Friday, August 7, 2015

Buddhism and the Manosphere

One of my posters asked me to write an article about a class in Buddhism I took from one of the top Buddhist scholars in the nation.

As I wrote, my last semester in college I was informed I was short a class in Philosophy. I remember looking at "Epistemology" and thinking, "An entire semester of that? No thanks."

The only thing open was a class in Buddhism, and I had to ask the teacher to let me in. Thank God he did, because it was one of the best classes I ever took.

By the way, I am not a Buddhist, but what the Buddha originally taught is so simple and common-sense it is impossible to forget the basics.

What the instructor taught is this: the Buddha said, "Do philosophy and meditate."

Then one day you become "enlightened" and wake up ("Buddha" comes from the word for "awake") and move into a state of immense and permanent bliss. In that permanent and unchanging state you cease to cling to the up-and-down of pleasure.

In a nutshell, that's it. There are different schools, with some very complex doctrines, but they all have the same goal.

By the way, there is no difference between Eastern and Western philosophy (including the ideas of "no self," and "impermanence"), except in the East they include meditation. In the West this contemplative path has always been a minor tradition, although not so much in the past.

There are other things, such as the Noble Eightfold Path and the Three Marks of Existence (no self, impermanence, suffering), but understanding those things is not the same thing as putting them into effect.

I mentioned I am not a Buddhist. There is a reason for this.

I was unable to take my instructor's class in Indian philosophy, having graduated, but he did cover the basics, since the Buddha was out of India and was raised in it.

In Indian philosophy the God within is called the Atman and it is the same as the God without, the Brahman. When one "wakes up," he realizes the two are the same.

The Buddha was dishonest in denying the Atman and Brahman, since he looked within himself and said, "I don't see it." That's why he's often considered a heretic in the Indian tradition.

In the Western tradition this infinite, all-powerful "True Self" within and without, of pure love, pure intelligence and pure bliss is called God...or what Moses and Jesus and those after them referred to as I AM. And that is why I am a Christian, although there are many who think I'm not.

When I asked my instructor if he could recommend any books on the original teachings, he recommended one book, I believe from the '30's. He dismissed all those Bantam New Age books as nonsense.

I ended up with an entire notebook on the various later schools of Buddhism, but that disappeared years ago. Not that it matters. I certainly wasn't interested in a Ph.D. in Buddhist philosophy, which essentially what that notebook was.

I will say that when the Buddha taught about "suffering" he only meant there was more lack of pleasure than pleasure in life. More unhappiness than happiness, because people kept trying to cling to things, and those things always change.

But again, in that state of immense and unchanging bliss, you cease to cling to things. They will change but it doesn't matter because your immense well-being is not based on clinging to those permanently-changing things outside of you (for that matter, those permanently-changing things inside you).

The common misconception about Buddhism being based on not having any desires is utterly wrong. There is no human alive who doesn't have desires.

When you look at the Greek concept of arete (excellence in life) leading to eudamonia (well-being), then the greatest excellence and the greatest eudamonia is achieving that state of immense and unchanging bliss.

What that concept does is utterly destroy the vast majority of ideas in the Manosphere, because they are based on the up-and-down of transitory pleasure ("suffering") instead of a permanent state of well-being. To be "awake."

Many people have entered this state of immense and unchanging bliss for no reason at all. It happened to me when I was 18, for two weeks. Then it went away, but later when I took that class in Buddhism, I realized what had happened to me. Supposedly if I had known enough to meditate on it, I could have had made that state permanent, and even enlarged on it.

The feeling was one of great peace, great bliss, and immense gratitude. I understand why Meister Eckhart said, "If the only prayer you ever say is 'Thank you,' it will be enough." I know exactly what he meant. And every day I thought, "This is how life is supposed to be"...and I felt as if I was immersed in an ocean.

I also realized some years later that what I experienced was about one percent of what I could have.

But what happened to me is impossible to forget, and I judge things based on it. Which is why I know nonsense when I hear it, and why I know that Roissy and Vox Day and "Roosh" and Rollo Tomassi are adolescents giving people terrible advice.

Their advice is about the up-and-down of transitory pleasure and not how to achieve a permanent state of genuine well-being. In other words, their advice to ultimately how to increase suffering and staying asleep (they and others delude themselves that "Taking the Red Pill" is "waking up. It's exchanging one Matrix for another).

Which is why I've written of knowing men who went from woman to woman to woman, seducing all of them, and so ruined their lives. Of course, the most influential of the Lost Boys of the Manosphere know nothing of this, just delusions about "Alpha" and "Game" and "the Dark Triad" and "insane confidence."

I once told the clown Roissy, "I have more experience than you," and let it go at that. I'm sure he thought I meant Sex and Girls.

But that's not what I meant at all. I have experiences he and the other Lost Boys know nothing about. And, most probably, they never will.


Anonymous said...

"When I asked my instructor if he could recommend any books on the original teachings, he recommended one book, I believe from the '30's. He dismissed all those Bantam New Age books as nonsense."

Can you recommend any good books on buddhism?

Anonymous said...

Hi, if you allow me, there is Meditation in the West. It is called "praying". The difference between meditation and praying is that meditation does not involve acknowledging/addressing God.

DeNihilist said...

Yup Bob, on a few occasions I have put out to the boys of the sphere that taking the red pill (which by the way, I hate as a metaphor), is the first step, not the last. Mostly crickets or being labelled a beta. Which of course I am and a proud of it.

This nonsense, that taking the pill wakes you up to reality is in my opinion the biggest mistake that these guys push. Even my Guru stated that since his awakening he never stopped finding more of the truth.

The old Zen saying sums it best, "look towards where the finger is pointing, not the finger itself, for the finger is naught but an illusion".

Anonymous said...

First there is a mountain. Then there is no mountain. Then there is.

Mindstorm said...

No offense, but your rendition of Buddhism looks like a recipe for boredom. IMO, 'arete' bears more resemblance to 'mushin' or modern Western concept of 'flow' or what gamers call 'the zone'.

It seems appropriate here :)

Mindstorm said...

What is more serene than a vegetable in a hothouse? :)

Unknown said...

"Can you recommend any good books on buddhism?"

I have forgotten the one he mentioned, but I will email him and ask. Or you can. His name is Mark Siderits. Just google it.

"The difference between meditation and praying is that meditation does not involve acknowledging/addressing God."

There is a very long tradition of Christian meditation. Or prayer. And it's thousands of years old.

Unknown said...

It turns out Siderits has written a few books on Buddhism so I posted a link at the top of the article. Him I trust.

Unknown said...

"No offense, but your rendition of Buddhism looks like a recipe for boredom"

It wasn't mine. It was the original teachings.

Rusty Shackleford said...

When I was a mechanic, there was a kid I worked with who looked like a happier, millennial generation version of James Dean. His dad was rich, he rode a cool motorbike and had a girlfriend who was a 10 and maybe then some. You'd have to call him a natural alpha by manosphere standards. He was my buddy and everybody else liked him too, but he wasn't really respected or admired. He coasted too much on his looks and money, never really learned or accomplished anything while I worked with him and ulitimately washed out of the shop that we were working at. One distinction that the manosphere doesn't make is that what men and women admire in a man are two different and largely mutually exclusive things. It's debatable whether the admiration of either is worth much or whether either would have any meaning with respect to this concept that Bob is calling arete here.

One thing I differ with in your recent string of posts, Bob, is that I don't have any problem or see any harm in discussions about what women admire in men that are isolated from any larger context. In math we say that something is true within a specified domain, and I have no problem with people who want to talk about what is true only with respect to what women find attractive in a man. My problem with what Roosh and the rest of his "seed" have to offer isn't that it is immoral or pathological but more that it is bad or useless advice when it isn't just wrong. (The bonecrckr guy is closest to what I've seen in my own experience.) Alpha, beta, etc. are a common ordering scheme, and I don't have any problem with that either. But the Vox Day rendition of it which seems to have become canonical reads like the jealous fever dreams of a high school loser fantasizing about the lives of the cool kids.

