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Criticism of Buddhism facts for kids

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Gautama Buddha
Dalai Lama


Nyingma Kagyu Sakya Gelug


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The criticism of Buddhism is much like the criticism of any other religion. It is mainly done by people who do not agree with what the religion says and what it believes. The criticism often come from agnostics, skeptics, materialist philosophy, people who follow other religions, or by Buddhists who want change.

Not true to Buddhist principles

Criticisms include some beliefs that are only found in some Buddhist cultures and institutions. These are not all true to original Buddhist principles. Sam Harris, a New Atheism supporter, and believers in Buddhist meditation say that many followers of Buddhism treat it as a religion in the wrong way. They say that their beliefs are often "naive, petitionary, and superstitious". ("Petitionary" means making a petition, or a request, as when asking for help.) They think this stops the followers from living the true Buddhist principles.

Some critics say that Buddhist followers and leaders have been interested in property and money. They think that they are corrupt and are more interested in wealth and power rather than Buddhist principles. There have been many scandals involving teachers in Western Buddhist groups.

War and violence

Michael Jerryson believes that Buddhism has been connected to government since its start. He thinks that the inability to understand the idea of a country without Buddhism leads to a kind of religious nationalism. He feels this is found in many Buddhist conflicts. In medieval Southeast Asia, there were many Buddhist states. These included the Pagan Kingdom, the Sukhothai Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. In Sri Lanka, modern monks often took part in the politics of the country. They did this even though the Buddha only believed in helping others make their own choice in the government. Peace activists such as A. T. Ariyaratne have also used Buddhism for ways of doing things.

East Asian Mahayana Buddhists also often get money from the government. The Zen priest Brian Daizen Victoria wrote in his book Zen at War that Buddhist groups justified Japanese militarism. He said that they helped the Japanese Army on the battlefield. Because of the book, several groups said sorry for their actions.

Accusation of violence

After the 2008 problems in the Tibetan area of the PRC, China claimed that the Dalai Lama helped to create the problems and violence. A Chinese spokesperson said that a large number of guns and explosives had been found in monasteries in the capital of Tibet.

Feminist criticism

Buddhism has been criticized because it treats women as less than men. This mainly deals with women monks. Most schools of Buddhism have more rules for bhikkuni (nuns) than bhikku (monk). Buddhists say that in the time of the Buddha, nuns had more problems like their safety. Monks often traveled around in the forest and between cities. Because of this, more rules were created for nuns, for instance: nuns are not allowed to travel alone.

At the 2007 Hamburg congress, The Dalai Lama said that men and women have equal rights, but at times, culture affects how things are done.

Related pages

  • Criticism of Christianity
  • Criticism of Islam
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