This sermon is a response to the following conversation:

Helen De Cruz – Morality, Prescriptive Behavior, Evil, and Suffering

The participants were:
[Helen De Cruz] whose speech is labeled as [HDC] in the transcript and

[Robert Lawrence Kuhn] whose speech is labeled as [RLK] in the transcript.

0:00 [RLK] Helen the importance of meditation uh

0:04 and being connected to uh an

0:09 independent, other reality is a very

0:12 important part of of Eastern Traditions

0:15 um and perhaps more so universally than

0:19 than Western religious Traditions

0:23 what, why, How is that and why is

0:26 that [HDC] I think that actually in all

0:29 religious Traditions there is an

0:31 intimate relationship between the

0:34 philosophical Concepts and the embodied

0:36 practices and I think that in eastern

0:39 religious

0:40 traditions this has been more explicit

0:43 or foregrounded and it seems to me like

0:46 in Christianity if we briefly compare

0:48 one of the reasons it isn’t so

0:49 foregrounded is that you know you’d have

0:51 to go to convents and monasteries to

0:54 really get the contemplative life but uh

0:57 in eastern religious traditions like say

1:00 Zen Buddhism it’s something you try to

1:02 incorporate in your everyday life and in

1:05 fact if you look at the history of say

1:07 Chinese philosophy then one of the

1:09 interesting things that you see is this

1:11 kind of back pulling back and forth so

1:13 one of the reasons that the early

1:14 confusions like shunza was an early

She is confusing the name of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunza with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunzhi_Emperor

1:17 confusion uh you know wrote so much

1:19 about ritual so early confusion said

1:22 ritual is very important ritual helps us

1:24 to cultivate ourselves helps us to

1:26 become better persons and one reason

1:29 they said that was that they felt the

1:31 heat of this foreign Indian philosophy

1:35 namely Buddhism and Buddhism had its own

1:38 meditative it had its own meditative

1:40 practices which had to do with you know

1:43 and that basically ultimately comes from

1:45 Hinduism

While it’s true that Buddhism emerged in a context influenced by Hindu practices, it’s crucial to understand the unique and distinct path Buddhism carved for itself. The assertion that Buddhism’s meditative practices are merely derivatives of Hinduism is not only wrong, it’s also very insulting. There is a clear lack of understanding of the differences between Hinduism and Buddhism, and it’s also low-level https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_genocide where the attacks are against the culture by erasure of the individuals who developed the beliefs, and co-opting of their cultural beliefs, while distorting them to purposefully mislead, and/or to conform with via subjugation one religion to another. This is most obvious in that Hinduism is poly-theist, Buddhism is monotheist. Hinduism is a caste system, Buddhism is about EQUALITY. Buddhism arose directly as a result of the problems of Hinduism. This difference is why the Hindu swastika 卐 turns clockwise and the Buddhist sauvastika turns counter clockwise .
Her claim here, is the equivalent of saying that the Nazis beliefs were based on Buddhism.
As if their claims that the supreme being is Brahman, was a Buddhist belief.
Which obviously means that the Buddha is the Übermensch that Nietzsche was talking about right?
And the jews were considered the equivalents of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalit which is a Buddhist belief right? Wong.

The Rigveda and claimed to have found a connection between the swastika and an enigmatic ancient people, the Aryans.
Supposedly, this ‘master race’ of warriors constituted the peak of human civilisation, conquering lands such as India and bringing the swastika with them. The word Aryan itself derived from Sanskrit, like svastika.

In case you are very mentally slow, notice the similarities between the descriptions of the Brahman caste and the concepts around ‘master race’ and “In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the swastika the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man,” wrote Hitler in his 1925 autobiographical manifesto, Mein Kampf.

It’s more or less supposed to be something more like a wheel as drawn by someone who sucks at art, representing The wheel of Rebirth, or the cyclic nature of life and death. See more here

Interesting to note that somehow that page doesn’t display on wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Brahminism
However, actual genocide, more than once, is also the reason that, despite how common and popular Buddhism is in most east Asian cultures, it was driven out of India around 100-300CE. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_Buddhism_in_the_Indian_subcontinent

They have the same problem with the Sikhs, as noted in:
https://www.sikhmuseum.com/bluestar/newsreports/
https://www.sikhcoalition.org/blog/2023/remembering-1984-4/
https://ensaaf.org/publications/reports/twenty-years-of-impunity/

https://thewire.in/history/wounds-that-never-heal-remembering-operation-bluestar

To draw a parallel between Buddhist and Hindu beliefs is akin to conflating distinct philosophical schools simply because they share a geographic origin. It’s as erroneous as suggesting Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch was directly influenced by Buddhist teachings, which it clearly wasn’t.

