Buddhism in Modern Society
By By Householder Fo'en
Q: Buddhism advocates benefiting all sentiment beings. What kinds of socially beneficial activities are Buddhists engaged in?
A: Buddhists are engaged in a wide range of work towards social welfare. Some monks practice and distribute medicine, while others build bridges and roads, dig wells, establish free schools and plant trees. The planting of trees, especially, has been a remarkable success. Just look at places throughout China where there are Buddhist pagodas and temples, presenting a tranquil environment and attractive scenery.
Q: Apparently, some Westerners have become Buddhists?
A: That's right. The teachings of the Buddha are full of wisdom, something increasingly recognized by people of discernment. The diverse ways of information dissemination also accelerate the propagation of Buddhism. Besides oral and scriptural transmission, people can get to know Buddhism through audio-visual products, TV, radio and the internet. Buddhism has been not only accepted by the general public, but also noted by thinkers, philosophers and scientists.
Q: It seems that worries about Buddhism being unable to adapt to the scientific age are misplaced.
A: Yes. If you understand Buddhism, you will find that the more advanced science becomes, the easier it will be for Buddhism to be accepted. In his book The Avatamsaka Sutra and Nuclear Physics, Japanese scientist Shinichi Matsushita concludes that Buddhist views of the universe as well as the creation and destruction of matter and those of modern nuclear physics can be juxtaposed and used to corroborate each other. He believes they are startlingly similar. Einstein reportedly said: "If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be the Buddhism."
From Buddhism for Beginners – Questions and Answers
- Recitation of Amitabha’s name, relying on his Fundamental Vow (the 18th)
- Rebirth of ordinary beings in the Pure Land’s Realm of Rewards
- Rebirth assured in the present lifetime
- Non-retrogression achieved in this lifetime
The 18th Vow of Amitabha Buddha
If, when I achieve Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten directions who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, wish to be reborn in my land and recite my name, even ten times, should fail to be born there, may I not attain perfect enlightenment. Excepted are those who commit the five gravest transgressions or slander the correct Dharma.
Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings