Two big reasons why people reject Christianity/Judaism:
- Religious Hypocrisy
- Sin during the week, salvation on sundays
- Do as I say, not as I do
- Gospel Inoculation
- Subjected to Dead readings of the bible (false interpretations)
- False gospels – verses lifted from scripter and used to manipulate people
This sets up the following mindset or Spiritual wounds as would call them:
- No-God thus No-soul,
- No savior, because there is nothing to save
When such a person comes to Buddhism, now known as ‘The Christian Reject’, they bring with them this callus and wounded soul, and demand that Zen and Buddhism be something other that what is its: A Path to Purify the Soul.
Buddhism and the soul
Buddhism, as taught by Siddhartha Gautama, clearly teaches there is a soul (atta/ātman).
All of the Pure Land schools of Buddhism teach there is a soul, otherwise there would be nothing to travel to the western pure land of Amitābha.
Only Zen since its meeting with the Beatniks of the 50’s, and later the Hippies of the 60’s took on this ‘No soul’ Humanistic reformation, whereas prior to this, Zen clearly believed in the soul and the path of purification of the soul.
The notion of ‘No-soul’ has never existed in Buddhist scripture or doctrinally.
The entire argument goes like this:
“Anatta means NO-SOUL, so there is nothing to purify, and therefore nothing to liberate, and nothing to be liberated from.”
The above is a complete denial of the Buddhas foundational teachings, however you find the above statement rampant in Buddhism today. Many claim that this is the Mahayana doctrine, however there is no such thing! Mahayana (Greater Vehicle) and Hinayana (Lesser vehicle) are classifications, not Buddhist Doctrine.
But, what if this is all based on a misunderstanding of ‘an-atta’?
Many people are not taught how to critically think or debate, and when they read metaphysical material of critical thinking and debates, they often take them wrongly! Thus the mistakes are created and compounded!
It is a myth that Zen students, monks and priest are educated, critical thinkers, sharp debaters and above intelligent over the non-zennist. It is a further myth that the Monasteries, the Zen teacher, or the Zen Center teaches the Zen student to be a critical thinker, educates in Buddhsit lore, and sharpens debate. In actually, none of this happens at all!
Yet, most Zen students come to the Zen centers terribly under-read and uneducated, and to shove at them metaphysical and religious materials and expect them to correctly understand them is not only absurd but downright criminal!
Soul denying moralistic humanism
Today, Zen is filled with books that are nothing but opinions, feelings and commentaries of Buddhist cannon from those who subscribe to the Humanistic reformation of Buddhism and twist the Sutras and Suttas to fit their Humanistic agenda.
All Zen students encounter these books and take them as to be Authentic Zen teachings and as what the Buddha Originally taught. But, they do not realize that these books are Spurious (false teachings) and based on a soul-denying moralistic humanistic philosophy, secular humanism, that denies the actual Buddha’s teachings: An liberation ontology based on wisdom.
An agenda-driven interpretations
Atta in Pali means soul, where as the prefix ‘an’ as in an-atta means ‘not the soul’, and this in Buddhism refers to what the soul-is-not, and not that there is no-soul. But as you can now see with the secular humanist twist to the teachings, anatta becomes “No Soul”.
Many soul-denying monks of the Theravada school intentionally defined ‘anatta’ to mean ‘no-soul’, and published this in western discourses on Buddhism in the 1920’s to 50’s when Buddhism was just starting to become of interest to the Western rebellious Christian-rejects, and thus the rise of what we know as Secular Humanism, No-God and No-Soul.
Now that we can to back to the original Pali ourselves, we now understand that those agenda driven interpretations are grossly wrong! The pali term anatta does not mean ‘no-soul’ rather it’s an adjective to mean what is not the soul.
In the Anattalakkhana Sutta the buddha tells the monks that; ‘your body is not the real you, not your real self, not who you really are, not your self, not the essence of your being, not your soul’.
The True-Self, your soul, cannot suffer, get sick, grow old, or die (these things you cannot control). Your True-Self is eternal and can be liberated (what you can control) from the manifold-existence-suffering (Samsara)
Zen and Secular Humanism
All of the Western Zen Centers promote this No-Soul, anti-Buddhist Secular Humanism screed, that is utterly useless! What of Zen in other countries?
Zen in Japan, as well as in Vietnam and Korea, believes in the soul as in the Pure Land teachings, something to be migrated to a better incarnation, and has abandoned the Buddha’s teachings that you can liberate the soul in this lifetime.
In my video on Pure Land Buddhism, the premise is the belief that the Buddhas true teachings are corrupted, and seeking a better rebirth in the Western Paradise through being ‘saved’ by Amida Buddha.
Zen/Ch’an in China absolutely believes in the soul, though is heavily suppressed under the Secular Humanist Chinese Communist Party.
But ,not is all lost! There is hope.
Secular Humanism in the Zen Centers often plays-out as the LARPing (Live action role playing) where the performing the cultural religious forms and methods are taught and emphasis, that always replaces any actual spiritual teachings of Liberation. In many ways, Western Zen can be correctly accused of worshiping cultural Zen!
Those who are Christian/Jewish rejects, find shelter in this secular humanized Zen Buddhism of ‘No-soul’ and therefore No-Soul purification needed. For the Zen-lite worshipers, this method gives them a sense of superiority over their former religious associations, because they believe they have arrived at spiritual transcendence just by performing the culture forms; and so in this way of thinking – there is no need to learn the actual Buddha’s teachings, and those that are presented are Secular Humanist sanitized rewrites!
“These are people who just want to jump to the end of the path, they just want enlightenment without doing any work” – A quote from a Zen student who saw Modern Zen for what it wasBut, there is hope! Those caught in the secular humanist Zen-lite worship of culture and methods, if they live long enough, eventually see the great mistake they have made. For the correct and true teaching of the Buddha is not lost, just covered up with layers of muck and useless junk that can be found when one truly is ready. And, there are people in the Zen Centers who have done just that and remain there to help others find the True Teachings of Buddha.