Approximately one third of the world's population attains to ideals of virtue, kindness and respect toward all living things.   Buddhism represents these ideals regardless of one's culture or beliefs and therefore in the truest meaning of these ideals, Buddhism cannot be described as a religion, but as a state of mind.

    States of mind

  1. First state of mind is a sense of beauty and wonderment of the world, without an awareness of a self.   Our sense of existence is understanding.

  2. Second state of mind is one of activity, contribution and interaction.   Our sense of existence is based on giving.

  3. Third state of mind is self-centeredness from which everything we perceive is separate.   Our sense of existence is based on taking.

Questioning states of mind has existed throughout human history and at approx 500BC Buddhism (meaning 'to awaken') evolved to represent a state of mind that could be harmony with nature and each other.   The driving force behind those who enter Buddhism is the quest for enlightenment.   Regardless of the origins being contributed to an individual Gautama_Buddha, Buddhism also symbolised a movement in the transition of human consciousness at that time.


The aim of this page is to question the purpose of Buddhism in the modern world.   To do so requires us to look at the meaning behind the quest for Enlightenment.

If we mean by enlightenment  "Awaken from the darkness of ignorance and see truth"  we find ourselves in a quagmire (predicament) of never-ending arguments of interpretation.

However, if by enlightenment we mean  "Freedom from fear"   as a state of Nirvana (elimination of the Self)  then the logic we are confronted with, is that Enlightenment is not a state of mind that can be achieved by an individual separate from the rest of humanity.   Enlightenment can only represent a state of human consciousness as a whole.

The difficulty caused by miss-understanding this logic caused many variations of Buddhism to evolve, each one struggling to find ultimate clarity.   There are divisions between those who believe that enlightenment is achieved by participating in various rituals and practices of chanting, mantras, meditation and prostrations.   Then there are divisions between those who claim enlightenment can only be achieved through interpretation, analysis and correct thought.

There is also a further distinction of division between a person who supposedly has been awakened from the darkness of ignorance to see the true nature of reality, through the teachings of a Buddha,   as being different from a person who has awakened from the darkness of ignorance to see the true nature of reality, without instruction, being described as achieving Buddha consciousness.

    World teacher

J Krishnamurti

For over than a thousand years many religious teachings predicted the coming of a new world teacher who would clarify all previous miss-understandings and challenge humanity so deeply that traditional religious beliefs would cease to have meaning.   Through a circumstance of extraordinary events that gave rise to the Theosophical society, J Krishnamurti choicelessly undertook the task.

After denouncing the Theosophical society that created him, Krishnamurti relentlessly challenged Buddhism, shaking it to its core.   Many have been mystified by his action for doing this, because Buddhism and J Krishnamurti's teachings appear to be almost identical.   We must first understand the principles behind Buddhism to understand Krishnamurti's actions.   A summary of J Krishnamurti's life is on the Great minds page.

Noble truths

Buddhist philosophy has existed for approx 2,500 years and is based on pragmatism and intelligence with the premise for accurate observation.   "All things that are composed are libel to decay, therefore strive energetically for salvation".   In science today this observation is described as the Second law of thermo-dynamics.   The teachings of Buddhism are based on 4 Noble Truths.

  1. Suffering is inevitable
  2. The cause of suffering is craving and attachment.
  3. The cessation of suffering is the cessation of craving and attachment.
  4. The way to cessation of suffering is by following the Eight-fold path.

1 right view   2 right intention   3 right speech   4 right action   5 right livelihood  
6 right effort   7 right mindfulness   8 right concentration.

Baby Buddha

In ancient times the beginning of most mass movements is shrouded in myth and legend and it is unclear if Buddha was an actual person or a mythical concept that symbolises and embodies the movement.   Unlike many organised religions that utilise paradox to create contradiction and deception, Buddhism uniquely embraces paradox and humour to expose contradiction and self deception.   Over the centuries the Buddhist movement evolved into an order or ranking, education and ritual for those proclaimed as Monks and Nuns to spread the understanding of the Eight-fold path.   A Buddhist abides by guidelines, described as Precepts.

