Что такое буддизм?
Вклад буддизма в прогресс человечества
What is Buddhism?
All the other religions claim to have originated in heaven and descended to earth. Buddhism originated from an Enlightened mind on this earth and transcended the heavens.
WHAT is Buddhism? This question has puzzled many people who often enquire if Buddhism is a philosophy, a religion, or a way of life. The simple answer is that Buddhism is too vast and too profound to be neatly placed in any single mundane category. Of course, Buddhism includes philosophy and religion and a way of life. But Buddhism goes beyond these categories. The categories or labels given to Buddhism are like signboards that indicate the contents of what is available. If we compare Buddhism to a medicine shop, it will be clear that the signboard on the medicine shop does not cure a person of sickness. You take the medicine to heal yourself without being attached to the label for the medicine. Likewise, if the Teaching of the Buddha is effective, then use it and do not be attached to the label or signboard. Buddhism cannot be forced into any single category or limited under any signboard.
People living at different times and in different places have given various labels and interpretations to Buddhism. To some people, Buddhism might appear to be only a mass of superstitious practices. To another group of people, Buddhism might be a convenient label to be used for temporal gains. To another group, it is old fashioned. To yet another group, Buddhism is a significant system of thought appealing to intellectuals only. To some others, it is a scientific discovery. To the pious and devout Buddhist, Buddhism encompasses his or her entire life, the fulfillment of all material and spiritual aspirations. In this sense we can say that Buddhism is a noble way of life. Some intellectuals see Buddhism as a product of its Indian environment or as an outgrowth of another kind of Indian religious teaching.
This assessment is not wholly accurate. Buddhism is nothing but the Absolute Noble Truth. It is an intellectual approach to reality. However, the Buddha’s realisation of universal problems did not come through a purely intellectual or rational process but through mental development and purification. The intellectual stance reminiscent of the scientific attitude, surely makes the Buddha absolutely unique among religious teachers of all time. Of course, the high standard of intellectual inquiry and ethical endeavour prevailing at the time in India were prime conditions for the re-emergence of the light of the Dharma from the darkness of oblivion. Thousands of years of religious and philosophical development had left on the intellectual soil of India a rich and fertile deposit of ideas and ideals which formed the best possible environment from which the seed of the Dharma could sprout and flourish. Greece, China, Egypt and Babylonia, for all their loftiness of thought, had not attained the same quality of vision as the forest and mountain-dwelling sages of India. The germ of Enlightenment which had been borne, like a winged seed from distant fields, from worlds in space and time infinitely remote from ours—this very germ of Enlightenment found growth and development in the north-eastern corner of India. This very germ of Enlightenment found its full expression in the experience of the man, Gautama Buddha. The fountainhead of all Buddhism is this experience which is called ‘Enlightenment’. With this experience of Enlightenment, the Buddha began His Teaching not with any dogmatic beliefs or mysteries, but with a valid, universal experience, which He gave to the world as universal truth. Therefore, the closest definition of Buddhism is NOBLE TRUTH. Remember that the Buddha did not teach from theories. He always taught from a practical standpoint based on His understanding, His Enlightenment, and His realisation of the Truth. He constantly urged His followers to see ‘things-as-they-reallyare’.
Buddhism began with the right understanding embodied over 2500 years ago in the person of Siddharta Gautama. When the Buddha introduced His teachings, His intention was not to develop the concept of self in people’s minds and create more craving for eternal life and sense pleasure. Rather, His intention was to point out the futility of the worldly life and to show the correct, practical Path to salvation that He discovered.
The original Teachings of the Buddha revealed with sharp accuracy the true nature of life and the world. However, a distinction must be made between the Buddha’s original Teaching (often called the Dharma or the Buddha Word) and the religion that developed based on His Teachings, which is popularly called ‘Buddhism’. The Teachings of the Buddha not only started a religion, but inspired the blossoming of a whole civilisation. These Teachings became a great civilizing force that moved through the history of many a culture and nation1. Indeed, Buddhism inspired some of the greatest civilisations that the world has ever known. It has a wonderful history of achievement in the fields of literature, art, philosophy, psychology, ethics, architecture and culture. In the course of centuries, countless social educational institutions were established in the various nations that were dedicated to the Buddha’s Teaching. The history of Buddhism was written in golden letters of brotherhood and goodwill. The Buddhist way of life and practices turned into a rational, scientific and practical religious way of life for spiritual development from the day the Buddha preached His Teaching and showed the real purpose and meaning of life and religion. All this is because people had the opportunity to open their minds freely.
Impact of Buddhism on Civilization
Today Buddhism remains as a great civilizing force in the modern world. As a civilizing force, Buddhism awakens the self-respect and feeling of self-responsibility of countless people and stirs up the energy of many a nation. It fosters spiritual progress by appealing to the thinking powers of human beings. It promotes in people the sense of tolerance by remaining free from religious and national narrowness and fanaticism. It tames the wild and refines the citizens to be clear and sober in mind. In short, Buddhism produces the feeling of self-reliance by teaching that the whole destiny of humanity lies in their own hands, and that they themselves possess the faculty of developing their own energy and insight in order to reach the highest goal.
For over two thousand years, Buddhism has satisfied the spiritual needs of nearly one-fifth of mankind. Today the appeal of Buddhism is as strong as ever. The Teachings of the Buddha remain among the richest spiritual resources of mankind because they lift the horizon of human effort to a higher level beyond a mere dedication to man’s insatiable needs and appetites. Owing to its breadth of perspective, the Buddha’s vision of life has a tendency to attract intellectuals who have exhausted their individual quest for meaning. However, the fruit of the Buddha’s vision is something more than intellectual gymnastics or solace for the intellectually effete. Buddhism does not encourage verbal speculation and argument for its own sake.
Buddhism is practical, rational and offers a realistic view of life and of the world. It does not entice people into living in a fool’s paradise, nor does it frighten and agonize people with all kinds of imaginary fears and guilt-feelings. It does not create religious fanatics to disturb the followers of other religions. The Buddhist attitude to other religions is remarkable. Instead of converting the followers of other religions into Buddhism, Buddhists can encourage them to practise their own religions because Buddhists never think the followers of other religions are bad people. Buddhism tells us exactly and objectively what we are and what the world around us is, and shows us the way to perfect freedom, peace, tranquility and happiness.
If humanity today is to be saved from reacting against the moral standards taught by religions, Buddhism is a most effective vehicle. Buddhism is the religion of humanity, whose founder was a human being who sought no divine revelation or intervention in the formulation of His Teachings. In an age when human beings are overwhelmed by their success in the control of the material universe, they might like to look back and take stock of the achievements they have made in controlling the most difficult of all phenomena: their own selves. It is in this quest that the modern human beings will find in Buddhism an answer to their numerous problems and doubts.
Today, Buddhism appeals to the West because it has no dogmas, and it satisfies both the reason and the heart alike. It insists on selfreliance coupled with tolerance for others. It embraces modern scientific discoveries if they are for constructive purposes. Buddhism points to man alone as the creator of his present life and as the sole designer of his own destiny. Such is the nature of Buddhism. This is why many modern thinkers who are not themselves Buddhist have described Buddhism as a religion of freedom and reason.
The Buddha’s message of peace and compassion radiated in all directions and the millions who came under its influence adopted it very readily as a new way of religious life.
Editor's note 04-02-1
Вклад буддизма в прогресс человечества
Редакция перевода от 01.07.2015 19:42