Shooter’s interest in Buddhism prompts debate in Buddhist community

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posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 11:12 AM
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I would love to hear the views from the Buddhist on the forum , and as mentioned in this article they question the difference between western Buddhism and ethnic Buddhism, something I have questioned myself.

more later.
www.washingtonpost.com... -6c66b668ea55_story_1.html



Even so, some in the Buddhist community saw the tragedy as an opportunity to publicly ponder some difficult questions. To what degree is the image of the peaceful Buddhist based in reality? Do Buddhists and Buddhist temples deal directly enough with the topic of mental illness? And, in fact, might Buddhism hold a special attraction for people who are mentally ill?

The tragedy has triggered “the beginning of the conversation that Buddhists are human beings, too,” with human flaws, said the Rev. Danny Fisher, a lay Buddhist minister and blogger who runs the Buddhist chaplaincy at the University of the West. “Which is good, we need to have that.”

And with its focus on easing emotional and spiritual suffering and close connection in the West to psychology, Buddhism is particularly appealing to “mentally unbalanced people seeking to right the ship of their lives, to self-medicate, to curb their impulses,” said Clark Strand, a contributing editor to the Buddhist publication Tricycle magazine and a former Zen monk.




From the start, Western Buddhism has overlapped greatly with the field of psychology. Many prominent American teachers were initially psychologists and research shows many people pursue meditation to ease psychological stress.

“There are many therapists who are Buddhist or who take materials from Buddhism,” said Charles Jones, a religion and culture professor at Catholic University. “Mental illness is largely about suffering, about mental states that cause us to suffer,” he adds. “Buddhism is a religion that has made that a large focus.”

While small, the American Buddhist community is the most diverse in the world. But it tends to cluster — ethnic groups of Asians in their own temples and then separate worship spaces for what Strand calls “the upper middle way,” a Buddhism that has tended to appeal to Americans with higher incomes and educations.

Thai Buddhists are part of Theravada tradition, which is common across South and Southeast Asia and claims to be the oldest and most authentic form of Buddhism, said Jones.


I practiced Buddhism myself for a short period but strayed away from it after hearing to stick with what I was born into this incarnation.

thoughts?www.huffingtonpost.com...
edit on 113030p://bThursday2013 by stormdancer777 because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 11:26 AM
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Definitions.

The suspects association with Buddhism is indicative of a spiritual seeker, and in his particular case it seems as if it was perhaps a response to or a piece of some spiritual/psychological stresses he was feeling, and which have been referenced in the news in particular in that he sought out assistance from the military healtcare system for psychological issues.

I can say this about Buddhism and murder - it may fairly be said that some religions have the concept of a Just War or something akin to it, i.e., that there are "acceptable" reasons for killing other people.

Buddhism does not have this dogmatic principle.

It goes to identity. In other words, when is something NOT that thing?

In his actions as a (accused) shooter, he was clearly outside the bounds of anything that could be called Buddhist.

It is irrelevant that he attended some meetings or services, or had an association with a monk or other Buddhist person. He could as easily have been intyerested in and tangentially involved in the VFW, the Shriners, the Rotary Club, or anything else.

Fact - he was not behaving in any way associated with Buddhism when he did the shooting, if he did it.

That he tasted or was interested in Buddhism is indicative of a troubled person, perhaps, since most of us seek out spiritual solace when we are troubled, and rarely when we are doing really, really well in our secular lives.

There simply is no tenet or principle in Buddhism that would inform or support murder.

If he was wearing a SImpsons tee shirt would you ask about the Simpsons and how his interest in cartoons bore on the shooting?

Buddhism has nothing to do with this incident. Period.



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 11:30 AM
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**********************

"Buddhism is particularly appealing to “mentally unbalanced people seeking to right the ship of their lives, to self-medicate, to curb their impulses,” said Clark Strand, a contributing editor to the Buddhist publication Tricycle magazine and a former Zen monk."

**************************

And this is total bull#. No other way to say it.

This is an assertion. Nothing more.

THink about it. What is your subjective perception of Buddhists?

I am not asking what you have heard others say on TV. I am asking what do you in your heart and mind think of when you think of Buddhists?

Use your own mind. It makes zero sense that Buddhism has anything to do with this.

Sorry, but this is a Road to Nowhere.



"Buddhism is particularly appealing to “mentally unbalanced people seeking to right the ship of their lives, to self-medicate, to curb their impulses,” said Clark Strand, a contributing editor to the Buddhist publication Tricycle magazine and a former Zen monk."
edit on 19-9-2013 by MarsSentinel because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 11:41 AM
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What religion you happen to be drawn towards does not determine what you will do. I have been to many different services, explored may different religions. Yes, there are some that will prevert any teaching into their ownn very strange view of what is to be. How in any way shape or form does the religion/religious beliefs or views of one person show that any religion is good or bad?

Does any belief system that basically teaches you to do right by your fellow man or be at peace with the world around you mean anything unless someone preverts it into their own view of be at peace if they think the same way that I do and how I tell you?

This is my overall problem with any religion...who is telleing me their version and how did they come to think that way?



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 11:49 AM
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MarsSentinel

"Buddhism is particularly appealing to “mentally unbalanced people seeking to right the ship of their lives, to self-medicate, to curb their impulses,” said Clark Strand, a contributing editor to the Buddhist publication Tricycle magazine and a former Zen monk.


My goodness Clark Strand, what a dumb thing to say! This could simply be replaced by ice cream...
Ice Cream is particularly appealing and self medicating to the mentally ill.



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 11:56 AM
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reply to post by stormdancer777
 



The possibility that Alexis tried meditation to ease his mental suffering prompted Strand to wonder whether he may have sought out Buddhism “as a last hope to avert this tragedy.”

“It may be that he was seeking a meditative discipline that would help him to get a handle on that or to learn to work with those voices to still them or to give his mind something else to do,” Strand said, referring to reports that Alexis was haunted by mysterious voices. “Buddhism tends not to be a quick fix for such stuff.”


I tend to agree with the above quote in that his interest in Buddhism was probably as a self-help tool. One of the things that get mentioned was his presence at the temple for meditation. I think he was attempting to restore a balance in himself. Meditation has had some positive research, iirc, that associates it with a lessening of stress and anxiety. He had PTSD so his stress and anxiety levels were probably higher than normal. It seems pretty logical to me that that was his intent by picking up Buddhism. Unfortunately for Alexis and his victims, meditation isn't going to fix probable hallucinations.

There's also a lot of quotes about Alexis always having a Heinekin in his hand. Alcohol use and schizophrenia are pretty frequent and it's suspected that it's a form of self-medication. So, that would have been two signs that Alexis was trying to fix himself, a common issue for schizophrenics and especially paranoid schizophrenics. www.athealth.com...

I don't think the Buddhist community that he was involved in should blame themselves. Unless he very specifically told them of his internal issues, I don't see how they could've known in the slightest that he was a danger to society.



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 12:35 PM
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stormdancer777
I would love to hear the views from the Buddhist on the forum , and as mentioned in this article they question the difference between western Buddhism and ethnic Buddhism, something I have questioned myself.

more later.
www.washingtonpost.com... -6c66b668ea55_story_1.html



Even so, some in the Buddhist community saw the tragedy as an opportunity to publicly ponder some difficult questions. To what degree is the image of the peaceful Buddhist based in reality? Do Buddhists and Buddhist temples deal directly enough with the topic of mental illness? And, in fact, might Buddhism hold a special attraction for people who are mentally ill?

The tragedy has triggered “the beginning of the conversation that Buddhists are human beings, too,” with human flaws, said the Rev. Danny Fisher, a lay Buddhist minister and blogger who runs the Buddhist chaplaincy at the University of the West. “Which is good, we need to have that.”

And with its focus on easing emotional and spiritual suffering and close connection in the West to psychology, Buddhism is particularly appealing to “mentally unbalanced people seeking to right the ship of their lives, to self-medicate, to curb their impulses,” said Clark Strand, a contributing editor to the Buddhist publication Tricycle magazine and a former Zen monk.




From the start, Western Buddhism has overlapped greatly with the field of psychology. Many prominent American teachers were initially psychologists and research shows many people pursue meditation to ease psychological stress.

“There are many therapists who are Buddhist or who take materials from Buddhism,” said Charles Jones, a religion and culture professor at Catholic University. “Mental illness is largely about suffering, about mental states that cause us to suffer,” he adds. “Buddhism is a religion that has made that a large focus.”

While small, the American Buddhist community is the most diverse in the world. But it tends to cluster — ethnic groups of Asians in their own temples and then separate worship spaces for what Strand calls “the upper middle way,” a Buddhism that has tended to appeal to Americans with higher incomes and educations.

Thai Buddhists are part of Theravada tradition, which is common across South and Southeast Asia and claims to be the oldest and most authentic form of Buddhism, said Jones.


I practiced Buddhism myself for a short period but strayed away from it after hearing to stick with what I was born into this incarnation.

thoughts?www.huffingtonpost.com...
edit on 113030p://bThursday2013 by stormdancer777 because: (no reason given)


dont worry.. everyone is mentally unbalanced. including those who think they are balanced. some are just more out of balance than others. buddhism was probably a good place for this shooter to balance his mental energies, but without God and the moral code in the bible(ten commandments etc), he'd have a very hard time achieving that balance. i suppose as a soldier, the commandment "thou shalt not kill" puts him out of the circle so to speak. but had he obeyed it, then becoming a shooter would not be an option on the table.



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 12:50 PM
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reply to post by stormdancer777
 


Cant we just agree that people are crazy and not blame something else for their poor decision making???

Is it that we cannot accept that some people are just too far gone and feel comfort in blaming something else?



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 12:51 PM
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Seems crazy to question the fundamental principles of Buddhism just because a person misinterpreted the teachings and went nuts.

If we're going to do that, then just as well start stoning Christianity as well. Many people question the effectiveness of that teaching more than any other.

The fact is, people are just bat crazy. And in their attempt to find peace, sanity and meaning in their lives, sometimes they go off the deep end.
edit on 19-9-2013 by Visitor2012 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 02:07 PM
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The fact he was attracted to Buddhism is, in my opinion, utterly irrelevant.


He may have turned to Buddhism to seek spiritual help, but it doesn't change the facts of the situation.



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 02:11 PM
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There is nothing in Buddhism that would have even remotely pushed him to do what he did. There is nothing fanatical about Buddhism. He was mentally ill. Paranoid and psychotic. The shooting happened because of mental illness.



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 04:22 PM
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reply to post by MarsSentinel
 


Exactly. If nothing else tome, it highlights the point that an ancient belief corrupted by western immediate desire is something to avoid.

the ME ME ME NOW NOW NOW generation don't want to live in any way other than what satisfies them.

But it's groovy to be edgy. And new age stuffs are edgy. So new age buddhism - the me me me now now now generation can have enlightenment in 30 days. practice 20 mins a day and you're off and racing. Yahoo.

Wait, why am I not enlightened.. I'm still angry, and I still want that iProduct.. I'm angry.. Waarrrghhh stupid buddhists, they suck. Didn't fix me at all, I'm angry and now I'll rant. Grrr..

a slow path doesn't speed up because you walk faster.

This guy was looking for something, obviously, and in his world it was all corrupted.

What a time, though, to find an angle to attack buddhist theories in psychology.. just when I am seeking to find a way to learn more about it myself so as to find ways to express it to others... and I'm not a buddhist. but I see the absolute merit in the philosophy.



