When I first started reading about the Buddha‘s life, I was disappointed to learn that the existence of God was one of the subjects on which he declined to make a definitive comment. At the time, this seemed to me either rather unfair or something of a cop-out – surely this was exactly the kind of topic that an awakened being should pronounce upon, for the benefit of all. However, after the last couple of years of amusing but unproductive pantomime debate (“oh yes he does, oh no he doesn’t”), I am beginning to get a sense of how not answering may well have been an enlightened response.
The “Buddha” link in his piece goes to the FWBO’s Who Was the Buddha? page. Also, because it’s there, Christopher Hitchens dismisses Buddhism with the following:
The Dalai Lama claims to be a hereditary god and a hereditary king. I don’t think any decent person can assent to that proposition. You should take a look at what Tibet was like when it was run by the lamas. Buddhism has some of the same problems as Western religion. Zen was the official ideology of Hirohito’s fascism that was used to conquer and reduce the rest of Asia to subservience. The current dictatorship in Burma is officially Buddhist. The Buddhist forces in Sri Lanka are the ones who began the horrific civil war there with their pogroms against the Tamils in the 1950s and 1960s. Lon Nol’s army in Cambodia was officially Buddhist.
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