Rusty Shackleford said...

There is a contemplative, meditative history in Orthodox and Catholic Christianity that must go back to at least the desert fathers. (As far as I know, however, this is completely lacking in Protestantism due to fears about departure from scripture.) At various points it's been given expression or outlined in formal technique by John of the Cross, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, etc. such that I wouldn't call it a minor tradition. Of course this is an aspect of their faith that most Catholics aren't acquainted with, but then I wonder how deep most Buddhists ever really get into the contemplative aspects of their religion.

The difference with Buddhist tradition is that the Christian focus is always outwards. I've never heard the term "inner god" or concepts like "loss of the self" used in Christian tradition.

Chesterton put it this way:

"No two ideals could be more opposite than a Christian saint in a Gothic cathedral and a Buddhist saint in a Chinese temple. The opposition exists at every point; but perhaps the shortest statement of it is that the Buddhist saint always has his eyes shut, while the Christian saint always has them very wide open. The Buddhist saint has a sleek and harmonious body, but his eyes are heavy and sealed with sleep. The mediaeval saint's body is wasted to its crazy bones, but his eyes are frightfully alive. There cannot be any real community of spirit between forces that produced symbols so different as that. Granted that both images are extravagances, are perversions of the pure creed, it must be a real divergence which could produce such opposite extravagances. The Buddhist is looking with a peculiar intentness inwards. The Christian is staring with a frantic intentness outwards. If we follow that clue steadily we shall find some interesting things. "

Rusty Shackleford said...

With respect to my post above, I think it might be helpful to define terms. The following definitions which I've taken from the internet are how meditation and contemplation would typically be understood within a Catholic sense, and I'd be interested to know to what degree they differ or agree with the Buddhist meanings of the words:

Meditation, in Catholic terms, is a focusing of the mind beyond simple verbal, communicative constructs. It's an uplifting of the mind to God on a level beyond that of normal verbal conversation. It's an attempt at focusing thought, emotion, imagination, and desire on scripture, God, God's Truths, and is sometimes aided by a sort of mantra or rote prayer like the rosary, the Name of God, a particular verse, etc..

Contemplation, in Catholic terms, might be accurately thought of as the "falling" part of falling in love with God. It is sometimes the "next step" after a period of meditation. It's considered to be 100% grace -- you can't induce contemplation, you can only be "invited" in by God. The mechanics of focus in meditation are generally lost, and the pray-er submits God's awesome, perfect, unifying dialogue (not generally verbal though).

Anonymous said...

(I know this comment may be off-topic for this blogpost, but I felt compelled to point it out).

@Bob: What is your take on this blogpost?:

"If mgtow can be condensed into any specific idea, it should be the idea that men should know without equivocation that women only wish to reproduce with them and tolerate them for as long as they can get thier needs met through men. Once this ceases to be the case, women would gladly see those same men pitiably begging for scraps of food on the streets. For women, men are a means to an end, they are toasters. Once men stop producing nice brown toasted bread, they get tossed out into the garbage bin and are never given a second thought."

I'm hoping this is a gross misunderstanding. I thought women had an innate desire to have children (mother instinct).

Unknown said...

I consider it a gross misunderstanding of women. Lord knows women have their flaws, as do men, but those comments verge on hate.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this series of posts that you've put out lately. It's something I've needed to read. Like so many things, it's stuff I mostly "know" in some way or another, but the way you put it altogether is refreshing.

The whole PUA/manosphere thing, even for those who don't take it fully seriously, has its share of attractive traps for those who have never navigated the world of women well, and feel like they've missed out- not necessarily in wanting to be PUA's, but in getting a grip on relationships.