I find that Buddhism has many of the same problems as other organized religions. How do I work with the reality that Buddhists don’t always practice what they preach?
It’s never helpful to romanticize a religion. Admittedly, it’s painful having to reconcile the difference between Buddhism’s beautiful values and some of its systemic and individual realities. And it’s particularly challenging when this involves teachers whom we are asked to revere. How, to cite an all-too-common example, can a teacher be realized if he is guilty of sexual misconduct?
Buddhism suffers to some degree from the same problems as all human institutions: sexism, racism, corruption, and materialism—in a word, ego. Buddhism’s historical record is better than some other world religions—no crusades or inquisitions—but sadly Buddhists are now driving ethnic conflicts in Myanmar and elsewhere in South Asia. Denial is tempting, but it’s only by acknowledging these realities—and working sincerely to uphold Buddhism’s values in your own life and practice—that change can happen.