Several days ago this thought came to me: Beware of Buddhist moralists—eventually will come the end of Buddhism. As I began to think more about this, I concluded that Buddhism (Western pop or street corner Buddhism) rests solely on a not so self-evident moral structure (a very crude one, to boot). It has the effect of leading to a Buddhism of moral behavior which, at the same time, indirectly undermines the original Buddhism of gnosis that alone reaches nirvana.
We should never forget that Buddhism is a system. It does not spin around morality. According to the Buddha in The Relays of Chariots Sutta (M. i. 149–50), using the example of King Pasenadi’s seven relays of chariots, purity of moral habit as a chariot is for the purpose of reaching the chariot of purity of mind. Purity of mind is for the purpose of reaching the purity of view. Purity of view goes as far as crossing over doubt, etc. Eventually by this system of relays we reach nirvana without attachment.
When, so to speak, we give up the relay system that leads to nirvana and choose, instead, to ride around in the chariot of moral habit, we have broken the system. Already the system is breaking. There is a primitive moral underpinning in place in every Dharma and Zen center, not to mention the majority of Internet discussion forums like Dharma Wheel. This moral underpinning consists of two simple rules.
1. If we don't like your particular views we will treat you unfairly by suspending you or banning you.
2. Those who make the rules are permitted to break the rules.
For anyone who has been a member of a Dharma group these two simple rules subtend all other rules, even fake rules designed to appear fair and tolerant. Where this is leading is to another form of Buddhism, one that is becoming a religion like any other religion with its moralists who are nothing more than petty dictators.
Ironically, Buddhist moralists have given up on nirvana and certainly the relay of knowledge and vision that leads to it. They are quite happy with their position which they believe represent Buddhism—but does not. Take my word for it. Keep in mind that I was kicked out of a very famous Tibetan Dharma center a number of years ago for asking a visiting Lama, “What is mind?” This was probably a violation of rule number one. But then it is always rule number one. To prove my point I was recently banned for life from the Buddhist Internet forum, Dharma Wheel for a violation of rule number one.
My advice to those wishing to study Buddhism who know very little about it, stay away from Buddhist moralists. There are no shortages of moralists in modern society—the shelves of Buddhism are stocked full. The only thing a moralist has is a measuring rod the length of which is adjusted on an ad hoc basis.