inspiration for this group is to explore the possibilities for a Buddhism without rebirth or reincarnation, past lives, and the generation-jumping karma of retribution. For me that it is the elephant in the room of Buddhism, which nobody really seems to want to talk about (or maybe they do, but it gets contentious, so goes nowhere). ‘Secular’ Buddhists don’t talk about it, and ‘Western’ Buddhists don’t talk about it. So what makes them secular; what makes them Western? Beats me. Stephen Batchelor certainly talked about it in his book ‘Buddhism Without Beliefs’, though he skillfully left any conclusions open for discussion. And that’s the way it should be, really, a cozy middle path between ancient beliefs and modern, with plenty of wiggle room for everyone to feel comfortable, without confrontation, as orientations modernize at their own pace. There’s only one problem: the ‘re-birthers’ are doubling down. They’re writing books about the ‘case for rebirth’ and postulating ‘multiple feedback loops’ of karma.

So it needs to be discussed, defined, and decided, at least individually, because with unscientific beliefs Buddhism relegates itself to the status of a superstitious faith-based religion, rather than an empirical science-based philosophy and psychology. As the name of this group implies, this is the only life and the only world that I know, so I don’t want to speculate too much on any other. Thus, for me at least, scientific method is the best way to know the external world, subject to ongoing revision, and Buddhist insight is the best way to live my life, certain and inviolable, if forever evolving. They are two separate aspects of my reality: internal and external. This is my preference, since neither rebirth, past lives, nor karma can be proven any more than the Christian Heaven, Hell, or God, which the current Pope freely admitted. When will a Buddhist senior monk admit the same? If your feelings are similar, then you are welcome here, to post, comment, or just hang out. If you are just curious, feel free to participate politely. If you are contrary, please be careful and don’t step on anyone else’s feelings.

C U there: