Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bill Maher On Buddhism

Bill Maher has made a quite a name for himself bashing religion, often in a most outrageous and hilarious way. His main targets are the three Abrahamic faiths and in fact I have never heard him refer to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, etc., even in passing. His recent film, Religulous, makes no mention to Buddhism either. Recently Maher did take a swipe at Buddhism and while I was looking forward to having a good laugh, or even just a chuckle, I found his comments just stupid and unfunny. God! I could have thought of dozens of absurd things some Buddhists do and believe that would have provided excellent material for a comedian. Have a look at but be aware that this video contains a few expletives.


David ( said...

I wrote the following response over at Bill Maher's blog:

Buddhism is a "middle way" and does not teach all 'wants' are bad, just the unwholesome wants.

Bill Maher talks like a hedonist, but is actually more of a secular humanist - hedonist. He still has some moral code to live by. It may not be a religion, but he still supports help for the poor, health care, etc. A true hedonist who only cares about his own wants, ignoring everyone else would not be liberal about helping others. Also there would be no way to criticize Bush or Cheney, because they are only doing what they "want."

His skit was funny, but a raccoon cannot say that he was Herb Zoller from Brooklyn because he does not have the cognitive ability to do so, just as a human baby cannot do so. All of us were born one day, but we don't remember it. Just because we don't remember it does not mean it did not happen. The same is true with re-birth. The part about monks interviewing two year old babies to look for the 'reincarnation' of the previous lama is found only in Tibetan Buddhism, not the myriad of other forms of Buddhism.

He said that in the Buddha's day "life sucks and then you die" made sense, but now we have Tivo and movies, etc. Actually the entertainment has not changed much. In ancient times there was live theater, just as we have now on Broadway and in the movies and Tivo. I disagree with him and hold that today too, "life sucks and then you die" still applies. It is timeless. There can be moments of happiness, with socializing, parties, and other forms of entertainment, but these are all temporary and often even these are filled with some degree of suffering, jealousies, anger, misinterpretations, etc., etc.

He has been bashing the Western religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam for his whole career, so I suppose it is only fair that he does some skits about Buddhism and other Eastern religions, but some of his 'facts' were a little off, to say the least.

David ( said...

Hi Bhante,

Tivo is a computer program / box that allows you to record any program day or night digitally, pause live television, play it back, and I think some other features.
(I don't have it.)

David ( said...

I had thought Maher said "Tivo" but actually he didn't mention it. ;)
(He said iPhones, James Cameron movies, etc.)
Apparently Tivo also allows you to access a large movie database for viewing.

Buddha said...

Well ..Bill Maher Denies the First Noble truth..

I Guess People who go to such Extents to Deny Suffering , when encountering Real Suffering will Definitley Investigate upon its cause & its cessation.

History is filled with Stories of such men turning into people with great Resolve for Spiritual & Insight Practise.

But He puts forward a valid point that Science has not yet accepted the Reincarnation or Rebirth Theory.

Anonymous said...

I laughed. It's comedy, not meant to be taken seriously kids.

Ben said...

Actually there is a scientific approach to reincarnation. Ian Stevenson, a Canadian psychiatrist, interviewed children about their previous life. His researched fulfilled all scientific standards and is methodologically correct, he published articles in peer-rewied journals.