When people I talk to adoringly refer to Buddhism as the “best” religion, I like to remind them of the underbelly of the institution. As Bertrand Russell (a prominent mathematician, philosopher and atheist) pointed out “All movements go too far”. The article and link below remind us that Buddhism is a movement and does not always live up to the Buddha’s teachings.
Institutions are formed out of the good intentions of people. But as time goes on, a movements mission is always undermined by the need to preserve itself. In Buddhism this is a particular problem. It is a fact that divisiveness is a necessary tool for perpetuating an institution. In contrast, Buddhism, at its essence, seeks to reconcile the whole with the individual. The self preservation objectives of an institution are necessarily an obstacle to this path.
And so we discover the need to clean out our assumptions bucket and release our attachments, especially to Buddhism!
As disciples of the Buddha who live in the West, we would like to take the holy month of Ramadan as an opportunity to express our growing concern about Islamophobia, both within our governments and within the Buddhist community worldwide.
In North America and Europe, the past decade has seen peaceful Muslim communities targeted by hate crimes, police profiling, and even challenges to their basic human rights of free religion and free assembly. The New York Times reports that the New York City Police Department infiltrated peaceful Muslim groups across the Northeastern United States for indiscriminate surveillance. The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Murfreesboro, Tennessee has faced vandalism, arson, and legal challenges opposing their new mosque, while France and Belgium have outlawed wearing niqāb in public over concerns about immigration, the status of women, and the diluting of European culture.