Kathy Shaidle: ‘What kind of Buddhism is this, Otto?’


Now, Americans in particular take a lot of guff (see: “I forgot my mantra…”) for seeming to prefer trompe l’oeil religion—what Flannery O’Connor had her Hazel Motes concoct: a “Holy Church of Christ Without Christ.” That’s probably not surprising considering you’re a country cofounded by deists.

But while it’s funny to witness lily-white lapsed Catholics, still supposedly stinging from Sister’s ruler, sitting in Zen meditation classes where they’re sure to be slapped with an even bigger stick, let’s remember that Buddhism was an Eastern religion first. It’s like Pearl Harbor: They started it.