Are Certain Buddhist Groups Becoming More Important Cultural Studies Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Buddhism was widely spread in Europe, especially in the middle ages with the story of Saints Barlaam and Josaphat, which could be considered as a retell of Buddha's early experience; however the focus has been shifted from Buddha's enlightenment to complying with the will of God. With Christianity's domination over majority of Europe, Buddhism has no grounds to expand, and its knowledge has been limited small amount of populations. From the latter half of the twentieth century, with the Western understanding of Buddhism gradually increasing, Buddhism's popularity started booming in the West. This essay analysis the reason why Buddhist becoming more significant in Western counties and the influence of the Buddhist in West

Western exposure to Buddhism has greatly increased through a variety of traditional methods, such as organization of Buddhist groups, set up Buddhist centers, employ Buddhist teachers. Scholars estimate that 90% of American Buddhist centers were established 70's and 80's. In Australia, the Buddhist center from 3,500 in 1981 to 14,000 in 1991, almost quadrupled, which belong to about 167 organizations and associations. In Europe, the United Kingdom of Buddhist centers increased from 74 in 1979 to about 340 in 1997, in Germany in 1975 from 40 to more than 400 in 1997. Buddhists have also greatly expanded the theme of involvement: "Green Buddhists" believe that Buddhists should take responsibility for nature and the environment; feminist Buddhists questioned the practice and content of the male-dominated situation in Buddhist; chiliasts in Buddhism called upon the community - political participation, which is the Western "white Buddhists" an important theme.

Western understanding of Buddhism mainly from the interpretation of Max Weber who views that Buddhism is a "born of religion." He described the early Buddhism, "a special non-political and anti-religious political career," a study of intellectuals to save the soul. It does not establish even a "minor political objectives", it does not care about politics. Weber will feature Buddhist ethics as "non-action." According to his point of view, Buddhism does not provide "a system of secular ethics," The key point is: "the world's indifference," "retired from the outside world" and "do not care about the behavior of the outside world." Buddhists will not participate in social - political and commercial activities. It can be seen, Weber's point of view is Theravada Buddhism, however, is that most Westerners to understand Buddhism.

During the 150 years, Buddhism has always been the culture through the distorted prism of being accepted in the spread in the West. Spread in each of its powerful moments, it always based on the use of its Western focus was to re-explain the difference. The recent studies point out Westerners especially for Buddhism and Western modernity were closely related to the successful fight for its academic discovery of "modernist" approach to interpretation.

If the 19th century Europeans emphasized Buddhism's "rationalism," then 60's from the 20th century began, people with special emphasis on its "pragmatism." Therefore, it can be divided into two different basic phases: the first from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, the basic features of sufficient interest in a kind of intellectual, but since the 20th century 60s, Buddhism existence of a dominant position, fine blanking and psychological motivation. Moreover in Western derives a very different understanding and acceptance for the Buddhist.

Since the 20th century 60's, the chiliast first seek to meet demand with a number of spiritual teacher and the spiritual mentor them guiding them directly into the way of save the Buddha and learning practice meditation in martial arts through the oral . Intellectual concerns have not disappeared, the fact that far from it, but they have been relegated to second place: the particular importance of West's new disciples of Sakyamuni is experienced through instructors who were a spiritual experience. Therefore western Buddhism focus on writing books or the lectures, shows, and (or) lead to a fundamental change in perspective: on the one hand Buddhism as an atheistic philosophy and ethics to accept; the other hand, through the thinking effort to understand their inner change. In the former case, converted to Buddhism is extremely rare.

4.0 Analysis the especial characteristics in Australia different from Western

The spread of Buddhism is based on a large number of immigrants from Asia .From 1970, Australia introduced more liberal immigration policies, many Asian immigrants arrived in Australia, particularly after the end of 1975, the Vietnam War, many Vietnamese immigrants to Australia. From the census of 1981 in Australia, there are more than 35,000 Buddhists, of which 45% of people living in New South Wales, 27% of people living in Victoria. After 1981, is Australia's fastest growing period of Buddhism, most of them are immigrants, such as there are 113,000 Buddhists in 1991 to reach Australia. 1996 Australian Census shows that there are 299,800 Buddhists in Australia, 42.9% increase over 1991. Most immigrants settled with Buddhism's major cities in Australia. For example, the 1991 census data shows that New South Wales 59000 Buddhists, there are 55,000 living in the Sydney metropolitan; in Victoria, 42,000 Buddhists, 41,000 live in Melbourne.

Buddhism is one of Australia's fastest-growing religious denomination, is the second fastest growing religion in Australia (the fastest growing religion is Hindu, 54.5%), while Australia's population growth rate of 5.4% and the increase in the number of non-religious, an increase of 35.5%. In addition, from 1991's demographic situation, the number of Buddhists in religion in Australia ranks third in non-Western religion inferior to Islam in the second, but by 1996, it is rising rapidly, approaching non- the first Western religion of Islam.

5.0 Explain the impact of Buddhist Women in Australia

In the long course of history, women's status has been constantly evolving with the times change. Dominant in the matriarchal period, women in the production of a dominant position in life, so their social status are higher than men. When the paternal clan dominated, women are lost in the production of a dominant position in life, their social status naturally humble down. Meanwhile, due to the development of social reality and the myth of religious experience always plays a powerful form of restricted role of women in the field of religion and mythology position also changes with the secular world changing. Spread in the Western world's religious stories and legends are the product of primitive patriarchal, also bound to the male-oriented, and with the private ownership and class generation, God is no longer a human service provider, but the embodiment of mankind's rule persons.

