Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How To Recognize Fraudulent Buddhist Teachers

When Shakyamuni Buddha exposed his teaching (the Buddhadharma) 2,500 years ago, he made a prediction that, in the ages to come, that teaching will inevitably deteriorate. If we now conduct a comparative study of the ways the Buddhist teaching has been evolving and unfolding in the past 2,500 years, there will be very little doubt that the Buddha's prediction turned out to be absolutely true.

One only need compare the crystal clear words of the historical Buddha with the arcane mumbo-jumbo that passes for the Buddhadharma nowadays, in order to get convinced in the legitimacy of the Buddha's claim. While the Buddha exposed the lofty teachings on suffering and eradicating the suffering, Buddhist teachers in the modern age tend to slip into meaningless meandering about 'just sitting', 'just being in the now', and some such nonsense.

Now that the Buddhadharma regrettably took a serious nosedive, this decline in the quality had resulted in a terrible situation where Buddhism nowadays seems to attract mostly people with low level of intelligence. People who would like to join some form of spiritual practice, but lack sufficient intelligence and intellectual rigor required for grasping the basic principles, find solace, huge relief, and an easy way out in what passes nowadays for the Buddha's teaching. There are numerous fraudulent Buddhist teachers on the market today who cater to such hopeful but nevertheless sub-standard individuals. They simply explain to the hopeful practitioners that, if they embrace Buddhism and Zen, they need not think, they need not strain, they just have to sit and breathe. How hard can that be?

People who lack capacity for critical thinking (which, by the way, is an absolute prerequisite for any form of Buddhist practice), fall easy victims of such fraudulent teachers. Feeling sorry for such lost souls, I would like to offer several fail-safe criteria that may guide confused practitioners when choosing their Buddhist teachers:

1. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist teacher to ever experience lust toward their disciples. If your teacher is attempting to guide you towards engaging in any form of sexual activity with them, turn around and run, don't walk! You're dealing with an obvious fraud. (by the way, you should do the same if you learn that your teacher is attempting to make similar advances toward any other disciple)

2. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist teacher to crave sensual pleasures. One becomes a Buddhist practitioner and a teacher by first abandoning the belief in pleasure. If one has not arrived at the point in practice where one has recognized the futility and the stickiness of pursuing pleasure, one is definitely not fit to lead others on the path.

3. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist teacher to crave material comfort. Material comfort is something that all trained Buddhist practitioners spurn. Pursuing material comfort quickly softens us to the point that, before not too long, one gets into a position where nothing ever feels right. Once we soften our bodies to that point, we lose any opportunity for practice, as we end up spending all our time and energy in the endless pursuit of material luxuries.

4. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist teacher to crave fame and recognition. Without abandoning pride, one cannot hope to ever advance on the Buddhist path. If your teacher is overly concerned about his/her popularity and is ever hopeful that his brand of teaching will attract countless followers who will shower him/her with endless adulation, you should turn your back on such a teacher. Nothing good will ever come out of such relationship. Instead, seek a teacher who had managed to abandon his or her pride, who is modest to the point of being humble, and who is ever mindful of the disciples' needs.

5. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist teacher to consider his or her body as being clean. One of the core practices in Buddhism is concentrated mindfulness on the body's impurities. Ordinary people fool themselves into believing that their bodies are clean, but ardent Buddhist practitioners are constantly aware that such is not the case. Hence, they will not make vein attempts at covering the body's lack of cleanliness with jewelry, luxurious clothing, perfumes, makeup and such.

6. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist teacher to be afraid of his or her death. This is because that person became an authentic Buddhist practitioner by being ever mindful of the unavoidable presence of death. One can only hope to attain certain level of authenticity in the Buddhist practice if one agrees to be constantly mindful of death. Keeping the fact that death is imminent as one's constant companion, the practitioner familiarizes him/herself with the crux of the Buddha's teaching -- impermanence -- thus attaining lofty states of consciousness. Only such a person is capable of showing the way and leading others. A teacher who is afraid of sickness, aging and death should not be followed.

7. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist teacher to strive to subdue his or her opponents. If a teacher engages in polemic or in debate, it is never for the sake of outshining their opponents. The only motivation for debating anythings is to minimize and eradicate suffering. If your teacher enjoys putting his/her opponents down through the means of debate, it is time you leave that situation.

8. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist teacher to indiscriminately protect his/her friends. If a teacher's friend or relative has done something wrong, the teacher should not lie and protect them by withholding truth. Authentic teachers are easy to recognize in that they value truth above everything else.

9. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist teacher to ask for money from his/her disciples. Authentic Buddhist teachers are extraordinary human beings in that they possess sharpened intellectual acuity, developed through many years of focused meditative concentration. As such, they are capable of analyzing any situation, and thus see the most proper way to go through it. In case there is a need for obtaining financial means, such teachers have clever and often times surprising ways of devising a plan that will satisfy the need while at the same time minimizing the suffering of the beings involved. There is never a need to ask one's disciples, point blank, for any kind of financial contributions. Keep in mind that authentic Buddhist teachers are extremely resourceful human beings who can utilize each and every situation to its most optimal outcome; they are extremely self reliant. In other words, if they end up relying completely on you, the disciple, it is time to part company with such fraudulent impostor.

10. Finally, it is not possible for an authentic Buddhist teacher to ever engage in any acts of violence. This includes also violence toward obtaining one's food. As such, Buddhist teachers typically do not eat meat. Their role in life is to help and assist living beings. In order to do so, they must first win the beings' trust. And how can anyone win trust of living beings if one is violent, callous, and enjoys eating the bodies of living beings?

If you keep the above ten reminders describing authentic Buddhist teachers, you will never fall prey of many of the fraudulent impostors who are currently making rounds trying to convert the weak, the gullible, and the confused.

May this condensed set of reminders keep all of you in good steed, as you progress on the path to liberation and omniscience!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Don't Eat Meat

Let me just state at the very beginning: meat is not food.  Contrary to what the common wisdom may be claiming, meat was never meant to be taken by humans as an edible substance. Unless you live in an extremely harsh climate, such as close to the North Pole, and have no access to vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, honey, mushrooms, etc., you should avoid eating meat.

Why am I saying this? Firstly, as a Buddhist practitioner, I have a vested interest in creating and maintaining the situation that would be conducive to effective spiritual practice and to a swift progress on the spiritual path. That bias is given, and I am not going to spare efforts in trying to convince people to abandon their meat eating habits.

Secondly, from a pure materialistic perspective, eating meat is very harmful. Not only to the individual who eats meat, but also to the environment, and ultimately, to the climate affecting the entire planet.

Many benefits can be achieved by cutting meat out of our diet. In this article, I will elaborate mostly on the spiritual and psychological benefits, leaving the other aspects to the more qualified experts. From the spiritual perspective, it should be plain as a day to anyone that any act of killing cannot be good for one's spiritual progress. If one believes that the laws of the spirit are indeed in full effect, then it would be impossible to deny that all the acts one performs in their daily life has unavoidable consequences to their spiritual well being.

Whenever we eat meat, we participate in the act of violent killing. Whether it is us who actually do the killing (i.e. we hunt or fish the poor animal), or whether we merely buy an already killed animal, there is not that much difference -- we are perpetuating the activity of killing.

From the psychological perspective, appetite for eating meat is an acquired taste (indeed, babies and little children rarely exhibit enthusiasm for meat; quite the opposite, most children are appalled at the sight of a piece of meat on their plate, and will do anything possible to wiggle out of that duty). But, through training and coaching, many children learn to make truce with meat and then acquire the taste and the appetite for eating it. The detrimental side effects of that habit is that many people who are meat eaters tend to crave meat constantly, and the more they eat meat, the more they crave strong flavors that meat offers.

This then creates addiction and gluttony, which are not healthy traits to have. On the other hand, we rarely, if ever, see addiction and gluttony exhibited by the people who avoid eating meat. From this we see that avoiding meat in our diet leads to a much healthier lifestyle.

Another thing that is intriguing about the difference between people who eat meat and people who avoid meat is that, apparently, those who abstain from eating meat seem to not suffer from bad dreams and reckless sleeping patterns. This phenomenon is easy to explain when we consider the fact that meat is much harder to digest than vegetarian food; consequently, meat eaters don't enjoy such peaceful and restful nights like vegetarians enjoy.

From the psychological perspective, it is not difficult to understand that every living being holds its life dear and is afraid of dying. No animal nor human could ever be brought into a situation where they'd be very glad to voluntarily die. Because of this, inflicting the pain of fear on other beings is not a good practice. Consuming the meat of a being who's been hunted down mercilessly and then killed in a most brutal fashion is not a desirable thing to do.