  • Not harming living creatures
  • Accepting only what is freely given
  • Living a moral life
  • Speaking truthfully and in kindness
  • No intoxicants of any type

The spread of Buddhism was achieved through the implementation of Hospitals, Wells and Herb gardens, an act of giving that could not be miss-interpreted by any ruler of the time.   Travelling Monks would abide by three strict rules.   No special prepared meals.   Eat only what others are eating.   Teach and except hospitality for no more than two consecutive days.

Struggle for interpretation

As with all new movements, divisions for interpretation and conflict evolve.   Is Buddhism a religion or a state of mind?   During the feudal era Buddhism achieved great favour with the rulers because of its capacity to bring peace and harmony to the land.   However the ways of a Buddhism Monk could be exploited by taking advantage of the generosity of the King for permanent lodgings and free meals.

2500 years

One of the many excellent books on Buddhism is  "2500 Years Of Buddhism"  by P.V. Bapat,  published by the Govt of India 1959, and can be viewed online www.quangduc.com / 2500years   Chapter IV   Four Buddhist Councils     starting from  'The Third Council, 3rd paragraph',  gives us an understanding of the complexities that evolved and were later though to have been resolved ... but...

2500 Years of Buddhism

    The material prosperity of the monasteries grew by leaps and bounds and the monks lived in ease and comfort.   The heretics who had lost their income and honour were attracted by these prospects to enter their own old faiths and practices and preached their doctrines as the doctrines of the Buddha.   This caused extreme distress to Thera Moggaliputta who retired to a secluded retreat on the Ahoganga mountain up the Ganges and stayed there for seven years.

    The numbers of the heretics and false monks became far larger than that of the true believers.   The result was that for seven years no Uposatha or Pavarana ceremony was held in any of the monasteries.   The community of the faithful monks refused to observe these festivals with the heretics.   The Emperor was filled with distress at this failure of the Brotherhood and sent commands for the observance of the Uposatha.

    A grievous blunder was committed by the Minister who was entrusted with the task.   He misunderstood the command and beheaded several monks for their refusal to carry out the King's order.   When this sad news was reported to Ashoka he was seized with grief and apologized for this misdeed.   He asked the Brotherhood whether they held him responsible.   Some thought him guilty, some not.   The King was perplexed and enquired if there was any among the monks who could set his doubts at rest.   They all said that only Thera Tissa, the son of Moggali, could answer his question.   Thereupon the King sent messengers to the monks asking him to come down to Pataliputra.

    After several unsuccessful attempts, the Elder Tissa was prevailed upon to consent to journey by boat.   On the arrival of the great monk, the monarch himself came forward to receive him.   He went knee deep into the water and extended his right hand to the Thera as a token of great reverence.

    The Venerable monk instructed the King in the holy religion of the Buddha for a week.   The King thereafter convoked as assembly of the whole community of bhikkhus.   He called the bhikkhus of several persuasions to his presence and asked them to expound the teachings of the Blessed One.   They set forth their misguided beliefs, such as the doctrine of the eternal soul, (Anatta) and so on.   These heretical monks numbering sixty thousands were expelled from Brotherhood by the King.   He thereafter interrogated the true believers about the doctrine taught by the Blessed One and they answered that it was Vibhajjavada (the religion of analytical reasoning).   When the Thera corroborated the truth of this answer, the King made the request that the Brotherhood should hold the Uposatha ceremony so that the whole community might be purified of evil elements.   The Thera was made the guardian of the Order.


From this passage, we can see three important points.   First, the Monks who were true to their faith remained absolute to their commitment, for which they were inadvertently beheaded.   Second, the grievous blunder committed by the Minister was not seen (by Buddhist principles) as an act of intent by the King and therefore no blame was cast.   Third, that the term Vibhajjavada is a classification for Buddhism as a religion of analytical reasoning.   This supposed clarification was intended to represent that Buddhism is a state of mind that is free of belief and attachment.

