The Dark Side of Buddhism

The Dark Side of Buddhism

Jun 06



Death & Controversy At Diamond Mountain University & Retreat Center
NHNE Pulse
June 6, 2012

Genpo Roshi Admits Affair, Disrobes As Buddhist Priest
NHNE Pulse
February 2011

Monks With Guns: Discovering Buddhist Violence
By By Michael Jerryson
Religious Dispatches
January 12, 2010
Alternate Link

Frederick Philip Lenz, III (aka Rama) & His Association With American Buddhism
NHNE Pulse
June 26, 2009
Alternative Link

Enlightenment Therapy
By Chip Brown
New York Times
April 23, 2009
Alternate Link

Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth
By Dr. Michael Parenti
Global Research
November 18, 2007
Alternate Link

Meditating On War And Guilt, Zen Says It’s Sorry
By Allan M. Jalon
New York Times
January 11, 2003
Alternate Link

Encountering the Shadow in Buddhist America
By Katy Butler
Common Boundary Magazine
May/June 1990



The Purpose of Life, Jesus & NDEs
The Three Faces of God by David Sunfellow
Loving Personhood or Liberation From Personhood? by Robert Perry
Discernment & The Spiritual Path by David Sunfellow
Loving Our Enemies: The Core of Jesus’ Vision in the Sayings Gospel Q by Robert Perry (pdf)
The Pathwork Guide Lectures of Eva Pierrakos by David Sunfellow
Pulse on Jesus
Pulse on Near-Death Experiences



  1. Tamsin

    There is no ‘dark side’ to Buddhism. Stupid title. Just the dark side of people who take it on board and misuse it.

    Hey! I know what! I’ll call myself Lama Tamsin from now on …

    • Pulseguy

      It is too easy to not blame Buddhism for the excesses of its adherents. Two points – First, if it worked as it is supposed to work then the adherents would ‘evolve’ past these types of problems. Second, all ‘isms’ are supported by structures. And, all structures are not of the spirit, they are temporal. Therefore, they are full of all sorts of human strife. Believing in Buddhism as a form of salvation is as misplaced as believing in Southern Baptism, or Catholicism, or socialism, for that matter. IMO.

      • I think what you have said here about Buddhism is not worth the time it took you to write. What a load of BS. I personally know many highly realised Buddhists, I said many. On ther other hand my mother has devoted her whole life to Jesus and there has been no signs of any difference in her personality as when she started. Also what about the forty plus other gods throuhout history that died for three days and were resurrected prior to Jesus? I’m not even gonna ask if your a Christian because the answer is obvious, its only Christians that JUDGE other’s faith.

  2. I would echo what Pulseguy has said with this observation, which appears to be universally true: “Just as all human beings have a shadow side to their nature, so, too, do all religions, philosophies, and spiritual traditions.” Which, of course, is one of the chief problems with Buddhism (and other Eastern paths): they are largely, sometimes blissfully, unaware of their shadow side. And this, in turn, can lead to the kind of tragic failings that are graphically described in the articles linked above.

    Here’s a related thought from Ken Wilber that comes from Integral Spirituality, Chapter Six, “The Shadow And The Disowned Self”

    “This chapter is about the shadow, what it is, how it got started, and how to take it back. But one thing is certain: the great wisdom traditions, for all their wisdom, have absolutely nothing like this. I know, I’ve spent thirty years checking with students and teachers, and the conclusion is unanimous: an understanding of the psychodynamic repression, as well as ways to cure it, is something contributed exclusively by modern Western psychology. Many meditation teachers claim that they offer something similar, but when you look closely at what they mean, it really isn’t this. Consequently, even advanced meditators and spiritual teachers are often haunted by psychopathology, as their shadows chase them to Enlightenment and back, leaving roadkill all along the way. The good news is that this is fairly easily remedied.”

  3. Veronica DaMetz

    I am differing on the subject matter in a great deal. Most religions did not have the ability to defend against mutilation of observing governments. Jesus was in fact defenseless. So were the monks in TIbet. Most religions are not of peace because of necessity, they are not of peace because of righteousness. They are of peace because that is their root, a humble beginning. Just a voice to state what is wrong with the world at their time. And how to make it better. God exists in all of us, the good the bad and the ugly, God exists there. He is a scientist, an accountant, a lawyer, a lover and a friend. God exists in us all. Even in the most crooked, God exists there. Does he make choices for us. No. IF God exists there he exists in the military, he exists in the police. There is no such thing as a dark Shadow in the form of God. There is no such thing as a shadow in religion, unless your talking about the ills of the vatican. The point is to fight, against the ill, the sick, the ones that have forgotten the beauty in being good.

