Up From Buddhism


From 2003, John Horgan explains why he gave up on Buddhism:

...what troubles me most about Buddhism is its implication that detachment from ordinary life is the surest route to salvation. Buddha’s first step toward enlightenment was his abandonment of his wife and child, and Buddhism (like Catholicism) still exalts male monasticism as the epitome of spirituality. It seems legitimate to ask whether a path that turns away from aspects of life as essential as sexuality and parenthood is truly spiritual.

From this perspective, the very concept of enlightenment begins to look anti-spiritual: It suggests that life is a problem that can be solved, a cul-de-sac that can be, and should be, escaped.

Daniel Florien adds:

I’ve never found Eastern religions attractive, even when I went through my anti-Western culture phase. Doctrines of reincarnation, detachment, karma and the like have always struck me as ridiculous or wishful/dreadful thinking.

(Photo: Dibyangshu Sarkar/Getty.)