Buddhism played a significant role in resolving the issue of gender equality and in the Diamond Sangha, obviously, shows the change in number of women employees is constantly increasing, achieved equal number of men. Appoint female teachers, praise women in the hymns, and support the development of women's activities in practical activities(Michelle Spuler,2003)

6.0 Analysis the development of Buddhism in modern society in Western

Original Buddhist ethics are not directly involved in promoting social reform, it is only through self-cultivation to see the preparatory phase, which can be regarded as "purposeful ethical." Original Buddhist ethics originated in Asia agricultural society, industrial society in the modern Western Buddhists, it is how to work? There are still a large of people in the West see the Buddhism as "Birth of Buddhism", the impression, without any purpose of a Buddhist. How it practice? Sangharakshita who was born in British (Sangharashita) Master believe that "Western" here is the content of the main description, but not a geographical concept, it represents a secular, industrialized and urbanized society (Bryson, 2000). As living standards greatly improved life and because of social pressures lead to personal spiritual development has been hampered, modern Western society more difficult than ever to accept the Buddhist life. Less favorable in this context, the organized community can help provide a better environment for the development of Buddhism.

So how can transfer the concept into action in the modern Western World? Firstly, establish correct ethics education as the challenges and actions for their guidance. Chiliast in the process to improve the living conditions should be possible to follow Buddhism of their working principle. For example, Chiliast should avoid non-good career, and work to improve their mental state. Second, the moral purity of the professional standards should be: its activities in the Buddhist sense, healthy, socially beneficial, and skilled skills. Third, based on the characteristics of the modern society itself, should be expanded to "non-good way," the scope of employment, such as advertising (often on their own products or services over the publicity) at some point it does not necessarily play a catalytic role to society. Fundamental consideration is: except in special career, the work content and purpose are equally important. In addition to the work will not harmful, exploitation and deception beings, people must also harmonize with nature and the environment. Fourth, life is a higher standard for required, if possible, in collaboration with the other activities and not be done individually, which will make person to work together to benefit, enlighten and inspire . While cooperation can learn together without arbitrary and grading system to work and management, so that sense of responsibility increased, and they make a decision on principle, created a good working environment.

FWBO was created by Sangharakshita who was born in 1925 in a worker's family in London, in 1950 he become a Buddhist monk. In 1967, living in India for 20 years, Sangharakshita returned to England to create FWBO. He believes that FWBO is primarily a Western spiritual movement, the spirit of a Western phenomenon. FWBO explore in Western civilization (which is a secular, and industrialized civilization) condition of Buddhist practice, it is trying to give a contemporary Buddhist images, and adapt to the West ( Hirschman ,1983). It is trying to prove a high degree of industrialization and urbanization in the society, the Buddhist way of life and their spiritual practices is feasible. For the establishment of such a "Western style", FWBO absorbing the various sects of Buddhist thought, but also from Western art and literature to learn the source of inspiration in order to broaden the understanding of the Buddhist path.

1. To join the FWBO, people must convert the Three Jewels; this is a turning point in personal life. FWBO members, including unmarried men and women, married or single people, professionals, services, etc. for FWBO, Diversification of its members have behalf of the "Global Village", and "post-industrial" conditions of a new type of Buddhist groups. In addition, the Centre also organized meditation, yoga; study Japanese, French, and the Buddhist festivals and other activities to attract more interest in participation.

2. The development and scale. FWBO started only in the UK from 70s in the Europe. Since 1978, the European FWBO members can study in Indian for the religious and secular education. Now the organization contain about 10 million members and supporters, about half of Buddhists throughout India, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, North America, South America and many parts of Europe. In 1997 there are 30 centers in the UK and 35 groups. Other parts of the city center about 50. FWBO also punish a version of books, magazines and so on. Britain has become a major Buddhist organization.

For members of the FWBO, to become a Buddhist meditation, they not only study through education but also be implemented in different socio-political activities. Mahayana Bodhisattva is fit very much in line with this background. Business activities are life goals, in addition to economic efficiency and profits, but also to change the existing social. The growth of modern society of psychological and spiritual are harmful, people should have already begun to produce a "new society", in this sense, the commercial activities of the spiritual world and the FWBO as a bridge between the secular environments. It can also attract attention, does their publicity. Most importantly, the business activities of FWBO are economically self-independent, and thus will not rely on "existing society" and to meet its requirements. Sangharakshita stressed: "I do not want to see Buddhism in the community is just a decoration, but the community simply have not changed. I do not want a secular life in a small oasis in the desert; it should be expanded and can positively affect the people around the world. "

8.0 Conclusion

Buddhism is one of the world's three major religions, has long history, vast education management texts, the system of ethical norms, grand philosophical system of profound wisdom and the great compassion heart. Buddhism is based on people-oriented, compassionate beings-based life saving ideas and simple attitude to the establishment of mechanisms for the development of resource-saving society. Buddhism can create profound wisdom and generous spirit of compassion in people's minds, so that make the whole life system in the coordination among the serene calm and power life. It occupied the position in the history of civilization of human society and played a key and special place role in the Western. If everyone with compassion, the state will have a psychological basis for peace and happiness. The development of Buddhism, for national stability and happiness of the people is of great significance. Carry forward the value of Buddhism, not only to self-cultivation regulation the family, but also can keep the peace in the World. For today's trying to build a peace place in Western, Buddhism can make life clean, healthy and happy, establish harmonious society,