When ever you question something that is supposedly controversial, they tell you to read more on buddhism. They say that way, you could understand for yourself. But that is nonsense. If you call it that, they get extremely hostile. Why is a religion that keeps its followers in abject poverty (poor tibetan buddhists picture here) still makes them hostile when their beliefs are questioned?

I was born into a family and community where religion is not in the culture itself. No one talked about it because that irrational mental construct wasn't there. We were one of the most prosperous communities ever and still are. I would like to know what religion is real. But all of them seems to contradict each other and there is no basis for their beliefs. While buddhism is the worst according to the answers to my questions. Its not like my community is small either but there are a lot of us who drive fast cars and have a lot of fun.

In my thinking religion is a mind control virus. So, all this talk about going to hell and heaven is based on being controlled and the virus talking. See you in hell or, I mean which hell? They all contradict what hell is about so that is also a question I would like answered.

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When ever you question something that is supposedly controversial, they tell you to read more on buddhism

Leaving aside Buddhism even in any forums if you ask some basic questions some may not always be motivated to answer. This response is nothing much to do with Buddhism but more to do with internet culture. This is termed as Help Vampires. See: The Help Vampire problem, Help Vampires: A Spotter’s Guide.

Generally people will answer question based on different motivation out of which some are the following:

  • if they are intellectually stimulating
  • is of interest to them
  • to be benevolent (if they think answering it will be of benefit and will not answer if they do not think answering it will make)
  • opportunity cost of time and effort to answer vs doing something else or perhaps answering another question
  • not too difficult for the person to answer
  • not beyond the person's understanding

Ultimately to get answers from Buddhists and anybody the way you put a question should be interesting enough to warrant an answer from the person you ask for taking the trouble to answer a question. Also be mindful of the capacity of the person you are asking, i.e., the question is not too elementary or too advance.

they tell you to read more on buddhism

This can be more effective and sometimes the best than trying to learn from someone who may not be too knowledgeable in Buddhism, if this is the reason they ask you to do it. I.e., the question is above their heads to answer.

Maybe you can try reading a book like: In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon, Edited and introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi. This will give you an elementary to mid level knowledge about Buddhism.

They say that way, you could understand for yourself.

Buddhism has is system with is 3 folds:

  • theory
  • a practice to understand, experience and verify the theory at the experiential level
  • understanding gained by experiencing the theory through the practice

So it is a valid response to verify things for yourself. (Though not in the context when answering question on this site.)

Say there is a person who has not experienced some aspect of the teaching. If it is purely theoretical he may even have doubt if he understood it correctly. If such a person is asked what is so and so the better response would be to find out yourself than try to explain something the person does not have a full understanding himself. Understanding yourself the aspects would be more clearer than perhaps an explanation the person you ask might be able to give.

Also such understanding is 3 folds:

  • basic theoretical understanding by reading and learning
  • further understanding by logical induction
  • ultimate understanding through meditation, mental cultivation and development of wisdom

still makes them hostile when their beliefs are questioned?

A Buddhist, a non Buddhist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew or whatever you call yourself, people get attached to belief systems and view. If you are not an Arahat then this is the natural reaction of any worldly person. If you challenge their view them they get offended or hostile.

Leaving a Buddhism aside link about discussing politics, sports, or any other topic these tendencies persist.

Just because you are a Buddhist you cannot get over these tendencies. To get over the you have to do Vipassanā and achieve the penetrating wisdom to overcome these tendencies. A person with no deep wisdom developed is in most cases subjected to perversions which can manifest as hostility. Someone who has not overcome these tendencies even they call the a Buddhism will have these tendencies.

More on perversion see: Vipallasa Sutta

Why is a religion that keeps its followers in abject poverty

Buddhism does not keep any body in poverty. The poverty in Tibet is due to its social, political and economic situations than to do with Buddhism.

If you take some african and some latin american countries many are non Buddhists but poverty still prevails.

There is a misconception about Buddhism that Buddhists are content hence do not make effort to progress. But if you take the perfection it contain determination and effort without which you cannot achieve any spiritual progress. This can be generalised to worldly and mundane endeavors also. Once you put in effort you should not get stressed out or saddened or emotional if things do not go your way. This is one thing achieved through desire or wishing, but only be realised through the practice of meditation or mental cultivation.

I would like to know what religion is real.

A religion you can verify there and now can be considered a real religion. Buddhism have meditation systems whereby you can ascertain the theory is infact real at an experiential level. When you verify something at the experiential level, you do not have to just believe something or have faith on something which you cannot verify.

Also Buddhism does not fit the traditional definitions of religion hence not considered by some as a religion.

But all of them seems to contradict each other and there is no basis for their beliefs.

There will be may contradicting view. Brahmajāla Sutta does mentions many forms of such conflicting religions view and their origin.

Its not like my community is small either but there are a lot of us who drive fast cars and have a lot of fun.

Enjoying life is not an issue. The issue arises when things do not go your way. They you may get emotional or stressed. This is the issue. I a sure you and your community would have felt some emotions of the other at some point of time.

Buddhism aims to make you mind balanced through wisdom so you do not lose the balance of your mind when things do not go your way.

In my thinking religion is a mind control virus. So, all this talk about going to hell and heaven is based on being controlled and the virus talking.

Some religions promise reward in heaven and damnation in hell or punishment as means to control people and beliefs. Buddhism does not do that. It just shows the repercussions of actions you take but it is up to you to burn your hand or not. Also this is not limited to belief but can be verified through meditation.

I mean which hell

Buddhism has multiple hells. One hell we can see are the animals. Some animals hunt others. So the hunted live in fear and when hunted they die in pain. There is also decies and famines which affect them. This is considered one form of hellish existence.

  • Do you think I should move this question to Meta, or leave it here: is it a question about Buddhism, or is it a question about asking and answering questions? – ChrisW Apr 13 '16 at 8:57
  • This is not about the site per say. It is about that OPs misconception about Buddhists and doubts resulting from them. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Apr 13 '16 at 9:55
  • 2
    Perhaps it relates to a situation where the OP asked a question from a Buddhist and he lost his cool which the OP is stereotyping to all Buddhists. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Apr 13 '16 at 9:57
  • 2
    Sadhu Suminda and may the OP be happy – Kaveenga Wijayasekara Apr 13 '16 at 22:44

To balance the more thoughtful, detailed answer I will try to succinctly say two things.

Buddhists are hostile because everyone is hostile. It is a human characteristic, not a Buddhist characteristic. But I appreciate the fact that Buddhist practices directly address the experience of and cessation of hostility. As someone who struggles with aversion, I really appreciate the idea of hostility as a hindrances and finding that there are antidotes for hostility. If you want to explore this there are many sources which explain hindrances and antidotes in detail.

Also, I think that you are receiving hostile responses because your question is hostile. If you recognize that, you can reword your question and perhaps get helpful responses.


I don't want to argue, but my own experience has been that Buddhists are not "hostile".

For example, Is rebirth a delusional belief? was the first question I posted on this site, and people's answers to that question were not hostile.

I expect that whatever responses you get (from Buddhists as from anyone else) will be influenced by the way in which you phrase your questions.

FYI your questions seem to me hostile (as if you're anti-Buddhist), seem prejudiced (as if you've already decided that Buddhism is irrational), and as if you're posting either because you want an argument (with someone) or as if you simply want to make the argument that Buddhism is wrong.

You might get a more useful (and/or more friendly) response if you assumed that Buddhism is helpful and worth understanding, or if the reason why you're asking about it is because you already believe there's something good to know about it and you want to know more.

Also this is a question-and-answer site, not a discussion forum. "What is reincarnation?" might be a topic you'd like to discuss (or argue about), but people might be reluctant to discuss it, not because they're hostile but because discussion is not the purpose of this site. If you look at other topics, they consist of relatively small (answerable) questions with answers. "What is reincarnation?" might be too large a topic to answer ... for that reason it might be better to read something (elsewhere or on this site) about Buddhism, then if you want to ask a more specific question about something then do that.