  4. Veronica DaMetz

    I read an article about Buddesim and Violence.

    It is comparing an apple to onions. Apples are red/ green/ yellow fruits on trees. Onions are weird bitter and acidic tasting growing on the ground. Buddism is a peaceful culture, and they can remain, peaceful, but they are rationalists. For instance ask any BUddesit what is love, and they will come up with the question “Why are you asking?”. Are they quite knowledgable in the forms of love, or are they to practical to even mention a formation of a creation of an emotion. If it is incomprensensible to comprehend love to a Buddest, then its incomprensible to acknowledge the duties of a love that is found in Western Jesus, or Western Greek Gods. ITs a different form of teaching, practical for science. Yet, you also need to remember the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF BUDDISM. Buddha would tell one person there was a God, and he would tell a second there was no God. He would tell the opposite to each individual. Just because he wanted to challenge belief, he wanted to challenge opinion, he wanted to challenge a persons thought, to lead them to a different path. He did this so often there were 30 different original schools of Buddhism. The day Buddha died, 30 followers built schools. So there are different verities following different teachings. If he was consistent, and talking the same teaching, there wouldn’t be 30 different schools. Maybe just a few. The main component that was similar between the schools, was to be non violent, sit, and thats it. Just sit. If your sitting with your legs folded, your not fighting. But why would he need to fight? He had so many followers. And he didnt have a government following him wanting to kill him either, why because he was technically the King of a Land. His Kingdom was attached at one point and he was told to go home and fight to protect his land, and he chose not to. He wasnt a fighter. But just because Buddha the “man” was not a fighter does not mean the men of today can not be fighters to defend their land. In fact God I am sure, would prefer it. Be a man, protect your home, protect your wife, protect your children, protect you community. Its not good to attack. Attack is wrong, holy wars are wrong, fighting in Gods name is wrong. Defending in Gods name is right, prevention is fighting in Gods name. Attacking to “take” is extremely wrong. Charging to defend from future attack is time management. Charging, to end a war, is always justified.

  5. Veronica DaMetz

    The entire point of that comment was to pin point that Non -Viiolence protection in Buddhism is possible, from a philosphy stand point, because peace needs to have a way to defend it self. Peace does not attack, Peace only defends. If you dont defend peace you will end up like Aberham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Kennedy, Jesus. Peace needs defence. Buddha didnt need to defend, he was related to royals, so the government was not chasing him, and he was not in Western culture. Gahndi was another, he didnt need to attack with weapons, he didnt need to charge with weapons, he had defense, I think he was related to higher eletes and he was well educated, so he couldnt be attacked. Its standing in society. But what happens if your poor? Like the monks that were in Tibet and China walked in. Or in Myanmar, Burma. What happens if you are poor and someone tries to take your home, what do you do? What do you do if they try to take away your farm? your way to pay for your home? Who defends you? No one, in fact you get attacked and killed because they wanted your land to take your money. That was the old system of the currupttioin. So monks with a gun makes sense,, so does a muslim with a gun if he is fighting to protect his wool far, from a Big Bad British Wolf.

  6. jojo

    I could make a list of articles about crimes committed by Christians and give it the title “The Dark Side of Christianity”. The same could be done for any religion or ethnic group. So, what is the point of singling out Buddhists?

    I think you ought to say precisely what you think is wrong with Buddhism and Buddhists that is different from other religions and ethnicities, and provide supporting evidence. As it is, people can recognize this web page is a weak smear attack not worthy of the rest of your web site.


  7. JoJo, just a quick response. The dark side of Christianity (and other Abrahamic faiths) are so well documented and publicized, that I see no need to create a special page tracking the undone sides of these faiths. NHNE has, however, regularly taken Christianity to task over such things as the crusades, the inquisition, the genocide of native peoples, the persecution of various individuals and religious sects who dared to challenge the authority (and dogma) of the Roman Catholic Church, the greedy escapades of charlatan televangelists, and, of course, the ongoing epidemic problem of priests abusing children. The crimes committed by Christians in the name of a man who advocated loving everyone, especially one’s enemies, are legion. The dark side of Buddhism has, however, received much less coverage. So amid the sea of blood spilled by Christianity and the endless lives that have been scarred by misguided Christians, Buddism gets a tiny page with a few articles that shines a little light on a few dark corners. I don’t think this needs to be taken as an unfair, undeserved, over-the-top attack against Buddhism, or Buddha, because it isn’t. NHNE is an equal opportunity employer. We do our best to applaud good deeds and call dubious ones into question wherever we find them.

    Concerning your request for me to itemize exactly what I think is wrong with Buddism, the articles listed above do just that. They also include references to what is good, true, and beautiful about Buddhism.

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