This is only one example of one Buddhist. I am not going to make the mistake of generalizing in the sense of “this is what all Buddhists believe”, but I think what this particular Buddhist believes is fairly ridiculous, and is plausibly what happens when you take one of Buddhism’s “noble truths”, that is, “seek to end suffering”, to its fullest extent. This is what they said:
“A dying person can suffer horribly from wishing to survive.
My sister’s a nurse and once described an 80-something year old man screaming in terror while he was dying. Had he lived (which includes the dying process) with greater mindfulness, and less clinginess, he might have
had some dignity and peace in his last minutes; he might have had a less ugly impact on the others around him. ”
Even someone who is not entirely skilled in critical thinking may take offense to that statement. I am usually never offended, and I don’t understand why people generally get offended over minor things, but I can at least understand why people would be offended by that statement. The reason they would be offended is because it is placing a highly unrealistic expectation on a dying person. They may have had some experience with a dying person; perhaps a family member. If so, then this statement would, very probably, turn them to anger.
This is an incredibly useless thing to say. First of all, who, aside from someone who is overly concerned (need I bring up “mindfulness”) about how others behave, would say this? Secondly, how on Earth can you expect a dying person to be thinking in any sort of manner that is to your desire – and yes I say “desire”? That is nothing more than incredibly arrogant, and should be dismissed as incredible arrogance. Thirdly, would not the same apply to those who would possibly be annoyed by his presence? Wouldn’t they likewise have to be “mindful”?
If this is the extent to which Buddhism is largely carried out (and I doubt all Buddhists believe what this person believes), then I will have nothing to do with it. This is the problem I have: that all suffering, major or minor, is considered equally bad and should be weeded out, regardless of how harmful it actually is. There is another example of something this person has said that is in my opinion equally despicable (depending on whether or not someone expects others to believe it too), and it involves the nullification of curiosity itself:
“But talking about Buddhism in a very general way cannot but come across as vague. And the point of it’s practice, in my understanding of it, is not to establish how the physical world is. In Zen at least, agnosticism is emphasized regarding that. “Don’t know mind” is preferred to a mind filled with opinions. The aim, after all, is freedom from bother with obsessing over this, that and the other thing. That’s “busy mind”. Life’s simpler to live and so contentment’s simpler to achieve when we don’t busybody over the artificial distinctions of what the bits-and-pieces of the world are. ”
Yet another ridiculous statement. According to this paradigm, having a mind filled with opinions is equally as bad as, say, suffering while starving to death. One should not have any opinions whatsoever and simply be content; because then the world would be a better place, as no one is thinking critically about anything. Under this view, we would have, and should have, never investigated any cures for diseases. We should have never done any science whatsoever, stayed in the caves, never even used fire itself. Why should we use fire? After all, the desire to be “warm” only brings more suffering. One should not care about whether or not one is “warm”.
Again, I am not saying this is what all Buddhists believe, but I sincerely hope they do not and this was only one example of one particular Buddhist. I had never expected such words to come from a Buddhist, but it turns out it is completely plausible just like with members of any other religion. For the sake of “anonimity” I will not be posting a link to the forum where I argued with this Buddhist.
EDIT: Said poster has recently responded to my objection regarding curiosity. It reads thusly:
“Neither could I. I guess I failed miserably in conveying what I had intended. Zazen is nothing other than an investigation of nature and how it works – as opposed to collecting mere descriptions about it. The point of “don’t know mind” is to get a headful of opinion out of the way for a more objective inquiry into nature (“nature” understood in a Buddhist way. That is, an understanding that fabricates no divide between “in here” and “out there”… one of those
“artificial distinctions” – aka, delusions – of western thought). ”
Of course they are artificial distinctions, but we as human beings cannot really think in any other manner, due to our categorical thinking, so it is not unsurprising nor necessarily undesirable to do so especially when such distinctions can be useful and aid in understanding nature’s various processes. This is another example of placing unrealistic expectations on human behavior.