Due to lack of time and ambition, I am stealing from a fellow wise
As always, if you are highly sensitive to any religion-dissing, please forego clicking the cut. I appreciate every reader I can get, and especially love my flisters ♥
~ and I never INTEND to insult, upset or offend ANY of y'all.
However, on Sundays I want ~ NEED ~ to just "let go." Thank you for understanding! :)
FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2007
From Sue Lessin, London, UK
Simon, I was wondering - seeing as you live in Thailand and are such an incorrigible atheist - how you feel about the military government planning to give Thailand an official religion by incorporating Buddhism into the new constitution?
SIMON SAYS ~
Since atheism is Buddhism's key precept, it doesn't sound too bad - no divinity, no supreme Creator, no all-powerful, all-frightening, retributing God - instead, the way to a better life is to hoist yourself up by your bootstraps.
Quite laudable really, and rather Thatcherish, except that the better life it proposes is nothing to do with globalism and market economy.
If you opt to give it a try, the first 5 of 227 precepts you’ll have to live by are…
Don’t harm people,
Don’t take what isn’t given,
Don’t have any naughty sex,
Don’t lie, and
Don’t get intoxicated.
I can't help but approve of the atheist bit, but I’m not too keen on no booze and no naughties.
But whatever the government decides, I doubt that much will change.
In Thailand it never does.
SATURDAY, APRIL 28, 2007
From Elissa Cruz, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
Simon Napier-Bell – you are sometimes correct in putting down people’s stupidity, but when discussing something as seriously beneficial to humanity as Buddhism, you should choose your words more carefully.
Despite being called a religion, I would rather term it a philosophy - a philosophy, moreover, which the world at large would benefit greatly from studying. It is a subject about which you should be more respectful. It demeans you to be flippant.
SIMON SAYS ~
Don’t ‘flippant’ me, you silly bitch.
Buddhism isn’t a philosophy, it’s a religion.
Philosophy is logical or creative thought applied to available information.
Buddhism has specific rules, and interpreting them your own way is not part of the setup - you have to believe it wholesale.
Buddhism directs you on a path to Nibbana which includes giving up desire (except, of course, the desire to achieve Nibbana). Once you’ve achieved Nirvana you’ll be free of possessions (except, of course, you’ll possess the mental ability to be in a state of Nirvana, a possession you’ll be anxious not to lose).
Buddhism’s fundamental weakness is its insistence that you ‘believe’ ~ that you follow its methodology precisely rather than sort things out for yourself.
Under its easygoing surface, it’s as dogmatic as the Catholic Church. And its high priests can be just as power-struck.
SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 2007
From Tracy Cunliffe, DirtE Records, London, UK
"seriously beneficial to humanity" my arse! don't these people have a sense of humour? you know what simon i've got mates who are buddhists and i think they're full of shit. they'll harangue you for swatting a fly but then happily tuck into a burger! like all religions, hypocritical as hell. plus they put across this front of being serene and non angry – yeah right! like hippies - repressed ticking time bombs. i really don't go with abstention (of anything!) no drinking, no 'naughty' sex', control, control, control. bollocks! surely the way forward is, as you say, to sort things out for yourself. as you can see i feel quite strongly about this. also, there’s nothing like a good rant on a saturday morning! xx
SIMON SAYS ~
Hi Tracy. In Thailand, as in Britain, serious religion hides behind an attractive outer cloak - the local church and vicar replaced by the smiling monk and gilded temple. For most people, Buddhism is connected with behaving decently and in a neighbourly way, and occasionally enjoying a wedding or a festival at the temple.
But this week we’ve seen hordes of self-seeking monks descend on Bangkok demanding that Buddhism be enshrined in the constitution as the state religion. When you see these arrogant self-seeking monks you realize you’re looking at the same old thing, be it Christianity, Islam or any other religion – pompous preachers of superstition.