Buddhism in decline?
Comment, The endgame of Tibet
28.04.09 at 2:47 pm ·I don’t really want to give the impression that any of the mainstream forms of Buddhism are operating at a high level these days. Even in the Sangha, skilled meditators are exceedingly rare. It seems strange given that meditation is so intimately connected with Buddhism, but they were complaining back in the 15th century that few could attain any level of samadhi:
It is quite common to meet monks that don’t even know their own scriptures that well or even how to meditate properly:
At this time, I had the opportunity to meet many Sri Lankan monks and, after long conversations with them, I realized that many of the writings I had been studying in Burma were actually commentaries on the Pali texts, rather than the original texts themselves. The monks said that , upon close examination, some of the ideas conveyed in these commentaries are somewhat different from those contained in the original suttas. Surprisingly, one monk even suggested that I disregard the commentaries and go straight to the Pali texts for the best teachings. Another teacher showed me how to meditate as described in the suttas-a method remarkably different from the forms I had learned.
One issue is the habit-forming nature of many spiritual traditions that become stylized, repetious and prone to inducing mechanized consciousness rather than meditation.
Also, Tibet is a mystery, with a hidden something/who. I have always smelled a rat here, but the disinfo is impenetrable. I think there is perhaps no rat, just a hidden something. Still I have had moments of suspecting occult villainy at work.
I think we can guess in general what it is: the Buddhists were defeated in India and took refuge in Tibet, where a kind of dance of the Boddhissatwas preserved a tradition in cold storage, with only occassional actual realizations of that. Rajneesh once complained loudly that the last Buddha in Tibet was Milerepa, that after him it became a spiritual desert!
There’s the catch in Buddhism: you get shunted into a Boddhissatwas path, which means you are in a kind of meditation treadmill, producing an endless number of formalized spiritual states, none of them the real thing. ??? Is this unfair?
The fate of Tibet may be right under our noses: the last generation has seen the migration of the outer, and perhaps some inner, culture of (Tibetan) Buddhism, in the process provoking its globalization, and ultimately its renewal in some new form, some new religion, or something else.
We can’t figure it out, but armed with the eonic effect we can be sure that the ‘tank of gas’ given Buddhism in the Axial interval of the eonic sequence is running on empty, and the form altogether is suffering chaotification.
Buddhists themselves said as much, but they didn’t anticipate that they would be cast into such a negating secularism that would, as with the Chinese in Tibet, seek only its destruction. Small wonder the Buddhists took time out from meditation to fight back.
But we need to see that form can conquer substance and that this can be fatal to a meditative tradition. You get up and meditate in the same posture, at the same time, everyday, day after day.
Consider what sufis do: they change their physical habits at regular intervals, over and over. They don’t bother to meditate. They just change the motions of the body.
(or steal baraka from others who do meditate).
Try breaking a habit, changing physical routines. It causes momentary fluctuations of consciousness almost at once.
But the ‘new age’ theme is the key here, in the sense of the eonic effect which shows the alterantion of religions, and their renewal in each successive period. The problem is that people can’t solve the case of the ‘new’. They simply wish to repeat the old.