U Vamsa’s 10 New Age Myths

[Summary: Canadian monk U Vamsa (Vansa), gave 2 talks for us in November, and below is his list of 10 ‘new age myths’ – ideas that have become widespread, but do not fit with Buddhism:]

Ten New Age Myths

Myth: Primitive tale imaginatively describing or accounting for phenomena; prevalent or false belief; person or thing falsely believed to exist….

Wrong Views

1)     We are all already ‘enlightened”… Obviously not true…Leads to NO practice and complacence…An aloofness towards various kilesas  

2)     All ‘this’ is an illusion….actually the belief in permanence is the grand illusion under which humans dwell

Abundance and prosperity grouping

3)     If it is not easy it is not the “path”

4)     Abundance and entitlement are ample requisites for attainment

5) One can indulge, think, serve, chant et al. one’s way to enlightenment

    What was the Buddha doing under the Bodhi Tree??

6)     Instant ‘enlightenment’ is possible… $5K in India…Big Mind ($325)…$USD??!!

False, partial or ‘final’ answers

7)     ‘The Secret’ is the ‘Power of Now’… Presented as the final stage to everlasting bliss…No practice…Christian, Krishnamurti…rapture, bliss is not ‘the big E’

8)     Piano, surfing, sport, skiing is my meditation….Concentration as a tonic not a means to insight

Skirting and Spinning

9)     ‘It’s not my fault, it’s my Karma’… Leading to ‘Idiot Compassion’

10) We are all one…Unity Principal vs. Cessation/Nibbana… Chief Seattle’s words not the ‘final word’


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One Response to U Vamsa’s 10 New Age Myths

  1. Marcus says:


    Interesting stuff, thank you.

    I’m especially interested in number five – the idea that one can not, for example, chant one’s way to enlightenment, that the only way to get there is to follow the Buddha’s example and get yourself onto the cushion.

    I wonder what U Vamsa would make of the many Buddhist traditions that place great emphasis on chanting and almost no emphasis at all on meditation? (I’m thinking, for example, of the Japanese Pure Land schools)

    I guess what I really need to do is see a more detailed look at these ‘New Age Myths’. Is there a longer article availble anywhere on the web or in print?

    In any case, I do like the general thrust of this myth-busting list. I remember Will blogging about this and writing how “Vamsa listed three points that all versions of Buddhism have in common: the importance of a simple life, an understanding of the law of cause and effect, and practices to purify the mind.”

    Thank you Will, Thank you U Vamsa, and thank you Little Bang,

    With Metta,


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