Regardless of good intentions (as with all religious faiths) there were remaining un-seen contradictions within this logic that caused Buddhism to further fragment over the following centuries.   However, these problems are not caused by the good intentions of religious faith but the contradictions within human consciousness as a whole.

The path of contradiction

The projected ideal of living a virtuous and moral life coupled with various artistic rituals is common to all religions of the world.   Religious rituals are often part of national culture which can provide a common joyful sense of purpose.   However, most if not all religions carry an evolutionary burden of superstitions and beliefs that result in forming an order of ranking, authority and influence that is in contradiction to their stated principles.   The historical acceptance of slavery, caste systems and feudalism demonstrates this.

The principles of Buddhism refer to clarity of logic, pragmatism and analytical thinking with no attainment to an external Deity or perpetuity in a life after death, whereas many who describe themselves as Buddhist attain to rituals, orders of ranking, superstition as Ancestor worship, belief in a Deity and Reincarnation.

Bhagwan Many movements containing a mixture of Hindu and Buddhist ideals, led by Gurus arguing they are not cults, have flourished in Western materialistic society.   Un-limited free love with the promise of Reincarnation and Karma readily adapt to the Christian Grail quest for happiness, prosperity and everlasting life for those who want more.   Some cults (described as not cults) were able to mass vast fortunes.   Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was said to have had a fleet of 90 Rolls Royce's.

Prior to the 3rd Buddhist council 250BC, the heretic monks became the dominate face of Buddhism.   Unlike this previous history when the teacher (Thera Moggaliputta) was available to clarify misconceptions that may have been appropriate at the time, the modern misconceptions are far more challenging as they do not refer to Buddhist teachings, but to human consciousness.

    Truth is a pathless land.

J Krishnamurti

The words of J Krishnamurti are sharp and clear, referring to the contradictions within human consciousness as a whole.   His criticism of those who claimed to be enlightened Buddhists was not because of the teachings of Buddhism, but because their claims only existed as words.   A description of Buddhism is not Buddhism and to live a life as a description is a false path.   How we live is the result.   His original dialogues were extensive and available in the many books bearing his name.   The below sentences are condensed paraphrases and not intended as interpretations.

There is no path to Nirvana.   The description of Nirvana is not Nirvana.   That which is described as the Tao is not the Toa.   The description is not the described.   One either is aware or is not.

Any action of thought to control thought is a waste of energy.   Analysis is paralysis.   Analysis implies there is a separation between the analyser and the analysed, which also implies a separation between the thinker and the thought.

Prayer Physically isolating oneself from the world by going on a pilgrimage to a mountain top does not isolate oneself from the memory of the world.   You are the world and the world is you.

Freedom (from fear) can only be when everybody is.   Consciousness is a singularity and not an isolated phenomenon within individuals.   Observing a bee hive demonstrates this.   The DNA of all living creatures including humans differs in minor points only.

The repeating of rituals, mantras, chanting and prostrations has in no way any connection to meditation, but is only a repetitive process of pre-mediation. Burning Buddhist

The repetitive practice of ritual, chanting and pre-meditation only numbs the mind into subservience and therefore violence, or a reaction to violence turned inward by Buddhist monk who burns himself in protest ..... as a protest to what? ..... your thought that entraps you? ..... Is burning yourself a means to free yourself from your own thought? ..... which is fear.


It is difficult today for many of us to understand it was only at the beginning of the 1900s that modern medicine evolved from the late 1800s discoveries of micro-organisms and germs.   Before this time the understanding of why any person could randomly die, particularly within the first few years of life, including why plagues occurred was unknown.   Throughout human history the only explanations available were shrouded in mystical beliefs and superstitions.

The legacy and roll of Buddhism today is its core principles of compassion, pragmatism and rationality.   These core principles of Buddhism are openly accepted by the majority of the world's scientists and virtually all who are pro-active in the quest for the protection of the earth's environment.   The rituals, ceremony, orders of ranking, mantras and chanting, associated with any Religion should belong as artistic expressions of historical culture and not be used to contaminate the capacity for reason and intelligent perception.