Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Long List

I have been called lots of things in my life, a list of some 86 of them can be found in my curricula vita. Recently I wrote a critical review of a book called From Buddha to Jesus and in his response to this review, the book's author has now added considerably to this list. Apparently I am an ‘argumentative’, ‘conceding’ ‘academic elitist’, ‘a materialist’, ‘a neo-atheist’, I have the audacity to ‘cite the Tipitaka as if it were on a par with the Bible’, I live in the ‘Ivory Tower of Academia,’ I’m ‘ignorant of science’, I speak ‘out of the corners of my mouth’, no matter how many hours I chant and meditate I will never know Buddhism the way it is lived by Asians, I can’t tell historical science from operative science (I plead guilty to that one), I ‘misapply quotes and misuses statistics,’ I have had ‘no exposure to the realities of Asian life,’ I have ‘an ax to grind,’ I cannot claim to have ‘achieved the 8-fold path’ (guilty again) and I seem to have a ‘Western supremacist mentality.’ According to the author, some of my friends are ‘anti-Jews’ and ‘bigots’ and I might well be anti-Semitic myself. I usually take critical assessments of myself fairly easy, but this last one genuinely offended me. Perhaps it’s not as bad as it seems though. In From Buddha to Jesus, the author assures us that that he ‘loves Buddhists’ and as I have been a Buddhist for 40 years I’m sure he loves me too.
You can read my review of the book at
and another one by Bhikkhu Aggacitto at
and the author's 'interesting' response at
If you would like to add to the growing things I have been called you can SMS insults to 77459233156


Samsara said...

Hi Venerable.... I admit I did not go through all these passages, but can I just tell one very old story, I am sure you have heard this:

"Two monks were arguing over a flag in the wind. One said that the flag moved. The other said the wind moved. They went to see a Zen master who told them that they were both wrong. The mind moved......

Then a Theravada forest monk came along and said all three of them had missed the oint. The problem was that their mouths moved!"

I am a fan of your blog. I follow your blog through bloglines. I appreciate your knowledge, and I am happy to see a Buddhist monk who have clear and strong view and really express it.... you know, this is something unusual among Chinese monks....

But, dear Venerable, I sincerely wish you to be happy.

We are all the same, aren't we?

We all suffer.

Dhukkha is the same for all of us, us who are not enlightened. This is such a long road is this raod is soooooo rough.

Meditation and this Eightfold Path are the most difficult things I have ever done in my life, probably in many of my past lifes too.....

But, this is the way, this is the only way.

Wish you to be happy!

Jeanette Yuinen Shin said...

That's quite a list!

Looks like your review hit a sore spot ;)

Unknown said...

I agree with you on your critique of the book. It seems it is written more for the sake of christains. He is doing some very long mental stretchs to claim what he does and there is NO research to support it. It would be equivalent to one of my spanish literature papers in college...not well supported. But what is written is written. They are just words and that fellow is absorbed in his 'truths'. Perhaps he knows he did no research and feels he can cover it up by arguing and discrediting 'westerners'. But, no sense in adding vinegar to lemon juice.

Something for thought: What color was Jesus' skin....and what color is he often portrayed as....

Walter said...

The wood of trees should not be wasted to publish such works :)

This Is Not My Self said...

Wonderful reading, kind sir. In all it has given me cause to purchase this book to see for myself what the controversy is about. Not that I have any interest of going back to Christianity, especially after practicing Buddhism.

I too am a Buddhist Monk of the Theravada (Thai) tradition.

Thank you for your commentary.

I have also read the specific link you had on your site "" but have found this review to be more motivated out of hatred and anger than out of common-sense logic. Sure wish you hadn't suggested that link. Everything on that blogspot written by aggacitto is hatred-oriented.

In any case, I really appreciated your commentary/review.

RMV's Colleague said...

Thanks very for the review. It is very clear and helpful.