February 28, 2010

Bill Maher don’t know Buddhism. {Tiger Woods}

ed’s note of context: Bill Maher just wrote a funny blog on Huff Post about Tiger Woods and his Buddhist path. Problem: Bill Maher has little effing idea what he’s talking about when it comes to Buddhism. If we Buddhists were more dogmatic, we’d burn him on a cross. Only, we’re not, and we don’t have a cross, and we’d hardly care (considering that 93% of all American Buddhists are Maher fans) if his commentary even approached, say, a 1st grade understanding of Buddhadharma.

With a cordial invitation to your local Dharma center ~ Waylon Lewis

Bill Maher can Suck it! Love, John

Dear Bill,

I like intelligent and humorous commentary on religion. I really do. Make it iconoclastic, dirty and irreverent but most of all … make it funny. Now, just between you and me Bill, I can understand that it is tough, well-nigh impossible, to hit it on the head every time around. Research a subject, finding a nice twist to have funny with and manipulate a bit, playing that line between funny and reflective and just mean and insult…

I’ve fallen on both sides of that equation.  However, I also don’t have a staff to research my material and bake up one-liners for me. Thus, I am disappointed.  Not “Dead Hooker Under the Mattress” disappointed but disappointed none-the-less.

Richard from My Buddha is Pink put it nicely when he stated…

Your recent comments regarding Buddhism seem to be uncharacteristically pedestrian and sophomoric. And I mean literally sophomoric. It is as if, like a 15-year-old high school student, you were asked to write a report on “What is Buddhism” and you cited a single source. I’m sure you have a crack research staff, but in this particular instance, they have let you down. And the fact that you accepted their research unfortunately portrays you as a rather shallow person, less than informed and easily duped into accepting knee-jerk definitions in much the same way as a Pat Roberson or a James Dobson.

So let’s dive into the meat of the matter, your blog on Huffington Post:

“(Buddhism) really is outdated in some ways — the ‘Life sucks, and then you die’ philosophy was useful when Buddha came up with it around 500 B.C., because back then life pretty much sucked, and then you died – but now we have medicine, and plenty of food, and iPhones, and James Cameron movies – our life isn’t all about suffering anymore. And when we do suffer, instead of accepting it we try to alleviate it.”

Buddhism does directly, and quite balls to the wall, address the issue of suffering. To my knowledge all the iPhones, movies, popcorn and blowjobs in the world will not make one happy if we still attach to and crave for those things we think will make us happy.

The whole point of Buddhist practice is to humbly and directly bow to our suffering and practice to alleviate it.  Acceptance is only a portion of it. Understanding is followed by a Dharma drop-kick to send it packing. No magic. No miracle – just straight and honest living and life.

Bottom Line:  I wouldn’t take Dharma lessons from Mr. Bill Mayer if he dressed up in whipped cream, dusted it with cocaine and let me lick it off his naked pasty pink nipples.

Please, at least read the 4 Noble Truths before commenting on them…seriously, there are only four. More Maher:

“Tiger said, ‘Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves’) makes us unhappy, which confirms something I’ve long suspected about Eastern religions: they’re a crock, too…Craving for things outside ourselves is what makes life life — I don’t want to learn to not want, that’s what people in prison have to do. Buddhism teaches suffering is inevitable. The only thing that’s inevitable is that if you have fake boobs and hair extensions, Tiger Woods will try to fuck you.”

There is nothing wrong with attaining and craving for things outside of ourselves.  We are human, after all, but craving for objects and things that I don’t have control over doesn’t make life life.  It just complicates it.  Learning not to want doesn’t mean that you don’t cease to attain ~ it just means you put it in the correct place.  A new promotion will not make me happier than a still and mindful outlook.  Illusions hamper.  As an insightful and talkative Buddhist commentator recently mentioned on twitter:
“A few puffs of a cigarette and a little fooling around don’t prevent someone from becoming a Buddhist.” ~ Khyentse Rinpoche, via ryderjaphy.

More Maher:

“People are always debating, is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy: it’s a religion. You’re a religion if you do something as weird as when the Buddhist monks scrutinize two-year-olds to find the reincarnation of the dude who just died, and then choose one of the toddlers as the sacred Lama: ‘His poop is royal!’ Sorry, but thinking you can look at a babbling, barely-housebroken, uneducated being and say, ‘That’s our leader’ doesn’t make you enlightened. It makes you a Sarah Palin supporter.”

I get it…you wanted a shot at the Palin.

I can deal with this but to ignore the fact that plenty of atheists and non-believers practice Buddhism is beyond even my comprehension.  This isn’t a secret. An honest appraisal of Buddhism and its adherents would reveal that it is indeed a religion with a strong philosophical base that can exist apart from accumulated religious structure and dogma. This, in my opinion, is one of the greatest strengths of Buddhism.

As the Buddha himself encouraged his students: “Don’t believe anything I say. Only what you can experience.”

And even a smidgeon of research would show you that Buddhism is far more diverse than just the subset of Tibetan Buddhism that you are representing in your unfunny comments on the Dalai Lama.  For some funny commentary on the guy feel free to reference this post by me. Or this one by a friend who, while a practicing Buddhist, doesn’t believe in reincarnation. Buddhism isn’t dogmatic. It’s experience-based.

So, Bill…Bubbala.  You know I love you, but for future reference please do some more homework or at least make it funnier.  Rather than googling “Buddhism for Douchebags” or resorting to the wealth of information that is Fox News, please feel free to check out this post by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on the basics of Buddhism and learn something.

With that I crack open a sweet organic beer and wish you luck and happy reading.

With Metta (look it up),



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