Nihilism is to say that that there is only phenomena, that what the five senses (Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Touch) can know, and that there is nothing more, and that phenomena is all that there is. Nihilists say there is no Spiritual essence, no soul, no Nirvana, and no escape from phenomena, so “just learn to like it”.
Nihilism in the Zen Centers
Unfortunately, nihilism is rampant in most Western Zen Centers. There are many reasons why:
The teachers and or students are:
- Ignorant of the Buddha’s original teachings – The Four Noble truths and Eightfold path;
- Spiritually wounded on the topic of The Soul from prior Religions (Christianity, Judaism, or others);
- Afflicted by Theravadan Materialism – “Phenomena is all that there is, so just learn to love it”;
- They don’t believe they have a soul – Spiritual essence;
- Believe Zen is a Japanese/Chinese cultural religion and not a path of salvation
- Evil people (demons) who enjoy inflicting Spiritual wounds (suffering) on others are among them
- Wrong/Evil teachings – There are those Zen Centers that teach a Materialistic practice
Has a dog Buddha-nature or not
Many Zen teachers will say that anatman means “No Soul”. This is a misunderstanding that is often cited to support the Zen teacher’s already predisposition towards nihilism. The true meaning of anatman is referring to what is NOT THE SOUL, not that there is no-soul.
If there truly was ‘no soul’, then the Buddha’s teaching would have directly said that however there is no such teaching in Buddha doctrine. What we do find is the Buddha teaching what the soul is not ‘anatman’, “not a cup of tea, not the wind, not that tree over there” and such.
Finally, if there was no soul, then there would be nothing to Liberate, thus no way out of suffering. Therefore, those who claim that there is no soul deny the Buddha’s teachings and defeat the point of Zen practice. Such persons cannot be said to be a teacher of Buddhism or a Zen practitioner.
The Theravādins, those yellow robe-wearing monks in Burma, is a very old school of where their metaphysics existed before that of Siddhartha Gautama enlightenment of the nature of suffering and his sermons: The Four Noble Truths and The Noble Eightfold Path.
Theravādins essentially believed that all that you see, is all that there is; Materialism. Their doctrine of not-self (anatta) is often misunderstood, even by their own monks and teachers, as to mean ‘No-soul’, however, the true meaning is not fixed, not permanent or unchanging soul’.
This misunderstanding, unfortunately, propagates with those who already inherently disbelieve the teachings of the Buddha, and the Spiritual Liberation ontology. This has led to too many spurious teachings of Buddhism that even finds its way into the Zen Centers!
You bring your own doubts to the table
Many seekers of Buddhas’ liberation ontology and The Path of Zen, bring great doubts with them. Many spend years, decades, struggling with doubts. What exactly are these doubts?
- That there is a soul;
- That Buddha’s sermons are true;
- That they can find liberation, true bliss, and happiness
- That they are worthy enough of the teachings;
- That they can actually commit themselves to the Eightfold path
When these doubts solidify in a person, we see this played out as Vengeful Nihilism where they use any means to defeat the teachings of the Buddha and subvert the Path of Zen to just a cultural play-acting and nonsense. Can one think of anything more terrifying than when such a person becomes a Zen teacher, an officiant of Buddhism?
Doubts can easily solidify themselves, creating more ‘spiritual wounds’ that seem to take on ‘Life of their own, where you may see in yourself or in others, where the doubts totally consume one’s mind, speech, actions, and intentions
A being like that is known as a demon, one how is in a hell-prison of their own creation. For they not only inflict spiritual wounds on themselves, but they also inflict it on others to justify their own suffering. Such is a pitiful creature, and only with great care and skill can such a creature be returned to the Buddhas’ true path.
There are then times with such creatures gain control of the schools of Buddha, the Zen Centers, and create a hellish environment for all those who haphazardly venture in. Oh, I have heard the horror stories from Buddhist students about such teachers, and the terror they create, the deep spiritual wounds created.
For I also understand all too well, how hard it is to stand up (To be vigilant) to someone who claims “Authority” if simply because they wear robes, have a position in the religious order, and adorn themselves with holy ornaments.
The vicar of Buddha’s teachings
When one is soundly rooted in The Teachings of Buddha and The Path of Zen, one then easily becomes a Vicar “Defender of the doctrine” of Buddha.
Those whose teachings are spurious (False or twisted), can never stand up and defeat the real teachings of the Buddha, and they will always be defeated.
Do not be deceived by those who claim position, authority, wear robes, shaves head, or is holding religious ornaments.