The misrepresentation of Buddhism as a derivative of Hinduism not only overlooks the historical context in which Buddhism arose – as a response to certain aspects of contemporary Hindu society – but also ignores the significant philosophical contributions Buddhism has made independently. while Buddhism and Hinduism share a common cultural and historical background, their philosophical divergences are significant. And the cultural genocide aspects should not be overlooked as that is the most common reason why people in the west have no idea what Buddhism is actually like or about, since there are thousands of Buddhist charlatans that wearing a bloody mask like Hannibal lector, while spreading lies about Buddhism and constantly overwriting it with Hindu beliefs.

1:46 you know yoga the the idea it’s

1:48 not like Western yoga so it has a

Yoga is also a religion that arose as a rejection of Hinduism and mostly to avoid the petty bullshit of the hereditary caste system, in a sort of attempt at meritocracy based around asceticism.

Yoga’s development was partly a response to the rigidities of the hereditary caste system prevalent in Hindu society. It proposed a journey of self-realization and spiritual progress that was accessible to all, irrespective of caste or social status. Therefore, while Yoga evolved within the Hindu tradition, it offered a unique approach to spirituality that was distinct from the conventional caste-based system. It provided a more inclusive and individual-focused path to spiritual attainment, emphasizing inner transformation and personal effort. Which is still something that gets mostly co-opted while the practices and beliefs are minimized and distorted as part of a forced assimilation into a caste system.

1:50 physical aspect and it has a dietary

1:53 aspect but it is basically uh feeling

1:57 you know trying to get the sense of of

1:59 being into interc connected of realizing

2:01 that we are individual jewels in you

2:05 know in Indra net

I can only imagine this is a reference to the elite capture that Hinduism uses to maintain it’s power and influence, despite the lack of merit of the Bhramin caste, often through poisoning. So much so that they even have god’s of poisoning https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishakanya and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manasa and even special poisoning rituals https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halahala

81% of poisonings in SE asia, occur in india:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303600320_Trends_of_poisoning_in_India
a more recent survey is available here https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/11/5/e045182
As noted here: https://culturalgutter.com/2020/12/17/a-poison-that-makes-souls-sleep-exotic-indian-poisons-in-pop-culture-and-history/
“So, how does Indian pop culture deal with poison? Bollywood films always have conveniently labeled poison bottles complete with skull and crossbones in the cupboards. These bottles have appeared in many movies for a long time.”
and it’s so common and normalized, they do it to anything they consider a nuisance.
https://sciencehistory.org/stories/magazine/poison-pill-the-mysterious-die-off-of-indias-vultures/

which is this beautiful

2:07 metaphor from Buddhism that there is

2:09 this big sort of interconnected universe

2:11 and that we as individual jewels in the

2:14 net we actually reflect other things but

That is just a form of enforced conformity, everything is the “reflection” a figment in the dream of the Bhramin caste, not even real things.

2:18 the problem is that we due to selfish

2:21 desires so selfish desires and that’s

2:23 always the the sticking point in

2:25 Buddhism selfish desires are things that

Are you sure? If Hinduism and Buddhism are so similar, then why aren’t they the same about this?

2:27 spontaneously arise right you see a

2:30 beautiful car and you think I want a car

2:33 like that could I get a car like that uh

2:35 let’s see if the finances work out but

2:37 the problem is that that gets in the way

2:40 of realizing that you don’t have an

2:42 individual self at least in Buddhism is

2:44 the thought you don’t have an individual

2:46 self uh but you these desires basically

2:50 make that you don’t see that that you

2:51 don’t see the big picture so the

At least this part is correct.

2:53 meditative practices are there to clear

2:56 your your Jewels so to speak so that you

Just sort of smashing random distinct concepts together, because they are from a similar geographic area together at this point.

2:59 uh become again aware o of what is

3:02 important and what is important is not

3:04 whether you can get the car what is

3:05 important is that you’re part of this

3:07 big universe and that suffering is bad

3:09 and you want to end

3:11 it.