I am sorry to read about your hostile encounters with Buddhists. There are about 400 million people who claim to be Buddhists, give or take a few million. For some it's a conscious choice yet for many it's the environment that they were born into, much like a person would have a greater chance of being a Muslim if born in Saudi Arabi or a Catholic if born in Brazil.

To learn more about the Buddha's teaching you might be better served online, unless you have access to a learned compassionate teacher. There are many site like accessto insight.org and dharmafarer.org. Personally i have found challenging Buddhist doctrine not an issue, but challenging Buddhist culture does provoke a different response.

Buddhists would do well to remember these words of the Buddha found in the Brahmajala Sutta DN1 "If, bhikkhus, others speak in dispraise of me, or in dispraise of the Dhamma, or in dispraise of the Sangha, you should not give way to resentment, displeasure, or animosity against them in your heart. For if you were to become angry or upset in such a situation, you would only be creating an obstacle for yourselves. If you were to become angry or upset when others speak in dispraise of us, would you be able to recognize whether their statements are rightly or wrongly spoken?"

May you be happy.


Buddhism is not a religion. I'll say it again. I'll keep saying it. There is no mind control virus. It's your mind and your perception of your community. Open up your perspective and absorb more and come back with better questions rather than foolish assumptions. Following are your statements.

Why is a religion that keeps its followers in abject poverty (poor tibetan buddhists picture here)

I would like to know what religion is real. But all of them seems to contradict each other and there is no basis for their beliefs.

So, all this talk about going to hell and heaven is based on being controlled and the virus talking.

You seem to be focussed on Buddhism as a religion. Buddhism is not a religion. There. I said it again.

You seem to be concentrating on hell vs. your experience of life. First concentrate on the basic aspects of your life and mind and back it up with better reading and better thinking.

Let's take this into perspective. Let's say in our conversation, I say there is hell for sure. You say no, you don't think so. How close are we to the truth now? Nowhere close are we? I say there is reincarnation. You say there is no reincarnation. Again, how close are we to the truth? This is an endless cycle. It's nonsense, I'll use your words here. Ignore those aspects because nobody will ever know for sure. If you ask them why, they'll say Buddha said so or somebody said this. We will never know because we don't have the necessary mindset to understand it. That's why I say, as normal people, get back to the basics. Use common sense instead. And practice meditation. That's it. Why bother about some reincarnation as a pigeon or something? ;)

You seem to be "hell bent" (if I may use that word) on correcting Buddhism. Why?

I think I'll add the following which will show why perspective is important.

I am not even a Buddhist, let alone Tibetan Buddhist. I don't concentrate on aspects of hell or heaven or wonderland. Maybe it is true, maybe it is not. I don't even say "Lord" Buddha. I don't care about him.

I care about being practical. About life experience and what we do. Gautama Buddha is almost an anthropologist. Our mind's workings are very important and if we fix that then Samsāra as we know it, will fix itself.


You have answered your question yourself. Organized religions are always a construct to sell oneself to masses. Buddhism sells Nirvana, Hinduism sell Moksha, Islam sells Paradise and so on. But the objective of any religion is evolution of mankind which is embedded in teachings of enlightened ones. You are asking right thing to wrong set of people. People who are not enlightened will generally be hostile. You need to find an enlightened person and till you find one you have no option but to use scriptures. That is the reason people are asking you to read. An enlightened person is a living scripture. He will not quote any scripture. But it is difficult to find one. Those who know it dont show it. Whenever I praise Buddha I get upvotes. But the moment I write critically about Buddhism I get downvotes without any comments. You should rely on living buddha and if you cannot find one read sermons of dead ones but not interpreted versions by sect or organized religions. It is number game. The heads of sects and organized religions are just bothered about numbers of their followers. Stay clear of sects and religion just focus on direct teachings.

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