Why people give up on Buddhism
Why people leave Buddhism:
- New Age and Secular Humanist mumbo-jumbo
- The blaming the student for their own confusion;
- Viewing that materialistic gains are the end-goal
- Denial of the soul, the soul-purification process, and the soul-liberation
- Anti-Buddhist teachings bearded as Buddhism!
- Ignorance of the Sangha (meaning the monastic school you belong to)
- The sangha itself does no study of real Buddhism
- Mistaking foreign culture and religious forms as the teachings,
- The sangha teacher is ignorant, not educated themselves, and just relies on dogma
- Reliance on assumptions, opinions and feelings rather than the actual Buddha’s teaching
- Denial of all of the above
- Whatever code of ethics and rules of the sangha are not being adhered to,
- Abuses of money, sexual conduct, and positions of authority
- There is no justice and no avenue for justice.
A Zen Center is just a school
Like any school, there is a charter that informs the students exactly what the school mission is about. Schools come and go, many that start fail.
Why a school fails:
- Lack of a clear mission; ambiguity and confusion as to what they teach
- The leadership is weak, non-existant or distant
- Lack of community support, often due to #1 and #2
- Hypocrisy and bad actors where sexual misconduct, financial misdeeds, power abuses occur.
- It’s a scam, and always was. The school was set up as a cash-cow in an affluent part of the city to pray upon the spiritual seeking of the wealthy.
I have seen senior students and teachers leave Zen Centers and Zen Buddhism all together.
Here is why:
- The organization brings in anti-Buddhist teachings (New age and secular humanism) to attract new people.
- Poor leadership, unclear mission and purpose.
- Hypocrisy and bad actors are allowed to flourish, no consequences for them.
- No clear and visible path for advancement and those who are advanced is arbitrary
- Lack of support from the students and community. Often for one or more of the above.
If I was to run a Zen Center
So, if I was to run a Zen Center I would:
- Clearly define the mission statement of the school
- Educate initiates as to our mission and methods
- Base our ethics and rules on Natural Law
- Formal students and teachers are given a clear path of advancement
- Have a just and fair grievance method to root out bad actors and hypocrites
- Be vigil and guard against anti-Buddhist teachings and heresy
- Adapt local culture and style to the Buddhist teachings (Buddha’s teachings are universal, beyond any culture or regional peoples)
- Gain the acceptance of the local community and their support.