I asked on Zen Forum International, but thought I would ask here as well:
What do you think would happen if we stopped (in one way or another) calling Buddhism "good?"
Would the whole structure collapse?
Would it be more honest?
What do you think?
For fear of stifling reaction, I did not offer my thoughts there, but here I will say that I think that the tentative "goodness" of spiritual endeavor is probably a necessary expedient means. But, in order for that spiritual endeavor to flower, "goodness" has to be recognized as just that -- tentative.
It is said that Gautama Buddha once extended his clenched fist to a weeping child. He pretended there was gold within that fist. Sure enough, the child stopped weeping. But of course there was nothing within his hand.
Before the weeping ends, before a little experience kicks in, the fabrication of "goodness" gold is necessary -- a way of getting attention, an understandable and perhaps forgivable fib.
But making a profession of "goodness" would eviscerate any honest and fruitful spiritual endeavor, I think.
The same rope that might be used to pull a car out of a muddy ditch can also be used to hang a person to death.
So my view is, don't try to push the river. Don't pretend to be in a place you are not. If "goodness" is the current need and persuasion, then go ahead and be "good."
But don't let it hang you.