What are the aspects of Buddhism and it's scriptures that a Buddhist might not like to comment on?

(Note: A well-reputed forum member suggested that I should ask this question, possibly as an alternative to the sort of questions that I have been asking. So, what I have reproduced above are exactly his words. I hope this query does not offend anybody, and also that it is not considered off-topic.)

  • (I don't know which suggestion from a "a well-reputed forum member" you're referring to. Do you know how to use 'mardown formating' to insert a hyperlink in your answer? Do you know how to find the hyperlink URL associated with each question, each answer, and each comment?)
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 8:35
  • @ChrisW Can you please let it know how to find those URLs.
    – Shrawaka
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 9:38
  • 2
    I've found it here: buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/11487/… It seems to me a rather rhetoric question, btw. and not really intended to actually be asked. Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 9:50
  • @Shrawaka Underneath each question or answer there's a link which says "share":if you click on "share" that pops a URL which you can copy and paste. The URL for each comment is in the signature at the end of the comment. E.g. my comment above currently says, "... and each comment?) – ChrisW♦ 3 hours ago". If you right-click on the timestamp (which currently says "3 hours ago" but which in the future will say "days ago") your browser ...
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 12:02
  • ... will display an option like "Copy link address".
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 12:06
  • @ChrisW Thanks for help.
    – Shrawaka
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 13:36
  • @ChrisW - Uilium said to me, 'Why don't you just ask "What are the aspects of Buddhism and it's scriptures that a Buddhist might not like to comment on?"' -- These were exactly his words. I was unsure whether he wanted to be directly named, and hence I referred to him simply as 'a well-reputed forum member'. Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 15:15
  • I asked, not because I wanted to know which person said it, but because to understand a quote it's helpful to know the context in which it was said and from which it is extracted. So for example I edited the first sentence of this question to reference the specific comment instead of alluding to its author's repute.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 15:29

2 Answers 2


What are the aspects of Buddhism and it's scriptures that a Buddhist might not like to comment on?

You're asking this question on meta so I'll interpret it as,

"What aspects of Buddhism should I not comment on, on this site?"

The principal comment you should avoid here is, "Buddhists" (or "some Buddhists") "are wrong".

There's a parable, which I want you to know:

Examples of acceptable or useful questions (about dhamma) ask about the elephant:

  • In what way is an elephant like a sail?
  • In such and such a sutta it says that an elephant is like a tree trunk. I didn't understand that, could you explain it a little further?

Examples of unacceptable questions imply that (all and/or some) Buddhists are wrong:

  • The "plowshare" school of Buddhism implies that an elephant is like a plowshare. Modern scientists has never seen an elephant plowing. So why is the plowshare school so stupid? Don't scientists know now a lot more about it than they do?

Some people say this is a site "about Buddhism" not necessarily "a Buddhist site". However I think that if it's not a site "for Buddhists", or "which includes Buddhists", then I wouldn't see the point of this site. The 'community' (i.e. users of this site) want to teach Buddhism, and they want to learn Buddhism. Most people don't come here to argue about Buddhism, and if that (i.e. arguments) is what this site offers them then they may not accept it.

The difference between 'a discussion' and 'an argument' may be subjective and therefore difficult to legislate. However, if arguments and negativity cause expert users to become dissatisfied with the site, then the difference between discussion and argument is a material difference even if it's subjective, and I think moderators should intervene accordingly.

I think it matters, especially, how you ask a question, and why. It's less a matter of what ("which topics" or "which aspects") to avoid and more a matter of how you ask it. When I asked about 'rebirth' for example I didn't ask, "Why did people used to talk about 'rebirth' and more importantly why is anyone still talking about it, have scientists ever proven it even exists, isn't that just some superstition (and I'm asking because I despise superstition)?" Instead I asked, "Even if 'rebirth' isn't quite the most central doctrine it's still mentioned frequently, and I don't understand it, maybe I'm missing something important (and I'm asking because I want to some experts' understanding of the doctrine)."

One of the "without which, nothing" of this site is the good will of experts who are able and willing to answer question. I assume that most if not all of these experts are Buddhist themselves.

Therefore, anti-Buddhist (or even 'apparently anti-Buddhist' or 'possibly anti-Buddhist') propaganda is unwelcome.

On a mature SE site with dozens of users who vote regularly, unwanted (however 'unwanted' is defined) are downvoted, flagged, and deleted by the community. On a "Beta" site like Buddhism.SE the moderators may need to intervene a little more.

For example here are some recent comments which I find unacceptable:

The reason I suggest "Critical Reasoning" is that Skeptic is a label that some people attach to others. If you have a Skeptic tag, then maybe you should consider having a tag for a diametrically opposed quality, such as "Fundamentalist" or maybe even "Superstitious"?

That's unacceptable: because it implies that we should label various Buddhist beliefs i.e. the beliefs of various Buddhists as superstitious. It's also a silly and useless suggestion, because it implies that we'd even consider doing that. If you had a better or a longer experience with this site I hope you'd know that such a suggestion is at best useless, and at worse hostile and insulting.

