A Musing on Bad Buddhism


You know how people claim to associate with a particular faith or spiritual system but behave in a manner that would suggest otherwise?

I hate that.

I am that.

I am a Buddhist.  Even saying that is difficult for the anti-conformist, free-spirited wanderer in me, but in as much as anything is “true” I must say this with veracity: I am a Buddhist.

I strive to truly practice Buddhism, but here is, of course, where things get difficult.  I strive to practice Buddhism almost purely for selfish and self-serving reasons.  In a nutshell, I want a peaceful mind and a peacefulness of Being.  The constant insanity can wear thin on a motherfucker…

But, see, right there? “I want.”


I’m fucked right from the start!

I self-identify as Buddhist, and strive to become a better Buddhist in practice, because that is the only path towards peacefulness that has ever made sense to me.  The wisdom earned and knowledge emparted by the Buddhist philosophy (or spirituality, or whatever you want to call it, as long as you don’t call it religion) quite literally saved my life, and I feel it will continue to enrich it (if I put in the work).  Buddhism is Life itself, and so there is something about the study and practice of this spirituality that has always felt so innate, so natural to me…

By the way, I’ve made that “saved my life” claim a few times in posts here, and not to worry (all two of you reading along) – I will tell that story. 🙂

Here’s another human mind-fuck hang-up, though.  I am, as the fleshy, Earthly, human bag of meat and calcium deposit we all are, an imperfect being.  I am neurotic and angry and paranoid and antisocial and misanthropic and delusional and anarchistic and scornful and unpredictable and compulsive and vengeful and prone to fits of madness and rage, and all around just a wee bit on the crazy side.

I am constantly, it seems, embroiled in an internal War of the Ages over the very fibers of existence itself.  And I get bored with just fighting myself and all of We and so We like to yank you humans and the rest of Reality into Our bloody insanity mess for a bit of the old “Hey, How Are Ya?!”

What I think I’m trying to say, is, I get off on hating and judging and lashing out against and just generally fucking DEALING on other people.  A lot of this happens exclusively between my synapses, so not to worry too much — though occasionally there is some collateral damage.  Especially if we work in a kitchen together… >:]

Problem is, this isn’t a very Buddhist way to Be.


Buddhism reveals that we, as subjective manifestations of the Universe itself, are a part of all things and all things are a part of us.  (I am paraphrasing badly here.)  Therefore, I must love all things because I am a part of all things, and all things are a part of me.

This is the point where my human brain cloud comes in and tries to “help.”

It stands to reason that I only have the capacity to love all things insomuch as I love myself, or rather, to the extent that I love myself.  And I can only love myself to the extent that I love all things.  To the extent that I personify love.  I cannot possibly show love for the entirety of Being beyond the capacity for which I myself am capable of loving. Right??

However, if I am the Universe experiencing itself subjectively — as we all are — then I should be capable of experiencing the universal love of all creation, correct?  I should have that universal unlimited capacity…

SHOULD have…

My comfort exists in a place of scorn, loathing, and brooding.  I have become comfortable here because my imperfect, inefficient body and the bitter mechanisms of mental/spiritual illness that exist in that imperfection have become my standard.  My normal.

Thing is, Normal can Change.

It will take time, but I trust my intuition when it tells me that normal can be what you make it.  What you choose.  How you decide to react and proactively approach those elements of Being that are beyond your control.  Because it is ALL beyond our control.  We have only our response.

I can love all things because I know that the hatred and scorn I seem to feel is only an imperfect reaction to an imperfect reality.  That doesn’t mean I have to truly LIKE all things, though…does it?

Fuck brah.  No wonder they tell you to study under a Master.

Next Step: Find a Buddhist Master!  I should also probably sit zazen more.  Everyone should sit zazen more…


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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