From the hygienic aspect, meat should be considered feculent; the meat tissue has been produced by ingesting either the bio mass of some plants (as in the case of herbivore animals), or by ingesting the flesh of other animals (as in the case of carnivores and cadaver eating animals). That fact indicates that the animal meat is derivative, as it has already been processed, sometimes even to the point of being a third-hand derivative (the meat of a vulture, for example).

Such substances are quite poisonous (and I hasten to add, extremely repulsive, as the meat tissue consists of blood, puss, lymph, etc.), and should not be ingested by humans. They are detrimental to our health -- our physical health, as well as our psychological and spiritual health.

As spiritual practitioners, our goal is to follow the Buddha's example and view all living beings as our children. If we are to succeed in achieving that goal, how can we then stoop to the level of eating our own children? From the Buddhist point of view, eating animal meat equates to eating the meat of our own son. Simply unthinkable!

Lastly, being on the path of spiritual liberation, our goal and our duty is to comfort, embolden and assist all living beings. By empathizing with the beings around us, our innate compassion comes to the full fruition, and we then quite easily see that all beings fear for their lives, and are under a constant stress that they will get killed for food. If we are to offer them comfort and if we are to console them and show them the way out of that sorrowful state, how are they to trust us if we ourselves eat meat? All trust is broken the moment the beings realize that we too have developed craving for meat and thus cherish the act of killing leading to the procurement of our favorite food.

Because of that, we must absolutely cease consuming any meat coming from any living being. We must work on creating a situation where all living beings feel comfortable in our presence, and can then trust us to show them the way towards the ultimate liberation.

Anyone who claims that he or she can accomplish that while at the same time continuing to eat meat is completely deluded.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's Actually Not That Bad, You Know

The biggest challenge that a Buddhist practitioner can encounter in his or her daily practice is the irresistible urge to minimize the grave urgency of the situation. This urge to minimize is ingrained in each and every human being. Without indulging in the bed time story which promises that things are actually not bad, and that everything's going to be fine pretty soon, most people cannot go to sleep.

Same is in everyday life -- we seem to need some sort of reassurance, a sedative of sorts that will help us buy into the pretense that there actually isn't that much suffering that pervades our lives.

This sentiment is the absolute worst enemy of the effective Buddhist practice. Minimizing the danger in which we find ourselves as we wander around the world of samsara is not going to do any good to our practice. The only way our practice will ever pick up and start bringing forth some fruition is if we accept, in all seriousness, the horrendous dangers in which we find ourselves today, as we're buzzing around with our daily concerns and activities.

Buddhist practice is not about admiring the teachings of the Buddha and other realized Buddhist masters. There is a huge, unbridgeable difference between a person who satisfies his intellectual and emotional curiosity by studying the Buddhist teachings, and a person who takes those teachings to heart, internalizes them, and applies them in their daily life, moment-by-moment. Only the latter practice can bring you closer to the liberation.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that, for ordinary humans, suffering is present at two levels: direct suffering, and suffering caused by envy and jealousy.

The direct suffering is characterized by the undeniable nature of such phenomena as being born, growing old, getting sick, and dying. There is pain, physical, psychological and so on, that is accompanying these activities in human life.

The suffering caused by jealousy seems easier to control. For example, if your income gets taxed by the government, you will suffer financial loss, because part of your income will be taken away from you for the taxation purposes. You will, however, assuage that pain and suffering by placating yourself with the argument that others get also taxed under the same law, which therefore means that it's not really all that bad.

However, if you were the only person whose income got taxed, while all the other people got away for free, the pain and the suffering caused by that jealousy would be absolutely unbearable to you. The pain of inequality and the suffering caused by being ostracized is indeed something that most people cannot deal with.

It is precisely because of that mechanism, whereby we find suffering caused by jealousy to be much worse than the direct suffering, that the suffering caused by growing old and dying does not make us too worried, because, hey, everyone else is also subjected to that same suffering.

Thanks to that faulty logic, we sedate ourselves into thinking that life is not actually all that bad, and that things are perfectly fine as they are.

