Buddhism seems pretty harmless to me.
There are no threats of hell or promises of heaven attached to being a Buddhist as opposed to being a non-Buddhist. The term ‘Buddhist’ is a mere label and has no inherent existence. The condition of future lives is determined by actions of body, speech and mind and not by religious affiliation. If our religion encourages positive actions and states of mind then it is doing its job. If it causes hatred, division and pride then it isn’t working and maybe we should try something else. Buddhism does not make use of the psychological blackmail techniques which are said to be characteristic of memes.
Just sticking the Buddhist label on yourself doesn’t automatically make you superior to non-Buddhists. In fact, in most forms of Buddhism the belief that one is superior to others, for whatever reason, is seen as a dangerous delusion.
Buddhism does not attempt to suppress reason by dogma. Unlike most other religions, Buddhism isn’t so much about things to believe, as things to do. It is a technology of mind improvement. This is why Buddhists often refer to themselves as practictioners rather than believers. The Buddha told his students to trust their own experience of the effectiveness of the teachings, and not believe things just because he said so.
Buddhism does NOT claim to be the one and only valid spiritual path (a teaching known as ‘exclusivism’ in other belief-systems). It is NOT based on claims of divine authority. Buddha never claimed to be divine or sent from God. His teachings are to be judged by their effectiveness in promoting peace and spiritual realisations, rather than unverifiable claims to their origin.
Buddhism does not believe in using war or terrorism to further its cause and does not persecute former Buddhists who have changed their religion.Neither does it encourage ecologically disastrous population policies (or lack of policies).
Buddhists have no need to suppress, censor or misrepresent the teachings of other religions, as Buddhist philosophy is totally rational and quite capable of withstanding criticism from other belief systems. In fact, Buddhism appears to be the only spiritual system which can provide counterarguments to modern secular materialism. Neither is Buddhism even slightly corroded by what Dennett (1995) claims to be the universal spiritual acid of Darwinism.
Buddhism recognises that one of the most destructive delusions is excessive attachment to any view, which will thus appear virtuous and right for all people. The harm that can be done by excessive attachment to ideologies and abstractions is far greater than that caused by attachment to wealth or material objects. As a consequence, Buddhism is one of the few religions which has never attempted to propagate itself and exterminate its enemies by war and tyranny. A fanatical Buddhist is, by definition, a deluded Buddhist.
So what’s wrong or dangerous about Buddhism?