My question is, in this novel Buddhists are treated as nefarious individuals, arrogant and self certain yet duplicitous and controlling.
This is not the first novel I've read like this. I've read dozens of wuxia and xianxia novels over the last decade, and almost uniformly Buddhist sects or cultivation are treated as both insanely powerful, and insanely untrustworthy/controlling.
To be fair, I'm from America, the knowledge I have is very much only Americans outlook of Buddhists, in general we perceive them as kind, benevolent individuals with a high spirituality and possible martial ability. Seeing this is fascinating.