Is Buddhism an Opiate for the People?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Is Buddhism an Opiate for the People?

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:24 am

lyndon taylor wrote:I suppose by the same criteria, education would be the opiate of the masses, anything that promises a better life by completion of its programme(education) would have to be an opiate. Or maybe our criteria are completely wrong and Buddhism is not the opiate, or education......

I've gotta disagree.
Anything that promises a better life by completion of its programme (education) but does not deliver improvements would have to be an opiate. That's what opiates do - offer a period in la-la land but drop you back in exactly the same dukkha afterwards ... with maybe less money and poorer health.
Education demonstrably does deliver benefits. So does the dhamma. In both cases, the more you put into them, the more you get out of them.
The original quote is from Marx: "Religion is the opium of the people". The wikipedia page about it - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_of_the_people - is thought-provoking, especially Charles Kingsley's take on it, "We have used the Bible as if it were a mere special constable's hand book, an opium dose for keeping beasts of burden patient while they were being overloaded, a mere book to keep the poor in order," which is actually a critique of the way religion was being abused and perverted by the Establishment of the time.

:reading:
Kim
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Re: Is Buddhism an Opiate for the People?

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:43 am

Some would argue that here in America that's exactly what education can do !!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Is Buddhism an Opiate for the People?

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:12 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Some would argue that here in America that's exactly what education can do !!!!

Sad but true. As I said, "the more you put into them, the more you get out of them." Both education and religion can be used poorly, or subverted outright and become "opiates" or, in the worst case, instruments of oppression. That still doesn't mean that the thread's question, "Is Buddhism an Opiate for the People?" should be answered in the affirmative.

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