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 04:28 PM
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MarsSentinel
**********************

"Buddhism is particularly appealing to “mentally unbalanced people seeking to right the ship of their lives, to self-medicate, to curb their impulses,” said Clark Strand, a contributing editor to the Buddhist publication Tricycle magazine and a former Zen monk."

**************************

And this is total bull#. No other way to say it.


Why? he is being subjective. Not saying it "is 100% helpful to mentally unbalanced people".

His opinion. He isn't making claims of any outcome. How do you know a mentally unbalanced individual can not find a better life through mindfulness?

How can mindfulness NOT influence even a sane, normal helthy person, to be better?

Don't take it all for yourself and refuse the benefits to others, unless they wear robes and sit under a tree for 8 hours a day.... ??!!


This is an assertion. Nothing more.

THink about it. What is your subjective perception of Buddhists?


Opinions and nothing more. How does that negate the fact that non-buddhists can find buddhist philosophy helpful, meaningful and beneficial in their daily lives?

I still don't see it as saying it fixes anything. And from my perspective, it's not meant to.


I am not asking what you have heard others say on TV. I am asking what do you in your heart and mind think of when you think of Buddhists?

Use your own mind. It makes zero sense that Buddhism has anything to do with this.

Sorry, but this is a Road to Nowhere.


A healthy mind comes from healty thinking. If any practice helps someone change their thinking, for the better, how can it be a road to no where?

The only road to no where is one you don't start on.



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 04:31 PM
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imitator

MarsSentinel

"Buddhism is particularly appealing to “mentally unbalanced people seeking to right the ship of their lives, to self-medicate, to curb their impulses,” said Clark Strand, a contributing editor to the Buddhist publication Tricycle magazine and a former Zen monk.


My goodness Clark Strand, what a dumb thing to say! This could simply be replaced by ice cream...
Ice Cream is particularly appealing and self medicating to the mentally ill.


Explain how practicing ice cream eating, can benefit someone, unless they do it with attention and in the moment?

Or eat so much that the sugar rush causes them to feel socially open for a short time?

Or anything.

Now how can living in a positive manner, NOT help anyone?

I don't get this off set stance some of you have.

In my opinion, EVERYONE should be more positive in their own moments... sounds to me like some people want that for themselves, so that they can differentiate themselves from the rest of us.



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 05:56 PM
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reply to post by MarsSentinel
 





"Buddhism is particularly appealing to “mentally unbalanced people seeking to right the ship of their lives, to self-medicate, to curb their impulses,” said Clark Strand, a contributing editor to the Buddhist publication Tricycle magazine and a former Zen monk."


That's a dilly isn't it?

I would love to hear him expand on this.



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 06:02 PM
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reply to post by chrismarco
 


I agree with you, this article is about the Buddhist themselves trying to understand this situation.



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 06:06 PM
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reply to post by stormdancer777
 




Even so, some in the Buddhist community saw the tragedy as an opportunity to publicly ponder some difficult questions. To what degree is the image of the peaceful Buddhist based in reality? Do Buddhists and Buddhist temples deal directly enough with the topic of mental illness? And, in fact, might Buddhism hold a special attraction for people who are mentally ill?


I think it is a good thing whether they are responsible or not, which I don't find Buddhism responsible at all, these are good points to ponder.
edit on 063030p://bThursday2013 by stormdancer777 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 06:22 PM
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reply to post by stormdancer777
 


It makes to sense to me, for what it's worth. If you feel like your mind is spiraling out of control, then I could see the gravitation towards Buddhism and meditation. Buddhism is associated with maintaining a balance and basically finding an inner peace. For someone who feels like their own selves are going out of control, that would be very appealing. There's a lot of negative associations with becoming labeled with some sort of mental illness, or medications and even the idea of being institutionalized somewhere, even on the interim. I could see a number of reasons why someone would opt to try an old practice of restoring balance before running to a psychiatrist.





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