Some Buddhism criticism(from a former Buddhist), My practice and withdrawl story + criticism
Hi guys! I quit Christianity in hopes that i would rid myself of mind disease forever to only eventually be lured into Buddhism(another mind disease). I guess i could not live without meaning and a new set of beliefs which is i think quite natural to humans(human, all too human!). What attracted me at first was their anti-god and anti-Christianity attitude that prevailed throughout the followers that seemed to nurture my own hate towards those concepts.
Back then i was still a little brainwashed into thinking that there must be a true religion of some kind of divine origin, an ultimate truth. Basically i was still naively led by my desire of order. I feared chaos that would result in a world where everything is permitable and there is nothing that punishes that bad deeds or rewards the good. My mother being very "spiritual" conditioned me to desire to stay within the label "spiritual". I figured maybe Christianity was wrong but some other religions were not. I sleeked meaning and order so hard that eventually i was lured into the beautiful myth of Buddha who was enlightened and shared that objective truth of reality with us. I was promised happiness, rewards in new life and this one. I was promised answers that i could find myself.
I learned the four noble truths, i learned of many traditions and being quite philosophically inclined i found myself spending quite a lot of time trying to understand all the teachings. I learned to meditate. Back then i had many questions but i had faith that the Suttas and the Meditation will give me answers. A year passed and then another. There were only more questions and more contradictions but i still had faith. The hierarchy was supposed to have all the answers and it took me a long time to realize they didn't.
While studying Buddhism and practicing i found myself become more passive, less human, sometimes depressed and even contemplated on suicide(purely logically and mostly driven by the first noble truth - life is suffering). I was conditioned more and more to have aversion towards life and that only practice will save me - not even death can liberate. Right now i see many traditions of Buddhism as a direct road to suicide if only one element is removed - rebirth. The fear of rebirth is the only thing that keeps many Buddhist from suicide. I even know a few friends whose relatives suicided dew to Buddhism. The interesting fact is that whilst i was semi-depressed and passive i knew that i was supposed to be "happy" as seen on pictures of Buddhists masters. They always market Buddhism as the road to happiness. So i lived the illusion of happiness. I denied any feeling of unhappiness and pretended i was. Sometimes when i got way too depressed i just thought that it was due to my lack of practice and that only Buddhism would make me happy.
Any criticism of Buddhism i just rejected with some arbitrary and obscure quote that deep inside i knew was not really understood by anyone. They all claimed truth was "beyond words" and i believed them. Every time the quote did not make sense i thought that the truth was beyond so i just blindly accepted them. After a while i intellectually understood all the concepts like no-self and co-dependent origination and the four noble truth and the rest of it. But what hit me much later is that those concepts were not that "deep" or helpful. They were just some concepts by some philosophers that may or may not be helpful but i took them as some kind of divine truth. I reached some progress in meditation but i soon admitted that in fact i hated that state- it was a state of a veritable where life looses all color.
I pretended as if Buddhism was some kind of secret to life and happiness, some kind of sacred knowledge that only a few had karma to understand. I even got some Buddhist friends that i went to Buddhist class with and i found them acting happy even tho they weren't but i denied what i was seeing.
My cure was started with a book - an autobiography of one of masters where he explains that he is just a regular human and other make him to be all that. I started doubting the whole hierarchy. Another trigger to make me question was my best friend who couldn't take it anymore seeing what Buddhism was doing to me and just openly criticized me intensely. At first i got angry but now i thank him from all heart.
Soon another college semester started and luckily i was taking Psychology, Philosophy and Anthropology. I was faced with concepts like relativism, neurology, materialism, epistemology and i was learning to be more skeptical and "outside of box" type thinking.
My interest in Psychology and Philosophy grew and i found myself to be quite intelligent and talented in it. I still have hard to believing that back then i was a Buddhist - how the hell did i fall into that trap? I consider myself intelligent but i guess it has little to do with that. It is just a play on our desires of order and meaning. We fear chaos, uncertainty and permanent death.
The next and final step was Nietzsche, Sarte and other Existential philosophers that knew perfectly well how i felt and showed me another way to cure it - through freedom, choice and responsibility. Through individuality and facing of truth, through accepting rather then running away. Through giving life my own meaning and my own goals. Through new ideals.
Belief in magical karma.
Aversion towards life.
Belief in Enlightenment.
Mindfulness as promised to cure all problems while generally only creating more strain on the mind.
Meditation being promised a cure for many psychological problems which it never solves or does only temporary.
Belief that life IS suffering.
Belief that desire is bad causing people to get depressed(no desire = depression easily)
Non-dual teachings that make people passive, indifferent and easily fallen under suppression of government(although always denied and instead marketed as being a source of compassion, truth and wisdom).
Master-student relationship where student follows everything blindly.
Belief that all bad things are caused by Karma and that one should not be cured but left to suffer to "purify" oneself.
Impossible ideals that only cause inner tension as they go against our nature and cause us to suppress the shadow to amazing extent.
False hope given to people.
Constant chase of happiness resulting in paradox because when you chase happiness it causes sadness. Happiness only happens as byproduct but never as the goal.
Thinking of this reality as almost hell(what Nietzsche would criticize as other worldly religion)
Everything Buddhism promised had only resulted in the opposite effect.
If anyone had similar experiences - please share. Any comments are welcome except if you are gonna tell me that "i just got Buddhism wrong and misunderstood". I was one of these people telling others this kind of comments and believe me no- i got it right. I studied Buddhism long and hard and gave it plenty of chance. I was always leading philosopher in all my Buddhist classes.
Today i am very glad to be free of it. I am much more happier, realistic and enthusiastic about life. I am a Psychology/Philosophy major and perhaps psychology had became my religion but hey at least it is practical.