Men Going Their Own Way is a contemporary form of renunciation that has developed from souring social relations between the sexes in Western countries.
Men who ‘go their own way’ have seen first hand how the social contract between men and women has been broken, arguably for decades, by a perfect storm of powerful interests groups and the self-deception of men and women across society.
These men engage in the activities peculiar to the individual such as physical activities, self-learning, and hobbies. In this article we would like to kindly offer men who find this society unrewarding a few suggestions from an ancient tradition of men that understand their concerns, have felt their pain, and have found ways to rise above worldly concerns. I believe that as men we are naturally inclined to engage in actions that provide greater merit and rewards than purely individual pursuits.
When men decide they have “had enough” of the poor prospects of companionship, they naturally gravitate to a more disciplined mindset that is almost a complete parallel to the Buddha’s Vinaya (Discipline) of monastic vows. This can be seen very clearly in the so-called levels or stages of development for MGTOW: Level 0 is awareness of the backward social position men are put to compared to women in society, Level 1 is a rejection of long term relationships with women such as marriage, Level 2 rejection of short term relationships and friendships, Level 3 is disengaging economically by failing to “feed the machine” with consuming nonessentials, Level 4 is social rejection by entering into isolation and hermitage. This is almost a step by step parallel to the stories of young men who joined the Buddhist community when the Buddha was still alive.
In Western countries, MGTOW can be seen as being a widespread social behavior at present whether it is done consciously or not. Average guys are uninspired by romantic pursuits and marriage rates have never been lower in the United States and Western countries and there is no indication the trend will reverse any time soon.
The overall political strategy of MGTOW seems to dry up (or maybe bleed) a society of the benefits of socially engaged men as punishment until that society collapses and a society based on respect for men’s interests is reestablished. That is a dangerous direction for men to pursue out of spite for the scornful actions of women. We believe there is a more harmonious way to achieve that goal from the results of the Buddhist faith.
As Buddhists, we have faith in the Buddha’s teaching to alleviate the suffering of being born through specific practices and commitments. In the 969 Movement, we are mostly Theravadan’s (‘the Elders’) who follow the oldest tradition of the Buddha to attain this goal by cultivating the wisdom revealed in the Noble Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold path can be summerized as cultivating the virtues of honor, self-respect, modesty, and gratitude, and the eradication of unvirtuous attitudes.
Liberating the mind from desiring unfavorable objects is the greatest possible virtue any man can develop. MGTOW are on the start of a wonderful journey of self-discovery without domestic distractions, the benefits of renunciation for those it appeals to is awe inspiring. The main problem with merely changing who one has social relations with is that it is just the start of the process of transformation. The real potential of a more meaningful change starts and ends within your mind. Buddhist men have methods and a tradition going back for 2,500 years of understanding the mind and its processes and how its self-defeating machinations can be overcome to produce the highest form of serenity possible. By learning to watch the mind, observe the mind, and developing a permanent letting go of disturbing thoughts the ultimate form of bliss can be achieved. The Buddha does not say to take his word for it, the Buddha says try it and see for yourself. Identifying yourself as a man who has gone his own way and “that’s it” cuts you off from a more noble pursuit. When or if the time is right, the MGTOW retire to the Level 3 or 4 stage of being themselves in peace. While doing so on ones own is certainly admirable, living in the forests and taking refuge in solitary bliss is an ancient Buddhist tradition.
However before we continue talking about what Buddhism is we should start most clearly with what it is not. Unlike the Catholic Church, there is no single entity that controls the doctrine of the Buddhist faith. Buddhism itself should be understood as a vast tradition with multiple strands of thoughts and practices of which not all are reconcilable in the details. Buddhism is also a very difficult path of learning. Since the mind is the wildest of animals and most mercenary opponent to tame, success in Buddhism is described poetically as requiring many life times of effort in order to achieve mastery. To confound matters, many if not most of what is called Buddhism is in fact not Buddhism but what some people at a certain time decided to reinvent and rebrand for their own purposes. Western men encountering Buddhism in Western countries will likely not see manifestations of Buddhism that will appeal to them. The reasons for this are complex and beyond the scope of this article but an introductory reading to Buddhism will be included below. Westener’s should be encouraged to visit Buddhist countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar to get an authentic experience of what the Buddhist Sangha offers them as men. It is traditional in these countries for young men to become monks for a certain period of time before returning to lay life and as any institution goes there is every level of experience present. To their benefit, these men follow a strict code of moral development that is designed to make them better men. These countries (and their monks) are often disrespected by feminists as being ‘patrichial’ and ‘cis-centric,’ much as Catholic priests and nuns are referred to as father and mother in a spiritual sense. Long established monks (known by the title Venerable for twenty or so years in the Order) provide fatherly moral guidance to the communities they serve and depend on for their physical existence.
MGTOW that want to learn more will be advised to not just buy any book on Buddhism. Most books on Buddhism are highly misleading when colored by the personal opinions of the authors. This is particularly the case for modern American authors on the topic and they should be avoided until a traditional view of the Buddha Dhamma teaching is given. If any of this interests you further, the student of the mind is referred to the following titles:
The Doctrine of Awakening Julius Evola
The Heritage of the Bhikkhu Walpola Rahula
Buddhist Thought in India Edward Conze
The Foundations of Buddhism Rupert Gethin
Pali Canon – the Pali Canon is the oldest records of the Buddha that have survived. For five to six hundred years they were recited orally be men to preserve the teaching for future generations before it was written down. For the advanced student that wants to read the words of the Buddha himself we recommend to learn the language of Pali often referred to as the language of the Buddha. Be careful with any modern translations.Social tagging: buddhism > mgtow > mra > mrm