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.