26 replies to this topic
Posted 2009-07-16 13:23:05
Buddhism Wins Best Religion in the World Award
In advance of their annual Leading Figure award to a religious figure who has done the most to advance the cause of humanism and peace, the Geneva-based International Coalition for the Advancement of Religious and Spirituality (ICARUS) has chosen to bestow a special award this year on the Buddhist Community. "We typically prefer an under-the-radar approach for the organization, as we try to embody the spirit of modesty found in the greatest traditions," said ICARUS director Hans Groehlichen in a phone conference Monday. "But with organized religion increasingly used as a tool to separate and inflame rather than bring together, we felt we had to take the unusual step of creating a "Best Religion in the World" award and making a bit of a stir, to inspire other religious leaders to see what is possible when you practice compassion."
Groehlichen said the award was voted on by an international roundtable of more than 200 religious leaders from every part of the spiritual spectrum. "It was interesting to note that once we supplied the criteria, many religious leaders voted for Buddhism rather than their own religion," said Groehlichen. "Buddhists actually make up a tiny minority of our membership, so it was fascinating but quite exciting that they won."
Criteria included factors such as promoting personal and community peace, increasing compassion and a sense of connection, and encouraging preservation of the natural environment. Groehlichen continued "The biggest factor for us is that ICARUS was founded by spiritual and religious people to bring the concepts of non-violence to prominence in society. One of the key questions in our voting process was which religion actually practices non-violence."
When presenting the information to the voting members, ICARUS researched each of the 38 religions on the ballot extensively, offering background, philosophy, and the religions role in government and warfare. Jonna Hult, Director of Research for ICARUS said "It wasn't a surprise to me that Buddhism won Best Religion in the World, because we could find literally not one single instance of a war fought in the name of Buddhism, in contrast to every other religion that seems to keep a gun in the closet just in case God makes a mistake. We were hard pressed to even find a Buddhist that had ever been in an army. These people practice what they preach to an extent we simply could not document with any other spiritual tradition."
At least one Catholic priest spoke out on behalf of Buddhism. Father Ted O'Shaughnessy said from Belfast, "As much as I love the Catholic Church, it has always bothered me to no end that we preach love in our scripture yet then claim to know God's will when it comes to killing other humans. For that reason, I did have to cast my vote for the Buddhists." And Muslim Cleric Tal Bin Wassad agreed from Pakistan via his translator. "While I am a devout Muslim, I can see how much anger and bloodshed is channeled into religious expression rather than dealt with on a personal level. The Buddhists have that figured out." Bin Wassad, the ICARUS voting member for Pakistan's Muslim community continued, "In fact, some of my best friends are Buddhist." And Rabbi Shmuel Wasserstein said from Jerusalem, "Of course, I love Judaism, and I think it's the greatest religion in the world. But to be honest, I've been practicing Vipassana meditation every day before minyan (daily Jewish prayer) since 1993. So I get it."
Groehlichen said that the plan was for the award to Buddhism for "Best Religion in the World" to be given to leaders from the various lineages in the Buddhist community. However, there was one snag. "Basically we can't find anyone to give it to," said Groehlichen in a followup call late Tuesday. "All the Buddhists we call keep saying they don't want the award." Groehlichen explained the strange behavior, saying "Basically they are all saying they are a philosophical tradition, not a religion. But that doesn't change the fact that with this award we acknowledge their philosophy of personal responsibility and personal transformation to be the best in the world and the most important for the challenges facing every individual and all living beings in the coming centuries."
When asked why the Burmese Buddhist community refused the award, Buddhist monk Bhante Ghurata Hanta said from Burma, "We are grateful for the acknowledgement, but we give this award to all humanity, for Buddha nature lies within each of us." Groehlichen went on to say "We're going to keep calling around until we find a Buddhist who will accept it. We'll let you know when we do."
Posted 2009-07-16 13:35:56
well, find a Buddha and give the award to him/her. But then which one?
Posted 2009-07-16 13:50:27
Very Buddhist response from the Burmese monk Bhante Ghurata Hanta!This could teach a good lesson for the ones who like to hear.
Posted 2009-07-16 14:24:09
Not much competion out there, who has won it it the past, I wonder.
Edited by camerata, 2009-07-16 15:17:09.
Posted 2009-07-16 19:03:51
I have to admit I had the silly image in my head of the announcer saying, "And the nominees for best religion are Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, and Jerry Falwell." The camera falling on each as their name is read. "And the winner is Buddha. Accepting for Buddha, who is experiencing Nirvanna, is the Dali Lama."
Posted 2009-07-16 21:42:50
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But surely how can it win when it is not even a religion?
In a Quaker meeting I once attended in UK a monk ( from chithurst, west sussex, england) told us quite clearly
This is not a religion.I forget much of what else he said,although I remember him saying it was a philosophy
Can someone explain what is going on?
One question I would like to ask is, can one be both a christian and a Buddhist? My boyfriend says "yes"
He is making a crude joke about how this highlights the state of play here and religion in general.
He does have a point about things looking very confused in this area.
Posted 2009-07-16 22:09:33
Give me your definition of religion and the Buddhist sect/school you are referring to and I'll tell you if it's a religion or not. It all depends on what you consider to be religion.
Inasmuch as Buddhism doesn't penalize you for believing in other systems (Christianity/Brahmanism/Animism/Astrology), I guess you can call yourself anything you want. But if you really are a Christian, you are probably not going to make much progress in the mental cultivation that's at the heart of Buddhism.
