The Appeal of Buddhism (Jediism??) in the ModernWorld

14 years 16 hours ago #27084 by Garm
As I read this, the sililarities to jediism are apparent. Both the adaptiveness and in our method of delivery.


The Appeal of Buddhism in the ModernWorld
Singapore August 10, 1988

Revised excerpt from
Berzin, Alexander and Chodron, Thubten. Glimpse of Reality.
Singapore: Amitabha Buddhist Centre, 1999.

Question: This year you have been on a teaching tour to twenty-six countries. Please share with us your observations of how Buddhism is spreading to new places.

Answer: Buddhism is spreading rapidly around the world now. There are Buddhist centers in many European countries, North America, South America, South Africa, Australasia, and so on. We find Buddhists in Europe not only in the Western capitalist countries, but also in the socialist countries of the East. For example, Poland has about five thousand activeBuddhists.

Buddhism appeals very much to the modernworld because it is reasonable and scientifically based. Buddhasaid, \"Do not believe in anything that I say just out of respect for me, but test it for yourself, analyze it, as if you were buying gold.\" Modern-day people like such a nondogmatic approach.

There are many dialogues between scientists and Buddhist leaders, such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Together they are discussing and investigating what is reality. Buddha said that all problems come from not understanding reality, from being confusedin this regard. If we were aware of who we are and how the world and we exist, we would not create problems out of our confusion. Buddhism has an extremely open attitude in examining what is true. For example, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that if scientists can prove that something Buddha or his followers taught is incorrect or just superstition, he would be happy and willing to drop it from Buddhism. Such an approach is very attractive to Western people.

Since learned masters of the past have adapted Buddhism to the culture of each society to which it has spread, it is only natural that teachers today need to present Buddhism in different modern countries in slightly different ways. In general, Buddhism emphasizes a rational explanation. Within this context, however, different points and approaches need more emphasis depending on predominant cultural traits.

Buddha taught such a variety of methods, simply because people vary so much. Not everyone thinks in the same way. Consider the example of food. If there were only one type of food available in a city, it would not appeal to everyone. If, on the other hand, different foods could be had with varied flavors, everyone could find something appealing. Likewise, Buddha taught a large variety of methods for people with a wide spectrum of tastes to use to develop themselves and grow. After all, the objective of Buddhism is to overcome all our limitations and problems and to realize all our potentials so that we can develop ourselves to the point at which we can help everyone as much as is possible.

In some Western countries that emphasize psychology, such as Switzerland and the United States, teachers usually present Buddhism from the point of viewof psychology. In other countries where people prefer a devotional approach, such as many Southern European lands and in Latin America, teachers tend to present Buddhism in a devotional manner. People there like to chant very much, and one can do that in Buddhist practice. People in Northern European countries, however, do not enjoy chanting as much. Teachers tend to emphasize an intellectual approach to Buddhism there.

Many people in Eastern Europe are in a very sad situation. The Buddhist teachings appeal to them greatly because many find their lives empty. Whether they work hard at their jobs or not seems to make no difference. They see no results. Buddhism, in contrast, teaches them methods for working on themselves, which do bring results that make a difference in the qualities of their lives. This makes people unbelievably appreciative and enthusiastic to throw themselves fully into practices such as making thousands of prostrations.

In this way, Buddhism adapts itself to the culture and the mentality of the people in each society, while preserving the major teachings of Buddha. The principal teachings are not changed – the aim is to overcome our problems and limitations and to realize our potentials. Whether practitioners do this with more emphasis on the psychological, intellectual, scientific, or devotional approach depends on the culture.

Question: How is Buddhism adapting to the twentieth century in general?

Answer: Buddhism is adapting by emphasizing a rational scientific approach to its teachings. Buddhism gives a clear explanation of how life’s experiences come about and how to deal with them in the best manner possible. Then it says do not accept anything on blind faith; think for yourself, test it out and see if it actually does make sense. This resembles science asking us to verifythe results of an experiment by repeating it ourselves, and only then to accept the results as fact. Modern people do not like buying something without examining it; they would not buy a car without testing it. Likewise, they will not turn to another religion or philosophy of life without checking it first to see if it really makes sense. That is what makes Buddhism so appealing to many people of the twentieth century. Buddhism is open to scientific investigation and invites people to examine it in that way.

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14 years 11 hours ago #27088 by RyuJin
that is why i think of myself as falling along the lines of a zen buddhist jedi...zen buddhism was the warriors buddhism and since i've studied martial arts for so long zen kinda goes hand in hand with fact long ago zen was taught with martial arts but at some point they seperated and only recently began coming back together

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13 years 11 months ago - 13 years 11 months ago #27093 by Garm
That is so true, all of my buddhist leanings also started with martial arts. The dojo I attended was very much into the Zen teachings and incorporated much into the fabric of the program. (ironicly this club later migrated into a very competitive sparring mode and later pushed much more boxing type stuff-I left in search of what was lost, eventually earning my second dan in another art)

I would be so happy to see more clubs introduce at least some knowledge of the way to their students, to me it keeps up the traditions and not like the certificates, medals and trophies, which mostly still reside in a moving box; the Zen ideals I learned are with me everyday of my life, and may very well be the most lasting lessons of my career in martial arts. When I am old and my gear can only gather dust, my Zen will still be fresh and useful.

Last edit: 13 years 11 months ago by Garm.

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13 years 11 months ago #27094 by Garm
Ah, I forgot the single most important me at least! Buddhism lends itself so very well to the Jedi way. I can almost just substitute Jedi for buddhist and we're good. It has been a very easy switch for me.

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13 years 11 months ago #27096 by RyuJin
thats the same for me.

also i had to discover zen for myself as my first few martial arts instructors knew either very little or no zen at all, that or they simply didn't think it important enough to teach. either way once i discovered it i found that it made my techniques much stronger because i was able to dig deeper into my spirit for added seemed that once zen was introduced into my martial arts training i was able to learn it faster, and make it much more effective...on the few occassions that i've taught self defense i make sure to include the zen so i don't short change i can tap into that \"spiritual\" power for any task i need it for. it never ceases to amaze me at what i can do once i use that ability.

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  • Jon
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13 years 11 months ago - 13 years 11 months ago #27143 by Jon
When I think of Buddhism I am most aware of Tibetan Buddhism, which contrary to the introductory text is quite dogmatic. In fact there is a whole series of books relating the traditions, rules, rituals, rites, right attitudes, ethics... of the mahayana way, called the lamrim. Certainly a different picture to Zen but never the less Buddhist. This has unfortunately not left Buddhism free from the conflicts and polemics of diverse human experience and attitudes. One example being the ordering of the Dalai Lama`s faction to order the destruction of all Dorje Shugdan statues, a Buddist God who was held responsible for the demise of Tibet. As a consequence the homes of Tibetans in India who continue to worship Dorje were forcibly entered by security people. This enflamed a wave of protest against the Dalai Lama over the world (most notably in London).

The most central teaching of Buddhism is rebirth and the attempt to escape it through enlightenment. One attitude to free themselves from all attachments to this worl is to see this world and all therein as an illusion, even to the extreme that the world is suffering. For example the birds are driven by the pains of hunger and kill worms to eat there causing themselves to to sink further into the samsaric trap. Compelled by compassion those of the Mahayana path are constantly reborn until all beings are liberated, those of Hinayana content themselves with personal liberation. What would interest me is how the Buddhist Jedi realte to that?
Last edit: 13 years 11 months ago by Jon.

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