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Feminism before Buddhism

18 Aug

I’m not sure quite how to write this without sounding like I’m making gross generalizations. Just bear in mind that I am generalizing based on experiences spanning over a decade.

I noticed back in my thirties that I generally need to be on my guard with Buddhists. They generally tend to be judgmental and holier-than-thou. I can’t be myself around Buddhists. I need to hide my emotions around them—though I’ve had my fill of that, thanks to relatives and frenemies from my past. In theory, Buddhism is about observing your emotions rather than acting upon them… or suppressing them. Admittedly, when I describe these sanctimonious Buddhists, I’m not referring to meditation instructors, monks, or nuns; I’m only referring to laypeople who aren’t trained meditation instructors.

With feminists, I can generally be myself, speak more openly, and let my emotions show. Buddhists claim to be kind and compassionate, but I generally find feminists truly are kind and compassionate, not to mention empathic and tolerant, good listeners. I’ve even left two so-called Buddhist sanghas because I found myself surrounded by anti-vegetarian bullies.

Buddhists often have a sanctimonious attitude that you should be kind and patient and compassionate toward your abusers and people like them. If I thought Buddhism was about humoring sexual harassers, as one Buddhist lectured, I’d have ditched Buddhism. That was back in 2007, and here I am, finally doing it.

Under patriarchy, systemic misogyny, and systemic racism, our society has been entirely too kind and compassionate toward abusers and not sufficiently kind and compassionate toward survivors and scapegoats and the vulnerable. This society rewards sexual predators and punishes survivors for speaking up.

I’ve always prioritized feminism over everything, including Buddhism. I prefer feminism and secular humanism to religion. Feminism is a passion for social justice. I have met some feminist Buddhists, and I can be myself around most of them, so there are exceptions.

In this patriarchal society, I’ve been gaslighted and invalidated and treated dismissively since early childhood (and yes, I acknowledge that all women and people of marginalized genders can say the same). I don’t think it’s okay for Buddhism or any religion to perpetuate this. In theory, Buddhism shouldn’t have a patriarchal and misogynistic slant; in practice, it’s another story.

Recently, a Buddhist friend at least seemed to chastise me for resenting narcissists and sociopaths from my past. She claims you should have compassion for narcissists and sociopaths. She even claims that because of a new theory that pedophiles are wired to be pedophiles, we should have compassion for them. Misogyny is mainstream, and there’s an international epidemic of rape and violence against women and girls; but she’s obsessed with having compassion for abusers.

I gave narcissists and sociopaths endless compassion for decades, in exchange for which they used me and abused me psychologically. No, they’re NOT entitled to use and abuse people. And no, after forty-five years of being used and abused by narcissists and sociopaths, I shouldn’t have to pretend they aren’t evil. Because they ARE evil.

I’m not ashamed of having emotions that are a natural response to all those years of psychological abuse and lies, and I don’t appreciate Buddhists shaming me, just as I don’t appreciate toxic relatives or frenemies shaming me and victim-blaming.

I’m finally no longer bending over backwards and practicing self-negation for psychological abusers. I’m finally paying attention to my own needs and boundaries and attempting to practice self-care. I finally know that I’m a psychic empath and am taking my intuition seriously. The last thing I need is to associate with someone who shames me for this. I’m never going back.

Over a decade ago, I drove nearly 2,000 miles to escape toxic relatives around whom I couldn’t be myself; I had to hide my emotions, opinions, and beliefs. Yet I repeatedly find that I must do the same around Buddhists, or they’re dismissive, sanctimonious, and judgmental. I’m socially uncomfortable with them. Now I’m as wary of organized religion as I was before I became Buddhist. The fact that I can’t be myself around Buddhists should have been a sign long ago.

It’s time I ditch Buddhism and resume being just a feminist and Neopagan. I’ll continue meditating and reading Buddhist books, such as those by Sharon Saltzberg. However, I can’t be around Buddhists. I’ve known for a long time that I prioritize feminism above Buddhism. I know which is more ethical and validating.

Murphy’s Law Monday

2 Apr

My having a cold, which includes congested ears making everything sound muffled and not quite real, has almost certainly contributed to my problems this morning, because it means I was less mindful than usual.

My plans involved stopping at the nearest supermarket for ginger ale, toilet paper (of which I was almost out), and a cup of coffee and, most urgent, cash back at the register so I would have enough quarters for the laundromat. I couldn’t put off the laundromat any longer if I wanted to wear clean underwear.

I made my purchases at the supermarket, and the annoying problems began at the Starbucks counter.

I have the Starbucks app, which allows you to pay using your smartphone. But I recently purchased a new cell phone, so I wasn’t logged into the Starbucks app, as I discovered at the counter. I started attempted to log in but couldn’t recall my password and let another customer go ahead while I attempted to acquire a new password via either email.

The barista must have served five other customers by the time I was typing in a new password… and repeatedly getting it rejected even though it fit the requirements of eight or more characters including one capital letter and one number.

I paid with cash.

To push my grocery cart with both hands, I placed my tall cup of dirty chai in the small grocery cart. Seconds after I started pushing it, the cup tipped sideways and spilled–and I grabbed it and carried it with one hand while pushing the cart with my other hand all the way to the car. I wasn’t going to carry a grocery bag, two four-packs of ginger ale, and a dirty chai.

I drove straight to the laundromat, parked, and realized I’d forgotten to bring my bag of laundry.

When I went home, I grabbed the bag of laundry and didn’t think to take the groceries inside.

I parked at the laundromat a second time and opened the back gate to get the bottle of detergent. A four-pack of Jamaican ginger beer slipped out of the trunk and landed with a loud pop onto the pavement, shattering one bottle and opening another. At first I stop gasping in horror and in sticky socks, but I was quick enough to pick up the open but unbroken bottle and save maybe a third of the bubbling contents.

The Buddha talked about what is typically translated as “suffering,” an inevitable part of life. But a better translation is “discontent.” Nothing catastrophic happened to me today, but it was certainly a series of unpleasant events. Okay, I didn’t mean that to be a reference to A Series of Unfortunate Events.