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The Buddhist Channel is a global news platform that provides non-sectarian news and features on Buddhism, covering all traditions from Theravada and Mahayana to Vajrayana and Ch'an/Zen.|
Buddhist Humanism is a philosophy which encompasses all Buddhist teachings from the time of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, to that of the present day. The goal of Buddhist Humanism is expressed within the Bodhisattva ideal, by becoming an energetic, enlightened, and endearing person dedicated to the welfare and liberation of all sentient beings.
Buddhist Humanism focuses more on issues of the world, the suffering which occurs, rather than on how to leave the world behind; on caring for the living, rather than the dead; on benefiting others, rather than benefiting oneself; and on universal liberation, rather than cultivation for only oneself.
Buddhist Humanism has six characteristics:
Humanism - The Buddha was neither a spirit, coming and going without leaving a trace, nor was he a figment of one’s imagination. The Buddha was a living human being. Just like the rest of us, he had parents, a family, and he lived a life. It was through his human existence that he showed his supreme wisdom of compassion, ethical responsibility, and prajna-wisdom. Thus, he is a Buddha who was also a human being.
Emphasis on Daily Life - The Buddha placed great importance on daily life as spiritual practice. He provided guidance on everything, from how to eat, dress, work, and live, to how to walk, stand, sit, and sleep. He gave clear directions on every aspect of life, from relations among family members and between friends to how we should conduct ourselves in the social and political arenas.
Altruism - The Buddha was born into this world to teach, to provide an example, and to bring joy to all beings. He nurtured all beings, for he always had the best interests of others in his mind and heart. In short, his every thought, word, and action arose from a heart filled with deep care and concern for others.
Joyfulness - The Buddhist teachings give people joy. Through the limitless compassion of his heart, the Buddha aimed to relieve the suffering of all beings and to give them joy.
Timeliness - The Buddha was born for a great reason: to build a special relationship with all of us who live in this world. Although the Buddha lived over 2,500 years ago and has already entered nirvana, he left the seed of liberation for all subsequent generations. Even today, the Buddha’s ideals and teachings serve as a timely and relevant guide for all faiths and traditions.
Universality - The entire life of the Buddha can be characterized through the Buddha’s spirit of wanting to liberate all living beings, without exclusion. The Buddha loved beings of all forms, whether they were animals or humans, male or female, young or old, Buddhist or not.
"He abused me, he beat me,
he defeated me, he robbed me"
--- in those who harbour
such thoughts hatred
will never cease.
"He abused me, he beat me,
he defeated me, he robbed me"
--- in those who do not harbour
such thoughts hatred
The verses above are from the Dhammapada, a collection of profound wisdom for a confused world. Just as hatred does not cease through hatred, the same can be said of peaceful demonstrations faced with aggression, that aggression does not cease through aggression. It only creates more suffering and hostility.
An example of this can be found within the Ghandian non-violent Satyagraha movement, where they refuse to inflict injury on others and must be willing to shoulder any sacrifice or suffering of the struggle they have initiated, rather than pushing such sacrifice or suffering onto their opponent, always providing a face-saving "way out" for their opponent.
by Theresa Der-Ian Yeh and first published in the International Journal of Peace Studies
© 2006 by Grassroots Publishing Company
Reprinted with Permission
Buddhism has long been celebrated as a religion of peace and non-violence. With its
increasing vitality in regions around the world, many people today turn to Buddhism for
relief and guidance at the time when peace seems to be a deferred dream more than ever,
with the wars in the Middle East and Africa, and the terrorist activities expanding into
areas where people never expected that scope of violence before such as Bali, London, and
New York. Yet this is never a better time to re-examine the position of Buddhism, among
those of other world religions, on peace and violence in the hope that it can be accorded
in the global efforts to create new sets of values regarding the ways people manage conflict
and maintain peace via nonviolent means.
This article tends to provide a review of the Buddhist vision of peace in the light of
peace studies. It also addresses the Buddhist perspective on the causes of violence and
ways to prevent violence and to realize peace. The last section explores the potentials
of Buddhist contributions to the peacemaking efforts and the promotion of a culture of
peace in today's world. Buddhism, having enjoyed a long history and enrichment by
generations of people in various traditions, ranges north and south with branches across
many cultures and regions. However, a common core of Buddha's teaching and practice is
observed in major Buddhist traditions and considered essentials of Buddhism. In this article,
the term "Buddhism" is used to refer to the common core teachings across the current major
traditions of Buddhism.read complete article...
an excerpt from "Buddhist Ideas for Attaining World Peace" by Ronald Epstien
Lectures for the Global Peace Studies Program
San Francisco State University
Four years after his [the Buddha's] attainment of enlightenment, a war took place between the
city-state of Kapilavastu and that of Kilivastu over the use of water. Being told of this, [the
Buddha] Sakyamuni hastened back to Kapilavastu and stood between the two great armies about to
start fighting. At the sight of Sakyamuni, there was a great commotion among the warriors, who
said, "Now that we see the World-Honored One, we cannot shoot the arrows at our enemies," and
they threw down their weapons. Summoning the chiefs of the two armies, he asked them, "Why are
you gathered here like this?" "To fight," was their reply. "For what cause do you fight?" he
queried. "To get water for irrigation." Then, asked Sakyamuni again, "How much value do you
think water has in comparison with the lives of men?" "The value of water is very slight" was
the reply. "Why do you destroy lives which are valuable for valueless water?" he asked. Then,
giving some allegories, Sakyamuni taught them as follows: "Since people cause war through
misunderstanding, thereby harming and killing each other, they should try to understand each
other in the right manner." In other words, misunderstanding will lead all people to a tragic
end, and Sakyamuni exhorted them to pay attention to this. Thus the armies of the two
city-states were dissuaded from fighting each other.
The doctrine of karma teaches that force and violence, even to the level of killing, never
solves anything. Killing generates fear and anger, which generates more killing, more fear,
and more anger, in a vicious cycle without end. If you kill your enemy in this life, he is
reborn, seeks revenge, and kills you in the next life. When the people of one nation invade
and kill or subjugate the people of another nation, sooner or later the opportunity will
present itself for the people of the conquered nation to wreak their revenge upon the
conquerors. Has there ever been a war that has, in the long run, really resolved any problem
in a positive manner? In modern times the so-called 'war to end all wars' has only led to
progressively larger and more destructive wars.
The emotions of killing translate into more and more deaths as the weapons of killing become
more and more sophisticated. In prehistoric times, a caveman could explode with anger, take up
his club, and bludgeon a few people to death. Now days, if, for example, the President of the
United States loses his temper, who can tell how many will lose their lives as the result of
the employment of our modern weaponry. And in the present we are on the brink of a global war
that threatens to extinguish permanently all life on the planet. When will that happen? Perhaps
when the collective selfishness of individuals to pursue their own desires --- greed for sex,
wealth and power; the venting of frustrations through anger, hatred and brutal self-assertion
--- overcomes the collective compassion of individuals for others, overcomes their respect for
the lives and aspirations of others. Then the unseen collective pressure of mind on mind will
tip the precarious balance, causing the finger, controlled ostensibly by an individual mind, to
press the button that will bring about nuclear Armageddon. When the individual minds of all
living beings are weighted, if peaceful minds are more predominant, the world will tend to be
at peace; if violent minds are more predominant, the world will tend to be at war.
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