Posted 2009-07-17 10:23:27
What about the acceptance speech? "...and I wish to thank my mom and dad and God (the winning one, of course)"
Posted 2009-07-19 23:56:12
I have a friend who's also Buddhist; he made the mistake of joining the Canadian Army. Then they sent him to Afghanistan. It sure did clash with his beliefs, and he's not yet recovered. No doubt some of the moralising about the fighting there might have been easier to agree with had he followed some other rather more prevalent western tradition.
As for the point about Buddhism not being a religion though, that seems very strange. Surely it's a religion, but an atheistic one? Calling something a philosophical tradition can be used to undermine the value of the religion.
Posted 2009-07-20 16:27:41
Buddhism's not a religion in the definition of the latin roots of the word 'religion'. I really don't think it is really possible to take away from Buddhism or undermine it. Buddha's teachings are perfect and will remain so until the end of time.
Posted 2009-07-20 19:14:31
If "religion" refers to something that binds, does Buddhism fit the bill for those who observe the 5 precepts or or take the Bodhisatta/satva vows? Or are these more like intentions rather than vows?
Likewise, if "religare" can also mean "to bind together", does membership of a sangha imply that one is a member of a religious community?
If we get away from the Latin roots and define religion as a set of beliefs that one subscribes to without generally accepted scientific evidence, i.e. evidence that meets the requirements of scientific method, then shouldn't we say that Buddhism is a religion because it posits (i) a ground of being underpinning phenomena, (ii) karmic law, and (iii) a belief that if one works at it one will attain nirvana, even if it takes aeons of lifetimes.
Or is there religious Buddhism and philosophical Buddhism, with a lot in common, but some core beliefs acceptable to the former, but not to the latter? Or, perhaps, philosophical "Buddhism" is a way of thinking that is sympathetic to the religion of Buddhism, but is not Buddhism at all. After all, the Buddha taught religious enlightenment, not just philosophy, though he did encourage people to think for themselves and put his teachings to the test of experience, knowledge and wisdom.
Posted 2009-07-21 07:59:24
I'm going to be rather critical of your short post, but I want to assure you that I am doing it to encourage thinking, not to be mean.
First, who cares about the Latin roots of the word religion when we are speaking of an Eastern "faith" (and I am choosing the word faith here for a reason that will shortly become clear).
Second, what is important in any definition is how it is used by a culture in 2009, not how it was used hundreds and hundreds of years ago in a different culture. Even the rather stodgy editors of dictionaries realize that language evolves. In taking a series of courses regarding linguistics a few years ago, I was actually rather impressed how most linguists are more flexible than I would have expected. Yes, I took a course about historical linguistics, but that was not the primary body of the linguistics program I dabbled in.
Third, and here is the crux of my critique, when you say, "Buddha's teachings are perfect and will remain so until the end of time," this is where you -- in my view -- sound as if you are enjoying Buddhism as a blind faith. And, if that is what you wish to do, that is fine. But...
What born again Christian would not say, "Jesus's teachings are perfect and will remain so until the end of time."
Osama Bin Laden (mentioned previously in this thread) probably would say, "Mohammad's teachings are perfect and will remain so until the end of time."
How many Mormons in Utah would say, "Joseph Smith's teachings are perfect and will remain so until the end of time."
In fact, I cannot personally think of any religion, including Satanism, that does not (in one way or another) say exactly the same thing.
As you can tell, I am not an advocate of blind faith, although I believe there is an element of faith in every religion. I laugh when I think back to discussions I have had with born again Christians about their belief that the Bible is the word of God. How do they know that? Because the Bible says it is the word of God. A vicious circle!
Posted 2009-07-21 10:09:39
I think that a good definition for Buddhism is "Spiritual Science" and as i would interpret i, a kind of knowledge that helps to live a better life.
Posted 2009-07-21 10:26:42
if only we spent less time defining and more time meditating .........
Posted 2009-07-21 10:35:11
Agree with you,still i find very difficult to sit and meditate..I tried sometimes,i guess that's not my way
Posted 2009-07-21 11:18:32
It did'nt seem to bother the Japaneese during the war they were quite happy raping,murdering and torturing with no remorse.
Posted 2009-07-21 13:04:21
Although I don't believe they did all that "in the name of Buddha", as opposed to someone like, say Patton, who thought war was his god-given destiny.
Posted 2009-07-21 20:27:03
ICARUS (very clever), "a Catholic priest Ted O'Shaughnessy" then a "Muslim Cleric Tal Bin Wassad" agreeing that Buddhism is tops.... Puuhrrleeeze.
You guys will be giving your money to the Nigerian e-mailers next....
Edited by RickBradford, 2009-07-21 20:36:40.
Posted 2009-07-22 06:39:51
Agree with you,still i find very difficult to sit and meditate..I tried sometimes,i guess that's not my way
Then walk and meditate. Maybe you had expectation that you would gain something out of it. The key in meditation is concentrate on the breathing in & out. Know the moment. your mind will wander but have to know the moment then come back to the breathing. Expectation always cause disappointment which leads lower the motivation. There are levels that can be reached during meditation. You'll know when you reach them. till then, concentrate on the breathing.
Posted 2009-07-22 11:41:08
Yep, looks like a spoof. See http://paramita.typepad.com/
We (and Beliefnet) were sucked in (except for RickBradford)! Well, I was anyway.
Posted 2009-07-22 12:35:34