Propaganda is always about dumbing down. It functions by way of the message don’t notice, think or analyze. It’s purpose is to sabotage awareness, to subvert notice and to distract attention. Propaganda is anti-reality.
The term Buddhist propaganda is an oxymoron. That is a contradiction in terms.
Buddhist practice is about awareness, attention and becoming conscious of the big picture. I mean the really big picture.
In much popular Buddhist literature there is an exhortation to simplicity. But it is not the simplicity of bare attention, depth of interdependence or the sense of integration of being.
Too often it is the simplicity of ignorance. There is a reason the words ignorance and ignore sound so much alike. They come from the same root word. Ignorance lives only in the head and ignores reality. The cultivation of ignorance is the main function of propaganda. It does not admit interaction or analysis. To be rid of ignorance is to remove the barriers of illusion between that which is labeled self and that which is labeled world. It is to realize both as they are and to realize the falsity of that apparent dichotomy. It is to allow free movement and exchange of being. It is a flow that doesn’t stop in one place or another.
The German word for dream is Traum from the same root as the word trauma. The root word means wound. Dream or illusion due to ignorance is a wound. It is the most profound of suffering and that is what Buddhist practice is meant to dispel. Remaining in ignorance is to continue suffering.
The other side of ignorance is wisdom. Wisdom is like the medicine for the traumatic wound of ignorance. The simplicity of wisdom comes from a depth of understanding. Wisdom is not shallow acceptance of the passing show. Wisdom does not ignore anything. Hence the reason compassion develops in tandem with wisdom. Wisdom always works to a purpose. It is not a recitation of mindless facts or fancy sounding analysis. And it is not mindless acceptance of whatever is going on in the name of simplicity. One cannot develop wisdom without some amount of thought and analysis. We may not pick and choose which is what the practice of ignorance or ignoring does. What is…is. That is what calls to be understood. With discriminating wisdom. With the diamond mind. Sharp, acute, accounting for all facets, nothing missed. `
Developing wisdom takes a lot of work. There is analysis involved with the purpose to join that which is shallow with that which is deep. The purpose is to enlarge understanding, to break bonds of bound ignorance. That is not the same as enlarging knowledge although the two can happen concomitantly.
The shallow exhortations to simplicity that abound throughout much contemporary pop Buddhism will not lead to wisdom because they do not attempt to break the surface. In fact they thrive on the surface and will leave practitioners who follow such a route always in the shallows.
One can’t chop wood or carry water if there are only plastic palm trees and arid deserts all around.