3:13 [RLK] what about the specific um

3:16 physicality of the meditative practice

3:19 uh in in in eastern Traditions uh um as

3:23 you said some of it’s based in in

3:26 Buddhism from the yoga tradition in

3:28 which there are certain postures and

3:30 stances which uh embody the ability

3:34 they’re not just done for exercises the

3:36 way you know I might do it in the

3:38 morning uh that there’s deep spiritual

3:41 meaning to it. [HDC] definitely, so the

3:45 physical bodily postures do matter so in

3:48 zazen which is in Zen Buddhism is the

3:50 sitting quietly is this kind of way of

3:53 sitting in such a way that is

3:55 comfortable but not too comfortable so

3:56 you shouldn’t slouch like you should

3:58 have you know the there’s all sorts of

4:00 ways to make sure your attention is just

4:02 at that right level to get the the the

4:05 benefit from the meditation but also you

4:08 can think of it broadly like the

4:09 important of martial arts so martial

4:11 arts sounds like very different like you

4:13 know you’re going to beat other people

4:14 up but the ideas ultimately with martial

4:17 arts is that it has this spiritual

4:19 Dimension that it is a helpful means of

4:22 upaya which is the idea in Buddhism that

4:25 at least in Mahayana Buddhism that you

4:28 can use certain things like doing chores

4:31 for example so we think of like chores

4:33 as very negative you can see it’s an

4:35 interesting contrast uh like you know

I think it’s surprising she was able to say all that, without saying “it’s about Discipline, to mold spiritual and physical discipline together so that one can protect and support the other, especially when living under a tyrannical ruler, which is the rule rather than exception in those areas. A reminder of the largest non-white group of trump supporters:
http://www.dalitstan.org/books/offence/offence7.html
https://sabrang.com/hnfund/sacw/part2.html

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/7/us-academic-conference-dismantling-global-hindutva-hindu-right-wing-groups

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/9/26/violent-hindu-extremism-is-now-a-global-problem

https://www.sadhana.org/hindutva-101
https://globelynews.com/south-asia/what-is-hindutva/

4:38 Studio gibli movies uh just Japanese

4:41 movies about say for example shiru uh so

4:45 Spirited Away and you see there people

4:47 doing chores so in this story you have

4:49 this girl and she she cleans and she and

4:51 you know when when westerners think of

4:53 chores they think of Cinderella and how

4:55 bad it is and the happy ending for

4:57 Cinderella is that she doesn’t have to

4:58 do any chores at all and we see it as so

5:00 negatively and gendered but the nice

This is a WEIRD bias. https://slate.com/technology/2013/05/weird-psychology-social-science-researchers-rely-too-much-on-western-college-students.html

5:03 thing is that in Zen Buddhism chores are

5:06 way to to help you reach Enlightenment

5:08 you do them mindfully like it’s not bad

5:11 to do chores like a menial task you’re

5:14 not too good to do a menial task so it’s

5:16 also that sort of thing um that I think

5:19 uh so so you have all those different

5:21 things like sitting quietly uh you know

5:24 doing s chores uh doing martial arts

5:28 that uh all are helpful means like you

5:31 shouldn’t be too attached to them this

This is also incorrect, they are actually very attached to rituals and discipline, that’s sort of the basis of most east asian cultures. This is because rituals and discipline are not physical objects. Being more attached to rituals and hierarchy than other people.