But that's a very perilous way to look at things. The logic is faulty, because it does not really solve anything. Look at it this way: if you have to go to hell and endure the relentless suffering there, will it help to know that your friends will also be there, enduring the same tortures? Of course it wouldn't help, and so the urgent message here is to abandon such foolish ways and to come to our senses and realize the precarious situation we're in.

It is only then that we can step on the true path of Buddhist liberation and realization.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Five Ways

When it comes to explaining the phenomena we encounter in our world, most people choose one of the following four ontological extremes:
  1. Something is
  2. Something is not
  3. Something both is and is not
  4. Something neither is nor is not
No matter how hard we may try, there simply is no fifth alternative, fifth extreme. Thus, we speak about the four exhaustive ontological extremes.

Let's take an example of a vase. A vase may be sitting on a table, and so we may say that the vase is there. Or, that vase may fall off the table and break into pieces on the floor, at which point we may say that the vase is not there anymore.

However, some of us may be prone to looking at the broken pieces of that vase, and claim that the vase actually still is there, since we can reassemble it from its constituent pieces, but at the same time it is not there, because it has not been reassembled yet.

Finally, the fourth extreme view would claim that the vase is not there, obviously, since it ceased to exist after the accident, but it's also not not there, because its constituent pieces still remain, and could be propped up to give it a new lease on life.

Even though there cannot be any possibility of the fifth extreme, as the above four are absolutely exhaustive, there still is a fifth way: it's the Buddhist way, namely, the Middle Way.

Middle Way is the way that avoids all four ontological extremes. As such, it relies on vigilant practice which ensures that the Buddha's disciples never stray into any of these four ontological extremes. Middle Way is the only possible way out of the world of entanglement we sometimes refer to as samsara.

Sidebar: This article deals with ontological extremes, so it will be useful to keep in mind that ontology is a metaphysical discipline which explores the nature of unchangeable entities. From the metaphysical/ontological perspective, any phenomena that is subject to change is not worth focusing on, since such phenomena are deceptive, or they're the work of the devil (or the work of some such ungodly creature).

Monday, January 4, 2010

What Is The Best Approach To Buddhist Practice?

People sometimes ask me what would be the best way they should approach the Buddhist practice. Given the hectic pace of modern living, the traditional ways of Buddhist practice don't seem feasible at all, and so many of us are left wondering and scratching our heads -- is there a way to practice Buddhism and still continue living in modern society?

Well, the good news is -- yes, there definitely is a way to do that, however, the caveat will be that you'd have to assume a proper orientation in order to successfully do that. The aim of this article is to provide you with exactly that -- a proper orientation on your spiritual path.

Here, then, is how you should do it: imagine for a moment that you have injured your right arm (like, you've broken it). The pain would be excruciating, and from that moment on there will be only one thing, one intention on your mind: how to heal the injury as quickly as humanly possible. All other thoughts, wishes and dreams would all of a sudden take a back seat, and all your best efforts wold be fully engaged in healing your broken arm.

But the healing does not happen overnight. So it would require some time, and you must be patient with it. Not only that, you must also be extremely careful not to exacerbate and further aggravate the injury. All these intentions will no doubt be constantly on your mind, no matter how intelligent or how educated and trained you might be. Even the biggest simpleton in the world would have no problems recognizing the seriousness of his injury and focusing all his efforts on healing it.

While the healing is slowly going on, you would be extra careful when moving about your daily business. Like if you were forced to move through an unruly crowds, for instance, you will no doubt spend each and every second of that event being painfully aware of your arm, of its position, and of your bodily movements. This is so that you don't further aggravate the injury.

And the fact is that if you persevere in doing that, your arm is guaranteed to heal. But if you remain reckless (an extremely unlikely event, by the way), then the arm will not only not heal quickly, its condition may worsen to the point of flaring up with a gangrene, in which case this whole affair may end up fatally.

The above is super easy to understand and grasp, right? Well, in the exact same manner, day-to-day Buddhist practice is super easy to understand and grasp. Simply put, in the Buddhist practice, the fundamental premise is that your entire presence in the world has been fatally injured, and the only way to prevent tragedy is to mobilize all your forces and resources and to work on healing the injury. What that means is that in the Buddhist practice you will be switching your attention from your thoughts to your intentions. Thoughts are like clouds, they come and go, in a seemingly unpredictable fashion. Intentions, on the other hand, are much less random, as they are strictly concerned with the present injury. Admit and acknowledge the injury, and you immediately formulate an iron-clad intention to heal it.

