October 10, 2009

Buddhists for the future

In Kusala Bhikshu’s most recent Urban Dharma newsletter, he included Ananda Guruge’s talk on the future of Buddhism.
What role do we have as practicing Buddhists in the world today? Buddhism has come to most us as our birthright with the milk of our mothers. We are heirs to a long and chequered history with a magnificent spiritual heritage. There are with us who, after their intellectual quest for a set of beliefs and practices, have chosen Buddhism as their guide to life. We are all Buddhists and we have in our hands a priceless treasure from which the modern world can benefit enormously. How we share this with the whole of the humanity is a challenge that we have to meet especially in the century that begins in two years with the 2600th anniversary of the attainment of Enlightenment by the Buddha.

[…]

Buddhism is not shared by merely communicating information and knowledge through teaching, publishing, mass media, Internet and the like. Our life, our dedication, our conduct, our commitment to human welfare, and our example alone will show the world that the humanism that guides us is what the rest of the humanity is searching for. This is our task for the new century and this is our challenge for the new millennium.

I appreciate the contrast he presents at the end. I’m not a big fan of Buddhist writing. The most inspiring Buddhists I’ve known have always been those whose conduct reflects their noble values.

1 comment :

  1. The basics of the talk are good, but I have to disagree with his misunderstanding of the term "religion" and not realizing that Buddhism is one, by any reasonable definition of the term. Religion isn't just about "worshipping a Godhead" or spirit (not that you can't find examples of that in the Nikayas). At the most basic level, it means "a bond of scruples shared within a community or by individuals". The future of Buddhism outside of Asia (and inside of it) depends on recognizing the gravitas that the religious status holds, and the power to communicate that it brings to the table.

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