And I firmly hold that by lancing superstitions and by promoting rational thought, one renders a very real service to society. By doing this, one defends the common man who cannot defend himself.

You use the word "superstition" again but I think this comment is 'wrong' in another way too. The word "lancing" as a metaphor claims you're acting as a medical doctor (or, perhaps, acting as Saint George fighting a dragon, because Saint George too had a "lance"), but imo you're not licensed to do that here, nor invited to. It also implies you do everyone a favour by defending the common man (however instead of your "defending" people some people see your posts as divisive or even "offensive").

Note that this Help page imply that your questions and answers may be edited (but please don't take that as license to write offensively and to count on the community to edit away offensive excess). When necessary I hope that experienced users will edit your posts so that the 'tone' of your posts will match the tone which other users enjoy on this site. I hope you'll also learn quickly, perhaps by example, how edit your own posts to that effect.

Apart from the content of a post (i.e. "what am I posting about?") and the tone of a post (i.e. "how am I posting that?") there's also the intent behind the post (i.e. "why am I posting?"). Some users have interpreted your posts as trolling.

It's difficult to be sure about motive or intent, but I think it's true that some of your posts are difficult to distinguish from that of a so called called "concern troll" (e.g. when you say anything like, "I'm concerned that some aspects of Buddhism are superstitious and thus misleading the common man").

In summary a working definition of divisive might be:

  • A post which a lot of users object to
  • A post which takes a lot of time to moderate
  • Thank you for the plainspeak. I will apply my mind and introspect. I am asked to word my questions differently; I get that. But, when a commenter asks why I wrote as as I did, I should be able to speak my mind plainly, even at risk being disliked (e.g. my reply about "lancing superstitions"). If my answers to blunt questions are expected to be rephrased, then IMO the right to say "I'm hurt" has gone too far. I accept your plainspeak, vote-downs and edits (and everyone else's) without ever pleading that I'm hurt or that I feel isolated. I expect the same from others. Too much to ask? Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 16:02
  • And Chris, in a discussion about adding a flag or tag called skeptic on this "Meta" site, I think I am within my rights to suggest a Fundamentalist tag. You may not think it is a good idea, and that's fine. You may think I'm not a nice person, and that's fine too. But I don't think I should have to worry about hurting someone's feelings by saying it. Please look up the definition of this word: it just defines a person (or an outlook) who/which is apt to go by the literal meaning of scriptural texts. It's not negative, only descriptive. Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 16:25
  • This is a good explanation Chris. Also, I'm one of the people who has recently reminded "This is not a Buddhist site; this is a site about Buddhism"; please allow me to clarify what that means to my understanding. Early on, in Meta, we discussed the difference which I understood to be; this is a site to inform anyone interested (Buddhist and Non Buddhist alike) about Buddhism as opposed to a group serving only people who self identify as Buddhists. Meaning anyone is welcome to ask a question. :) But your thoughts above on how to ask a question skillfully are valuable guidelines. Thank you. :)
    – Robin111
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 16:34
  • 1
    @KrishnarajRao I don't want to spend more time arguing with you, nor chatting with other users about problems they imagine they may have with you: is that OK? I don't dislike you, I don't think you're not a nice person, I don't want you to feel hurt, nor isolated, but I have other things to do. As an agent, aren't I meant to protect "the community" on this site? The "community" here don't want a site that's disagreeable. If expert users lose interest and start to leave, that's not OK, and it would ask too much of me to ask me to tolerate that. Kindly accept this and stop arguing for a while,
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 17:04
  • @ChrisW - Peace, Brother :-) I have no hard feelings, and lots of respect for the work that you and other moderators are doing. So, if you think that I'm rattling the community so much that you need me to leave, just say so in as many words, and I'll be gone. God bless! (if I may be permitted to use that expression to indicate my warm feelings towards you.) Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 17:31
  • @Chris - Here's a suggestion, if I may. How about a rule that if a person's questions are downvoted X number of times (say 50) within a month, then he loses ALL privileges for the remainder of the month. That is effectively a mute button. Presumably, that would empower experts to shush perceived troublemakers like me, make moderators/agents like yourself less anxious about experts getting peeved, and possibly, reduce the need for censorship and heavy editing. If a troublemaker gets muzzled often enough, he would probably lose interest and leave. Simple, no? :-) Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 17:50

Buddists are not answer machines. So use your chance wisely.

  • Buddhists and everybody else has the power to ignore any question. If a question displeases everybody, they will not answer my question, and I will find myself ignored. The world (and this forum) is possibly large enough for everybody to co-exist with my questions. Am I wrong? Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 16:06
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    @KrishnarajRao Believe me, I have spent 30 years to study this. Give up job, house, and etc..But If I had a chance to ask questions from a person ( Like Andrei ) who can understand what i ask, the time will definitely reduce. SO hurry up. I can see you have the power to understand this. So try to ask questions methodically. means from normal to complex. Do not mix. anyway decision is up to you.
    – Shrawaka
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 16:23
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    Love and peace :-) We will resume our discussion later. Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 17:34

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