Only an utter fool would leave his injury unattended. And that's why in Buddhism we usually refer to regular, non-practicing people as 'foolish'.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Religion of Growing Up

People sometimes ask me if I'm religious, and when I reply that I am, they want to know what's my religion. I used to reply that my religion is Buddhism, but I've quickly learned that this answer tends to bring about more confusion than clarification. This is because a lot of people seem to believe that Buddhism is not actually a religion, it is more like a philosophy.

The above belief is, of course, dead wrong, as Buddhism is more like an anti-philosophy. But it also gets tough to explain how is Buddhism a religion, since in the Buddhist teaching one cannot find a Creator, nor gods, nor other divine beings and prophets or what-have-you.

This is why I now tend to claim that my religion is called "Growing Up". Simply put, I firmly believe in the power of growing up. What that means is that in case anyone is feeling upset, unfulfilled, vexed, sad, depressed, and so on, the way out of that predicament is simple -- try to grow up. Once you grow up, all these afflictions will vanish for you.

And of course, the flip side of the above is that anyone who feels sad, forlorn, unfulfilled, addicted, torn, etc. is afflicted like that because he or she are still hanging on to their childhood. Once you leave your childhood behind you for good, you enter the world of grownups, where all these hang ups and all that suffering ceases to be present.

So yes, there is a higher calling, an invisible power that presides over human beings and that can lead them out of the darkness and into the world of eternal light. The presence of that power is what constitutes my religion, my belief system. You cannot see it, you cannot touch it, but you can achieve it. And all you have to do is simply let go of your childish behavior and allow yourself to grow up.

And that's what, in a nutshell, constitutes the Buddhist faith as well. The strong, unwavering belief in the power of growing up. The unshakeable conviction that, once we let go of our childhood, we will wake up in the splendid world of grownup human beings, where all our present problems become marvelous opportunities.

Here is how, in general, human predicament and human delusions work: every human being is keenly aware of the constant change that shapes and colors and flavors our lives. There is no denying that change is inevitable, and that it is constantly at work. Everyone knows that, and everyone agrees with that. But it is what we do with this acknowledgement that makes a difference, that separates childish people from grownups.

All religions (with a notable exception of the Buddhist religion) claim that change is bad, going even as far as claiming that change is evil. Many entrenched world religions ascertain that change is the work of the Devil, or that change is the deceptive hypnotic web that is weaved by some evil demons. At any rate, change, as it occurs in the world, is there to deceive us, to trick us, to lure us away from all that is wholesome and good and holly.

God and truth, on the other hand, are the opposite of change. They are unchangeable, immutable, forever there, forever substantial. Change is totally insubstantial, and as such, is to be avoided at all cost.

To that end, religious systems devise all kinds of practices that will get us out of the evil and deceptive world of change, and into the bosom of salvation. However, when asked to demonstrate that aspect, or part of reality that is not characterized by change, all these sophisticated religions fail. Other than producing some mumbo-jumbo fantasized concepts, such as an immutable 'soul' or 'spirit', which no one has ever been able to see, touch, or feel, all these religions appear impotent. The true substance, the true philosopher's stone or the holly grail, is nowhere to be found. And yet, the blind faith, the wishful thinking that somehow, somewhere, there is a safe world where change will not affect us, persists.

Buddhism, on the other hand, is the only religion that turns all this on its head. In Buddhism, the only real, non-deceptive thing is change itself. Any apparition of substantiality, or lack of change, is considered the work of deception, and is to be avoided. In Buddhism, allegedly immutable things, such as 'soul', or 'spirit', or 'heaven' etc. are considered utterly harmful. The only way out of the miserable predicament that humans find themselves in is through embracing change, which is just another way of saying 'by growing up'.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Is Buddhism a World-Denying Teaching?

Often times we hear people denouncing Eastern religions and spiritual teachings as being world-denying. Buddhism, being of Eastern origins, gets bundled into the same category of world-denying practices. I should like to add that these accusations often seem to originate from the Christian-based thinkers.

Obviously, Christianity itself could just as easily be accused of the 'world denying' propensities, seeing how eager Christian practitioners are to denounce the world, or as they call it, the valley of tears. Their teaching and practice is all about suffering and tolerating the unpleasantness of this world in order to earn the reward of life everlasting in Heaven (Heaven being, of course, the absolute denial and negation of this world.)

