So because Aaron Alexis spent the last several years of life attending a Buddhist Temple, George Neumayr sees fit to characterize Buddhism “one of the world’s largest half-baked religions”.
Before I join Patrick in offering my dissent, I should say I disagree with Buddhism’s unwillingness to acknowledge there is evil in the world and could not subscribe to such a religion.
But with said, I would not so blithely dismiss a religion that has been half a millenia longer than Christianity and its practitioners.
While acknowledging that Buddhism is “less flagrantly violent than Islam”, Neumayr asks, “What other religion, for example, produces monks who set themselves on fire? A religion that permits self-immolation is not a religion of peace.”
Of course, this assumes self-immolation is confined to Buddhism. Indeed, one of the most famous instances of self-immolation occurred in 1969 as the Soviet Army crushed the Prague Spring, Czech student Jan Palach set himself ablaze in Wencelas Square.
Neumayr’s argument also assumes that Buddhist doctrine sanctions suicide. Karmapa Lama, who is widely expected to succeed The Dalai Lama, has spoken out against the practice. Whatever one thinks of the Buddhist monks who have engaged in self-immolation, their intent is not to take as many others with them as possible.
I believe that Buddhists, by and large, have been admirable in their stance against Chinese Communism in Tibet and the military junta in Burma. It must also be remembered that Islamic fundamentalists consider Buddhists to be infidels along with Christians and Jews. Let us not forget that six months before the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Taliban in Afghanistan blew up two Buddha statues which had stood for 1,700 years. Whatever the theological differences, Buddhists around the world deserve our sympathy, not our scorn.
As for Alexis, Neumayr does acknowledge that he was “obviously wicked and twisted” before he set foot in that Buddhist Temple. But at the same, Neumayr writes, “Buddhism lacked the power and substance to civilize him.” Implicit in this statement is that had Alexis joined The Catholic Church all of this could have been prevented. Well, we will never know that, now will we?
Of course, if Alexis had joined The Catholic Church and had committed this evil, the left-wing media would be bashing The Catholic Church from here until Sunday. Of course, they would be wrong for taking a cudgel to Catholicism just as Neumayr is wrong to take a baton with which to bash Buddhism.