The Dark Side of Meditation

Anders Breivik in court via the metro.co.uk

Meditation should make you a better person right? Calmer, kinder, more empathetic?

Well, maybe not.

Today at his trial, according to observers, Anders Breivik claimed to be a daily meditator.

Breivik says he meditates “every single day” in order to be “desensitised, blunted”. Started in 2006. (via here)

I haven’t the time for a thorough discussion of this point here and now, but it’s worth noting that meditation isn’t exclusively ‘Buddhist’, nor does it necessarily have positive moral effects (or so it would seem here). What type, and (more importantly) what ethical practices (sila) and understanding/wisdom (panna) accompany meditation are far more important than how often you ‘sit’ – or that you sit at all.

It has been said enough times to go unsaid, but Buddhism and so much of Eastern wisdom and practice has been ‘boiled down’ in the West to meditation in the name of getting rid of unwanted cultural accretions…

Careful, folks.

Maybe those medieval, unsophisticated, etc etc cultural accretions are important.

Let’s just hope Breivik doesn’t claim to be an all-out Buddhist tomorrow.

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