Peaceful Warrior

I remembered reading this book years ago, and had a moderately favorable opinion of it, so I thought it'd be a good idea to rent the movie this weekend. Meh. The words Buddhism or Zen are never mentioned directly (except that one character nicknames another "Buddha"). Yet it's obvious that most of the philosophy is taken from Zen. The movie seems like it's trying to be Buddhism 101.

What irks me is the introduction of mysticism into Buddhist philosophy. It seems like every representation of Buddhism in pop culture contains some reference to the supposed superpowers of its followers. We're ninjas, we can leap tall buildings in a single bound, we can dodge bullets, etc. This totally misses the point of Buddhist practice and provides a distraction. Basically, if those are the skills you desire, Buddhism is a bad place to acquire them. I also don't like the connotations of the word "warrior." I realize it's used in the context of "warrior of the mind" or whatever, but you really cannot escape the violent origins of the word.

I am no Buddhist purist - I drink, I eat meat, among other unskillful habits - but I know what I'm doing isn't consistent with Buddhism. What I don't like is people being led down an unskillful path and having that path labeled "Buddhism." It's false advertising. It's sloppy. It reminds me of the Christian churches that use rock music to attract a younger generation. There's nothing necessarily unChristian about rock music, but if your way of living is so attractive, why do you have to call attention to it? Let it speak for itself, without ninja moves or funky guitar riffs.

The commodification of Zen really irks me, as in this blog. To be sure, the writer provides helpful tips, and some of them do seem to be geared towards simplifying one's life or becoming more spiritual. But "6 steps to lose the Buddha (belly)"?

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