Sometimes I almost wish I were actually more tempermental, so that when people declare that Buddhism teaches that suffering is optional, and thus that people can just choose not to suffer, I can bitch slap them and then ask how they're doing on choosing not to suffer. There are a lot of reasons this irritates me. The biggest is that it's just so mean. Look, if someone is hurting, telling them that the only reasons they're hurting is that they're doing it wrong is really judgemental and annoying.
Stepping back... It's hard for me to not see it as pretty naive, particularly in that comfortable middle class life sort of way. I might be missing a few points, here, though. I've noticed recently that my assumption tends to be that people are compassionate, unless there's something getting in the way of that compassion... and I gather from a few conversations that this is probably a gloss at best. I tend to expect that if people have the time and energy, they'll care what's going on with other people. I tend to expect that the more experience you have with pain, the more sympathy you will have for others in pain. And that if you have a clue, you'll try to meet people, especially people who are in pain, where they are.*
And perhaps it especially pisses me off because there are so many readings of buddhism (I mostly hear them from western non-buddhists, but suspect the capacity to be assholes is pretty universal) that are victim blaming and awful. Hm. I guess I'll cut over to a conversation via twitter, eliding the name of the guy who set me off. (It's entirely possible he was trying to be helpful... though ugh, it's hard for me to see how thinking this could help would be other than seriously clueless. Also, it's all on twitter.) So this is just all me ranting.
> I am a Buddhist, and, like woah, this has to be one of the most corrosive misreadings of Buddhism ever.
> Being a Buddhist isn't about turning yourself into an invincible superman who judges others for feeling pain.( Read more... )