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Diffusion of Buddhist Ideas in the West

Diffusion of Buddhist Ideas in the West

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Published by Min Bahadur Shakya
It contains some information about the contribution of internet in the diffusion of Buddhism in the west.
It contains some information about the contribution of internet in the diffusion of Buddhism in the west.

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Published by: Min Bahadur Shakya on Feb 29, 2012
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10/14/2013

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D
IFFUSION
 
OF
B
UDDHIST
I
DEAS
 
IN
 
THE
W
EST
 T
HROUGH
 
THE
I
NTERNET
.
 
 
Min Bahadur Shakya
Introduction
ne of the most important contributions of Lord Buddha is histeaching, which he delivered throughout his life times therebybringing millions of suffering human beings to peace and happiness.
O
His teaching of non-violence and peace is more relevant today than his days.Concerning the importance of Buddhist teaching, Albert
 
Einstein has this to say:
“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion…covering both the natural and spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense rising from the experiment of allthings, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity;Buddhism answers this description.” 
Remarks of this nature coming from a man highly acknowledged andhighly esteemed throughout the world as one of the greatest scientiststhe world has ever known, gives us an added conviction that Buddhismmay yet suffice as an antidote of war and strife.As a Buddhist, one must oppose the use or the threat of forceagainst other nations except in certain circumstances, for self-defense.In the process of drafting the UN charter, those who promulgated thisdocument, closely linked international peace and security withprogress in arms limitations, disarmament, the cessation of violentconflicts through mutual trust and co-operation. The first of the UNCharter’s principles was the commitment to save succeedinggenerations from the scourge of wars.
1
 There is seemingly no end to the armed intervention and violentconflicts in the various regions of the world. One of the most importantgoals of the United Nations includes achieving World Peace andsecurity. The UN has helped end conflicts around the world through thenegotiation of cease-fires and through peace agreements.
1
Article 26 of the UN Charter.
 
Diffusion of Buddhist Ideas in the West.......
Mr. U. Thant, the Secretary General of United Nations (1967)declared the following:Disclosing the universality and significance of Buddha’s message, that, to quote the Secretary General “
 At no time inhistory has it been more so relevant as it is today”.
In spite of its profound values Buddhist ideas could not get throughin the West in the past millennium and not even until eighteenthcentury of the present era. That's why A. Arnold called the Buddha"
Light of Asia
"It is true that the whole of Asia is flooded with Buddhist monasterieswith huge amount of manuscripts on Buddha's teachings, monuments,festivals, caves and teaching centers. A legacy beyond imaginationindeed!
Buddhism: In a Scientific Perspective
In the West, Buddhism has aroused extensive interest and sympathy. There are many eminent personalities in western societies who areeither Buddhists or who are sympathetic towards Buddhism. This ismost clearly exemplified by the remark made by Albert Einstein in hisautobiography, the remark that he was not a religious man, but if hewere one he would be a Buddhist. This is quite surprising, and offhandwe would not expect such a remark to be made by the Father of Modern ScienceOne of the reasons that a westerner appreciates about Buddhism isthe face that it is not culture bound, not bound to any particularsociety, race or ethnic group. That is why we have Indian Buddhists, Thai Buddhists, Chinese Buddhists, Nepalese Buddhists, SrilankanBuddhists and so forth. Furthermore, now we have even AmericanBuddhists, and African Buddhists. It moves very easily from one cultureto another because its emphasis is on internal practice rather than onexternal behavior. The
second reason
is its pragmatic approach dealing withproblems rather than taking an interest in metaphysics and academictheory. The
third reason
is the Buddha's teaching on the importance of verification through experience. This point is made clearly in his adviceto the Kalamas contained in the
Kesaputtiya sutta
. The Kalamas werepeople like ourselves in our modern day where we are exposed to somany diverse teachings. They went to the Buddha and enquired that
{2}
 
Diffusion of Buddhist Ideas in the West.......
as there were so many different teachers and as all of them claimedthat their doctrine was true, how were they to know who was tellingthe truth. The Buddha told them not to accept anything out of authority; not to accept anything because it is written in sacredshastras; not to accept anything out of reverence for their teacher; orout of hearsay; or because it sounds reasonable.We can see a striking parallel between the Buddha's own approachand approach of the science to the problem of knowledge. Observationis in a sense the key to the Buddha's method of knowledge. It isobservation that yields the theory of the Four Noble Truths. We find that not only is the method of science-observation,experiment and analysis-anticipated by the Buddha, but that some of the very specific conclusions about the nature of man and the Universethat are indicated by the latest developments in quantum physics werealso indicated by the Buddha. For instance, the importance of themind. A noted physicist not long ago has remarked that the Universe isreally something like a great thought.
Dhammapada
states that themind precedes all things, and the mind is the maker of all mentalstates. Similarly the relativity of matter and energy, the fact that thereis no radical division between mind and matter. All these indicationsare now gradually being revealed by the latest development inscience.
Problems on the diffusion of Buddhist literature in theWest.
One of the major sources of Buddhist teachings in the Asian countriesis the abundance of Buddhist literature in the vernacular languages,which includes Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai,Sinhalese, Nepalese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Central Asian, Sanskrit, Paliand so forth. Even now most of these literatures have not beentranslated into English or other International Languages.
 Sanskrit:
It was not until the advent of Sir Brian B.Hodgson (1824-1842 AD.) aBritish diplomat in Nepal, discovered a great number of 
SanskritBuddhist manuscripts
in Nepal. The existence of these before histime was unknown, and his discovery entirely revolutionized thehistory of Buddhism, as Europeans knew it in the early part of thiscentury. Copies of these works, totaling 381 folio manuscripts havebeen distributed so as to render them accessible to European scholars.Of these eighty-six manuscripts comprising 179 separate works, manywere presented to Asiatic Society of Bengal: 85 to the Royal Asiatic
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