I would be interested in your view regarding Buddhism. For example, do you believe that all Buddhists are nothing more than idol worshippers and that they must be converted to follow the Seven Noahide Laws, and/or do you feel that that there is something of value in Buddhist methods for spiritual cultivation?


You will find throughout our people's history a process by which some elements of alien cultures are adopted while others are rejected. Not a very formalized process — the rules are rather vague and tenuous — but nevertheless successful in avoiding the syncretism that has dissolved other cultures while imbibing all that is good from the world about us. You will find distinct traces of ancient Egypt, Babylonia, Athens, Rome, Persia, Cordoba, Istanbul, Florence and every other civilization in which Jews have lived. But you'll only find those aspects which are in confluence with the body and soul of Torah. The rest we spat up like ipecac.

Interestingly, as much as we took from those alien cultures, they were even more affected than we were.

Today, this refinement process is extending to Buddhism. Many Jews began their spiritual trek with the path of Buddha and continued by discovering their own heritage in Torah. A twofold process occurs: Buddhism has evolved more in the past thirty years than in all its history before, to the point that what is presented today in America as Buddhism is already more Jewish than it is Buddhist. And, secondly, when those practicing "Jubus" return to Jewish practice, they reject those aspects that are anathematic to Torah, while making good use of those aspects that are complimentary.

Many of the Buddhist practices and world-concepts are in direct opposition to the Torah concept of singular Divine providence. When it comes to Tibetan rites, for example, Shamanism abounds. Even if the intellectual Buddhist conceives of these notions in a highly abstract fashion, they are still the notions of idolatry against which our father Abraham struggled. For a Jew to burn incense in front of a statue is horrifying, no matter what he will say are his inner intents. Similarly, the proclamation, "In Buddha I find refuge" is a catastrophe for the Jewish soul.

On the other hand, the mental rigor and personal discipline of these practices have proven of great benefit to many in their praying and meditation (both of which are organic to Judaism). Furthermore, it is likely that the essential teachings of the original teacher who is now called Buddha contain much of the ancient wisdom that was lost. Buddha lived at the time of the Babylonian Exile, as did Lao Tse (according to some historians) and Pythagoras. At that time, the Jews were deliberately transported to the frontiers of the Persian Empire. Along with them, they took their Torah knowledge and undoubtedly spread it to others. Perhaps we are now only sifting Solomon's lost jewels out of the mud in which they have been buried for two and a half millennia. On this, read The Palace & the Pigeons.

As for those who were born into Buddhist culture, I believe that they will find a particular path within the framework of the Noahide guidelines that leads them to the truth within their own heritage. In fact, I see at least one group in Japan quite close to this already.

I hope this helps. Please write if you feel there is something I have missed out.