Thursday, May 18, 2006

Buddhist Humanists

Last night I went to a meeting of Buddhist Humanists. I was invited by a woman who I sat next to at a recent Howard Jones concert (For those old enough to remember he was the electronic icon of the 80s and only recently have I realised how ahead of his time he was in terms of his lyrics.)

I thought I was going to a meeting which was an encounter between Buddhists and non-Buddhists. In a way it was, but I felt that they were trying to convert me and I told them that I had enough trouble being Jewish, there ain't no way i'm gonna be a Buddhist too ! (Although they did point out that I wouldnt be lonely as a Jewish Buddhist - the leadfer of their particluar group in the UK is Jewish of course!)

This particular brand of Buddhism is rather beautiful I thought. It is based oon the idea that we all have 'Buddha nature' i.e. that we all have the potential to be and do good in the world, and their practise is to see that in themselves and in others, and see our interconnectedness through chanting and good action.

I found it encouraging that there are an estimated 7 million Buddhist Humanists around the world. Add the number of regular Buddhists, New agers, enlightened religious folk from all religions etc and you start getting close to critical mass. The question is just how to get these people connected. the answer may well be technology but thats another blog.

I did object to one aspect though that I find in almost all religion I have encountered. They were saying that their way was the only way to save the world. Neale Walsch, author of Conversations with God, has suggested that if only religious leaders would get up and declare 'Ours is not the only way, ours is just one way' we could clear up a lot of the mess. It was hard for them to hear what i was saying as they were invested in their system but I think they did hear it to a certain extent. Also, they speak about dialogue being an important way forward to healing the world.

As usual, synchronicity was present last night. To find out more, please read the next post.


Anonymous said...

I think it should be remembered that religion has been the root cause of so much arguement, conflict, pain, opression and death in the present as well as in history - budhist, jewish, catholic you name it - I am highly sceptical no matter how loving it appears. You mention the Buddhist Humanists are invested in their systems... which is another way of saying they have closed minds, their way suits them best and to hell with everyone else. In a word, Tribalism.

Meanwhile, wider Buddhism has a certain appeal in the West as it is relatively unknown - we perceive it as being somehow serene and gentle; however the reality is very different - look up research on 1930's Tibet and the Dalai Lama and compare it to your understanding of budhism - to say nothing of the perverse forms social control that pervades the life of Budhist society where we only see exotic men in golden robes.

As for Tribalism - I for one am relatively happy to be living in Europe during this age where tribes have been supressed and peace, if not harmony, prevails.

erastus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
erastus said...

May I comment on a 4-year-old blog post? Well I have to try!

Regarding your comment about all religions claiming that *they* are the best or only way, and if only the religious leaders would declare the opposite, I can give you an example of one that doesn't: The particular flavor of Vedanta started by Vivekananda, chief disciple of Ramakrishna, who lived in Bangalore in the 1800s. In a nutshell, they say that "truth is one, sages call it by various names" ... that the different religions arise both as man's attempt to capture infinity in his finite mind and finite language ... and that all the major religions of the world--properly understood--are like many rivers leading to the same ocean.

They are wonderful people to chat with. Monotheists can be offended by the pervasive Hindu symbolism, though it is not a requirement that any devotee accept it or use it in their own life. (The symbolism is natural for the Indians, but not so for Westerners...)

I'm sure they have several ashrams in the UK, if you ever want to go there with your EOK sign. ;-)

Love an Peace!

PS. I couldn't figure out how to edit my original post, so I had to delete it...

suziecreamchease said...

disappointed that these "buddhists" declared that theirs was the only path.. as this is contrary to usual expression of buddhism which forbids evangelicalism let alone narrow dogma.
see "four ways of letting go" on youtube for more cuddly buddhist..

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