Buddhist Sectarianism.

Name calling and arrogance and such. “My group is better than yours. We have the correct doctrine, your’s is incorrect”. Bah. I found this great response on facebook and had to share it with you.

The man who wrote his post is named Liáng Yǒng Jié and he’s got Buddha skills!

Here is what he said:

Well, there’s actually hardly any reason to react to all of these agitators.


Firstly, the Buddha advised us to stay away from the company of the foolish and sectarian. Who are the foolish and sectarian? The answers are in the Tripitaka / Tipitaka and some study on sociology.

Secondly, what generations before us may not have had is now complemented by modern Buddhist studies and scholarship. In our time more light has been shed, foolish theories have been debunked and better methods of approaching the complex and myriad dynamics involved in the evolution of Buddhist sectarianism.

In our time, in the information age with all of its connectivity, the only excuses left for being unable to find authentic Dhamma are personal laziness, a desire to avoid an honest and impartial Buddhist education, and, many of us just have an ax to grind.

Thirdly, our generation of Dharmadutas ((Dharmaduta is a traditional term meaning ‘messenger of the Dharma’) must do more than the previous ones, where the previous ones could not because of previous lack of resources and connectivity on a global scale, have not been able to connect with each other with targeted and meaningful intra and inter religious dialogue and initiatives, compared to the last say 40 years and it’s still an ongoing effort with the willing parties.

Sectarianism is an ancient past time, whether it’s between religions or sects within a religion. Now it’s oft more rife online than in real life, except for certain more visible and vocal groups as said before, who carry certain schismatic agendas and fervor quite akin to Devadatta during the Buddha’s time.

You cite this group in Korea? There’s a few groups running around in South East Asia, Taiwan & Japan with an ‘evangelistic’ fervor on ‘Original Buddhism’ (that too you may find them disagreeing with each other on whose version is more original and some only read their pet Nikayas / Agamas and toss out the rest! LOL); one literally putting up huge banners on their building in Chinese / English to vilify Tibetan Buddhism and its teachers as both adharma and a cult of sexual misconduct and the irony is they’re Chinese Mahayanists; another adopted the strange hybrid of Shingon / Shinto goma rites, but reads only the Agamas and tosses out Mahayana & with a strange emphasis on ancestral veneration; and a few more which I will not name here.
Fourthly, someone once advised me on such groups and people: educate with maitri, for the willing that is. If that doesn’t work, it’s best to keep the distance and one’s peace because there are more worthy and noble works and causes to spend resources and people on.
Fifthly, from Chapter 14, Lotus Sutra & the Samaññaphala Sutta:
“If there are Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, those who seek to be Hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, or those who seek the Bodhisattva Way, he should not torment them or cause them to have doubts by saying to them, “You are all very far from the Path, and you will never obtain the wisdom of all modes. Why not? Because you are careless and lax in the Way.” Further, he should not frivolously discuss the Dharma for the sake of argument.” http://cttbusa.org/lotus/lotus14_1.asp
“Whereas some brahmans and contemplatives, living off food given in faith, are addicted to debates such as these — ‘You understand this doctrine and discipline? I’m the one who understands this doctrine and discipline. How could you understand this doctrine and discipline? You’re practicing wrongly. I’m practicing rightly. I’m being consistent. You’re not. What should be said first you said last. What should be said last you said first. What you took so long to think out has been refuted. Your doctrine has been overthrown. You’re defeated. Go and try to salvage your doctrine; extricate yourself if you can!’ — he abstains from debates such as these. This, too, is part of his virtue.”


Many thanks to Liáng Yǒng Jié for this nice explanation of the situation.

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