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Buddhism 101 Buddhism and an attempt at How it Affects Political Development.

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1 Buddhism 101 Buddhism and an attempt at How it Affects Political Development

2 The Basics Buddhism is based on the life and teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha, a spiritual master who lived in the fifth century B.C.E. in what is now Nepal and NW India. Rooted in India, and shares some concerns with Hinduism, in the sense of the “perfect enlightenment”

3 Basic Buddhism Buddhism is essentially a missionary religion Buddhism regards itself as the Dharma, or the eternal truth about reality. Buddhism has spread throughout Asia and divided into two forms, Theravada in the SE and Mahayana in central and eastern Asia. It is now beginning to spread here to NA.

4 Basic Buddhism Buddhism has so many different teachings it would be impossible to fit them into a single, logical system. The best way to explain it is, that Buddhism teaches that beings are sick, and the Buddhas or “awakened ones” are the physicians. Just as a physician would have a different cure for each disease, the Buddhas have different teachings for different beings.

5 Basic Buddhism “Buddhism recognizes that we must live our lives in the practical reality of this world rather than the ultimate reality of interdependence in which things cannot be defined as discrete entities.”

6 Strengths to Withstand One of the lasting strengths of Buddhism has been its ability to adapt to changing conditions and to a variety of cultures. It is philosophically opposed to materialism, whether of the Western or the Marxist-Communist variety. Buddhism does not recognize a conflict between itself and modern science. On the contrary, it holds that the Buddha applied the experimental approach to questions of ultimate truth.

7 asia In Thailand and Myanmar, Buddhism remains strong. Reacting to charges of being socially unconcerned, its monks have become involved in various social welfare projects. Although Buddhism in India largely died out between the 8th and 12th centuries AD, resurgence on a small scale was sparked by the conversion of 3.5 million former members of the untouchable caste, under the leadership of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, beginning in 1956. A similar renewal of Buddhism in Sri Lanka dates from the 19th century.

8 Asia Under the Communist republics in Asia, Buddhism has faced a more difficult time. In China, for example, it continues to exist, although under strict government regulation and supervision. Many monasteries and temples have been converted to schools, dispensaries, and other public use. Monks and nuns have been required to undertake employment in addition to their religious functions. In Tibet, the Chinese, after their takeover and the escape of the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist officials into India in 1959, attempted to undercut Buddhist influence.

9 Japan Only in Japan since World War II have truly new Buddhist movements arisen. Notable among these is Sôka Gakkai, the Value Creation Society, a lay movement associated with Nichiren Buddhism. It is noted for its effective organization, aggressive conversion techniques, and use of mass media, as well as for its nationalism. It promises material benefit and worldly happiness to its believers. Since 1956 it has been involved in Japanese politics, running candidates for office under the banner of its Kômeitô, or Clean Government Party.

10 Growing Interest Growing interest in Asian culture and spiritual values here in the West is leading to the development of a number of societies devoted to the study and practice of Buddhism. Zen has grown in the United States, and even here in Canada to encompass more than a growing numbers of meditation centers and a number of actual monasteries.

11 Influences As its influence in the West slowly grows, Buddhism is once again beginning to undergo a process of acculturation to its new environment. Although its influence in the U.S. is still small, apart from immigrant Japanese and Chinese communities, it seems that new, distinctively American forms of Buddhism may eventually develop. Despite Buddhism’s survival thus far, the effects of capitalism defeat the purpose of the religion. What it tells us is perhaps the religion is influencing the economics of these countries based on its survival alone.

12 Economics & Buddhism It is difficult to determine the exact relationship which exists between economics and religion. To some extent, economic systems are a product of the religion being practiced, but economics affect the interpretation and content, of religion as well. With increasing globalization, many nations find themselves--either by choice or by force--accepting the market system, or capitalism.

13 The Future Many Buddhist nations have recently embraced capitalism as their preferred form of economic organization, but these nations are for the most part unaware or unmindful of the resulting pressures that are being imposed on their religion. So far it seems that Buddhism has been able to withstand the pressures of an increasingly capitalist world, but as things turn more and more materialistic, who is to say if the religion will survive well into the 21st century.

14 Buddhism 101 Buddhism and an attempt at How it Affects Political Development

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