Viewing of Sexual Acts as DirtyThe Abrahamic religions are frequently criticised as being critical towards sex, but guess what – the Buddhist teachings in Malaysia does this as well. It is said that women are “dirty”, masturbation causes diseases and disorders, and homosexuals are considered as abnormal and in one book – viewed as the cause of AIDs. I realise that this isn’t true Buddhism, but here in Malaysia, it is preached as such.
Reincarnation – Where’s the scientific evidence?Buddhism teaches that all beings have an eternal soul, as opposed to a finite body. When we die, we are reincarnated into another body. The exact realms in which we will be born into is determined by our karma. Despite the wishful belief of reincarnation, there is little (if any) scientific evidence for it, and I choose not to uphold this belief. I will explain the problems of the soul in my following posts in detail, but for now, let’s just say that the brain is the core of consciousness, not the soul, and that we cannot survive materialistic death.
Karma – It’s simply superstition.Karma, or known as “报应 (bao ying)” in Chinese, is core to Buddhism. Karma, in its most basic form is simply cause-and-effect, in which no one can deny in its existence. But for Malaysian Buddhists, it goes one step further.
Here, karma takes a supernatural meaning. It is all to familiar to hear: “You’re going to hell for lying”, “Curse people and you will be reborn with a crooked mouth”, “Look down upon people and you shall be reborn as a ghost”, “If you do bad deeds, accidents will fall upon you” etc. Karma in this context moves way beyond casual determinism. It’s like a omniscient, omnipotent force, constantly monitoring what you do, and blessing you with prosperity or cursing you with accidents and deformations if you do “bad” things. I know that’s not the best analogy, but the word “karma” is quite different from the deterministic cause-and-effect model.
Evolution – Not Compatible with the Six Realms of ExistenceThe Six Realms of Existence is the one of the core beliefs of Buddhism. There are the realm of the Devas, which are blissful; Asuras, which are more blessed than humans but full of rage, anger, and jealously towards the Devas; the realm of Homo sapiens sapiens; the realm of the Animalia kingdom; the realm of Hungry Ghosts, where they are always hungry and suffering, with a fire-like sensation burning in their throats; and Hell, where “bad souls” get punished for what seems like an eternity through fire, metal birds pecking, dismembering, metal snakes going through one eye and coming out of another, and in the case of the Uninterrupted Hell, it lasts for 3.39738624*1018 years long. Alright, I’m getting off-topic.
A main problem I have is the distinction between humans and animals. Yes, we have evolved advanced thinking abilities in contrast to other members, so we are different from most animals in that way. But from when, I ask, are we to be considered human? Homo sapiens? Homo hablis? Australopithecus? Ardipithecus? What about Neanderthals, who co-evolved with Cro-magnon? The fact that Homo sapiens have only existed in the last few ten thousand years when life existed for billions of years makes the sudden distinction between the 2 realms even more illogical. And I’m not going into why bacteria, plants, and other living organisms were left out.