But here I want to ask the question what is meant by 'world' and what is meant by 'denying it'?

For most religious practitioners, 'world' is synonymous with 'creation', and 'world denial' is synonymous with destruction. The truth of creation is the highest value and the highest goal in the minds of the 'creationists'. Is there an equivalent to that in the Buddhist teaching?

Four Truths in the Buddhist Teaching

We as Buddhist practitioners are aware of four kinds of truths. These truths inhabit our practice, and are detectable at various times to variously trained practitioners.

The first kind of truth is the truth we tend to uphold while being in the state of sleep and dreaming some dreams. At that point, the content of our dreams appears to us as undeniable truth, something that is simply self-evident. We do not feel, at the time when we're engulfed in dreams, that we have to stop and step back and reevaluate the truth of what's unfolding before us in our dream.

However, when the conditions change, that is to say when we wake up, the simple truth that was so self-evident to us a moment ago, ceases to be the truth and turns out to be untrue. The states we were experiencing while dreaming did not continue to hold true when our conditions changed from sleeping to being awake. So that, for example, while I may have been unbearably embarrassed in my dream where I was under the impression that I have showed up at the office without wearing my pants nor my underwear, upon waking up I immediately realize the falsity of that fact and the foolishness of feeling embarrassed about something that never happened.

So we see that the first kind of truth is subject to conditions. At one point in time it appears to be holding true, but the next moment its truthfulness simply evaporates.

The second kind of truth that we can talk about in Buddhism is the truth of the optical or other apparitions, as they may occur to us while being awake. Thus a person could find himself wandering in the desert, not having any water to drink. At some point, that person may look toward the horizon and joyously discover that there is a little lake full of fresh water awaiting him. He may then rush toward that lake, hoping to quench his thirst. But sooner or later, the conditions will change for that person, and he will be forced to recognize the falsity of this, the second level truth. Such truth used to hold true for the time being and under certain conditions, but as soon as the conditions change, the truth evaporates. Therefore, the second kind of truth in Buddhism is also conditioned. It arises under certain conditions, and then it perishes when those conditions cease to be present.

The third kind of truth is the truth of the so-called normal waking living. This truth holds that there are space and time which possess certain attributes (i.e. up, down, left, right, west, east, south, north, before, now, after, etc.). Also, it holds that there are various objects that come into being, stay around for a while, and then vanish. All these objects are distinct and separate from each other.

What Buddhist practice reveals is that this third kind of truth is also completely conditioned. Same as the first two kinds of truth (i.e. the truth of dreams while being asleep and the truth of optical illusion while being under duress), the normal everyday truth of being born, growing up, aging, getting sick and dying is also applicable only under certain circumstances. Remove those circumstances and conditions, and the normal everyday truth evaporates in the same way that the truth contained in the dreams evaporates upon waking up.

The fourth kind of truth is the so-called ultimate truth, that is, truth of the totality. Unlike the first three kinds of truths, this truth is unconditioned. It is unborn and unperishable. Regardless of how violently and abruptly the conditions and the circumstances may change, ultimate truth cannot be affected.

What is being denied in Buddhism?

Buddhism negates and denies the unconditional validity of the first three kinds of truth (that is, the truth contained in dreams, the truth contained in optical and similar illusions, and the truth contained in everyday norms accepted by the consensus). Buddhism does not negate the validity of the absolute truth. But if anyone blindly believes that the first three kinds of truths contain immutable validity that is not affected by the changing conditions and circumstances, than such person is being delusional.

So is Buddhism denying the world? It would depend on the definition of the notion of 'world'. If by world we mean the world of dreams, then yes, Buddhism is denying the unconditional validity of that world. Also, if by world we mean the world of optical illusions, then the answer is also positive. Same for the world of socially constructed norms, such as our regular daily world of sowing seeds and harvesting crops, chopping wood and carrying water. Buddhism does indeed deny the unconditional validity of that world. In other words, Buddhism claims that such worlds are only relative, being dependent on conditions and circumstances, and thus being at their whims.

What is not whimsical, according to the Buddhist teaching, is the undeniable validity of totality, of ultimate truth. Buddhism does not deny nor negate this world. Buddhism only denies the world where the truth, even though appearing to be self-evident, cannot withstand protracted scrutiny.