5:33 is another thing you shouldn’t like say

5:35 oh I’m so great at meditation look it’s

5:37 what I get all achieve but there are

5:40 sort of things that can help you that

5:41 create the mental space for you in a

5:44 really concrete embodied way to realize

5:46 you don’t have an individual self and to

notthisbody

5:49 you know get you on the path of

5:50 Enlightenment. [RLK] how does the progress work

5:53 in in the as you begin the meditative

5:56 process what what what is a uh a goal

6:00 that you try to

6:02 achieve? [HDC] so I have done a bit of

6:05 meditation unfortunately not much uh but

6:08 I at first you feel like your mind

6:11 really Rebels and I find that initial

6:14 phase really interesting like your mind

6:16 is just like so busy just getting quiet

6:19 [RLK] a metaphor like monkeys running wild or

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_mind

6:21 something like that. [HDC] so just getting

6:23 quiet is already [RLK] a monkey mind [HDC] a monkey

6:26 mind, it’s already so difficult to just

6:28 get past this and you see this again

6:31 comparatively like you have even in

6:33 Christianity say Teresa Alfa villa who says

6:35 like you know when you’re all at the

6:37 outer, outer of sight you know you’re

6:39 just beginning your meditative practice

6:41 it’s very difficult to to even quiet

6:44 your mind So eventually it could just be

6:47 and that’s my mother goal to have a

6:49 quiet mind particularly because we have

6:50 so many distractions like we have all

6:53 these social media and and just

6:55 traditional media and just it’s not just

6:57 that but also the kind of General

6:59 business that sort of idea about like

7:01 how can we how how can I make things

7:03 better you know let’s let’s do you know

7:06 let’s do something so so I think that

7:09 that’s an initial goal but then you can

7:10 go deeper and there is a sense of

7:13 expertise so people who can really make

7:15 a quiet mind who can get a sort of sense

7:18 of mystical experience fairly regularly

Mystical experience and a quiet mind, are very different things.

7:23 um that that comes with practice uh and

7:27 there’s there’s so many different ways

7:28 in which you can do it like you can

7:30 meditate on certain ideas or you can try

7:32 to clear your mind um and [RLK] do

7:35 different Traditions have different

7:37 mystical experiences and in I mean the

7:40 generality is that you you lose your

7:42 sense of self and you feel one with the

7:45 cosmic universe or what or something

While most religions acknowledge and have some form of experience like this, their interpretations of that experience varies widely.

7:48 Beyond yourself um but beyond that is

7:51 there is does each tradition have its

7:53 own content

7:56 specificity? [HDC] I think that yes they do

7:58 have and and we shouldn’t just like sort

8:00 of sweep that under the carpet of

8:02 perennialism and say oh you know all

8:04 deep down it all goes back to so I don’t

8:07 think that works I think that you do

8:09 have to take these things seriously so

8:11 like say in yogachara philosophy which

8:14 is a a particular Buddhist tradition

8:16 there is this idea that you will you

8:18 will ultimately realize you know that

8:21 that your perceptions that there is the

8:24 level of your perceptions and they are

8:25 limited and they you know they don’t

8:28 reflect NE necessarily reality per se so

8:31 you get a sort of sense of like you know

8:34 the limitations of your own cognition uh

8:37 whereas other religious Traditions like

8:39 like Vedanta will sort of more talk about

8:42 like the ultimate Transcendent reality

That everyone and everything is a figment of the imagination of the Bahamians. They are the “gods” that dream your existence into reality, and you are nothing in comparison. Simulation Theory is the updated version of this.

8:46 um and so there is there is one one

8:48 beautiful example even within a

8:50 tradition of how this can change so you

8:52 have one young Ming and he was a new

8:54 confusion philosopher so he believed in

8:57 an individual self but he he also

8:59 believed that there was this pattern of

9:01 the world and so he thought that through

9:03 meditative practices you could sort of

9:05 get the pattern of the world and one day

9:07 he was looking at this bush of bamboo

9:09 and he kept on looking and thinking I

9:11 have to discern the pattern and he got

9:12 hungry and he got sick and eventually

9:14 had to stopped looking and his friend

9:16 also stopped looking but then he got a

9:19 sudden realization that actually he says

9:22 if the pattern is everywhere it’s also

9:25 within me I don’t have to look at the

9:26 bush of bamboo I can just look within my

9:29 self and this was a major Revelation and

Also myopic narcissism which happens to be incorrect. Could be worse though, he could have tried to build a philosophy based on the behavior of dogs or other pack animals.

9:31 it’s this sort of introspective

9:33 meditation that can make us aware that

9:37 even though you really focus on yourself

9:39 you do get a bigger picture of how the

9:42 whole of reality is

9:44 interconnected.

Focusing on the self, and introspection, are two very different things.

Overall her claims seemed more like low level trolling, rather than ignorance, because of the authoritative tone.
But I am sure that some fools do believe these things, they are not things that Helen De Cruz came up with. So I suppose this was a good opportunity to refute some of the claims.

For more background on the history of buddhism, check out:
https://opensourcetemple.com/buddhism-in-the-shadow-of-brahmanism/