I love Dogen’s teachings. I am dedicated to zazen practice. I do my best to follow the Buddhist Precepts. I even like some of the ceremonies Zen Buddhists do and do them myself. I haven’t burnt my robes yet. Even when I said I was not a “member of clergy” it was because Zen Buddhist monks are not members of clergy — even those who think they are.
But Zen Buddhism as an organized religion holds no appeal to me. The organizations who claim to uphold the Zen Buddhist Way can be just as corrupt, hypocritical and ineffectual as any other religious institution out there.
There is a concern among some non-believers that atheism is developing into a religion in its own right, with its own code of ethics and self-appointed high priests.
Jones insists he is not trying to found a new religion, but some members of his congregation disagree.
“It will become an organised religion. It’s inevitable. A belief system will set in. There will be a structure, an ethical outlook on life,” says architect Robbie Harris.
He believes Evans and Jones have “a great responsibility” if the Sunday Assembly “continues to be as successful as it is now”.
George Carlin said that art, music and philosophy are merely poignant examples of what we might have been had not the priests and traders gotten hold of us. I would say that the priests and traders are the inevitable conclusion of art, music and philosophy, not the polar opposite. Spontaneous creativity will always become ritualized, dogmatized, branded and marketed by the power-hungry, at which point that spirit of spontaneous creativity will withdraw in order to emerge somewhere else. Circle of life, yo.