15 July 2006


Some of you may know, either just from knowing me or from following my ramblings on this blog, that I am entirely non-religious, yet also fascinated with (and sometimes horrified by) religion. So someone I know who is a student of Zen (hmm . . . should that be capitalized or not?) was reading this book called Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, and the Truth About Reality (by Brad Warner). I thought it sounded interesting, so I asked to borrow it. I just finished reading it this morning (and, since I only borrowed it Thursday afternoon, you can safely draw the conclusion that it was an absorbing read, and therefore also a quick read). Hmm. I expected it would be interesting and well written, from the things my friend said about it. I wasn't really expecting so much of it to resonate -- and resonate strongly -- with the way I already think about things, religion included.

For example:
It's only when people believe that their beliefs are above questioning, that their beliefs alone are beyond all doubt, that they can be as truly horrible as we all know they can be. Belief is the force behind every evil mankind [sic] has ever done.

Religions, the supposed institutional repositories of humanity's understanding of the deeper mysteries of the universe, have never offered anything more to me than sophisticated methods of avoiding the truth, of building elaborate fantasies in place of reality.

The older I get, the more I think the dangers of religion -- any religion -- far outweigh the benefits, though I know there are an awful lot of people, even non-religious people, who would strongly disagree.

There are simply too many interesting things in the book for me to quote them all -- too many times when I stopped reading so I could absorb something properly. Here's one, though:
Buddhism won't give you the answer. Buddhism might help you find your own right question, but you've gotta supply your own answers.

Hunh. I'll stop quoting now, and gushing. I think I'm going to have to get a copy of this book for myself, though, and read it a few more times. I'm not going to suddenly become religious, but this is, I think, something that warrants further investigation. Anyone want to read the book and tell me what you think of it?


Anonymous said...

Sounds like something worth taking a look at. Not a big fan of Buddhism, really, but the first statement is something I've always thought, so it couldn't hurt.


Also, how did you like The Cheese Monkeys?

Niko said...

I didn't think it would be so much like I already think, either. And, alas, I haven't read The Cheese Monkeys yet, but it's next on the list.