I am working on my meditation practice again. One of the disadvantages of living in Latin America is that there are no meditation centers down here. These are completely missing in Latino culture – and from the gringo culture living down here also. But I do have Internet access and I found a meditation center on there – Audio Dharma - and listening to the talks there is reviving my practice. California is full of the most amazing stuff – and if I had the money I would still be living there.
One thing Buddhism teaches is awareness – a skill that is just as crucial today as it ever was. And it also teaches you how to control your mind – another crucial skill that has been completely abandoned. Unless you have a mind that is in control – your life is severely limited. And a culture of people with their minds out of control is doomed.
Buddhism, as a religion, has been a failure. Buddhist countries are in as a bad shape as any other – Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Sri Lanka for example. But Buddhism has transitioned successfully to the West – where, for a small part of the population, its usefulness is appreciated. Zen, however, has had its share of scandals – especially sexual scandals.
The type of meditation practice I prefer is Vipassana or Insight Meditation. If you take a look at the Wikipedia article you will quickly see how complicated this can be. It is not something you can think about very well – but any good organization can teach you how to do it – fairly easily – knowing full well that most of their students will soon forget about it. The pressures against maintaining such are practice are just too powerful.
Memetics provides the reason for this. Memes want to be in control of our minds – and they do not want a mind that can resist them. The Modern World is a history of our memes gone out of control. This is not to say that they are necessarily bad – some of them are excellent – and we need to nourish the ones that are. But we cannot do that if our minds are not in control of our behavior.
Buddhism has gotten a good press in America and England – where it has its adherents. But Memes have been completely ignored by everyone – including the Buddhists. For some reason, the two have not mixed.
Buddhists, like everyone else, have ignored the Big Problem – that the Human Race is finished – unless some Really Big Miracle happens.