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A Buddhist America

What if the entire United States was Buddhist—at least, the vast majority?

«13

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Then both Cruz and Trump would be in deep shit.

    BunkssilverWalkerDobs
  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    I'm not sure if Hillary "Super-Predator" Clinton would fare much better. Still, don't you think the country would be much better than it is now?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Of course it would. However, I believe it might take some convincing.... You start. I'll definitely follow in a short while. (I'm doing my bit discussing such matters with several American buddies on line [FB] who are all stunned and somewhat alarmed at what the effinhell is happening to America right now.....)

    herberto
  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    The value and need for proselytism is something that is viewed differently by each school and there are even differences of opinion between leaders within those schools. But proselytism is actually the Buddha's mandate:

    Go forth for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction. Teach the Dharma which is beautiful in the beginning, beautiful in the middle and beautiful at the end. Proclaim both the letter and the spirit of the holy life completely fulfilled and perfectly pure.

    What do you believe would be the best method to begin with? Do you suppose other Western Buddhists can be enlisted to help bring non-Buddhists to the Buddhadharma?

  • First we need to bring western Buddhists to the Buddhadharma (deeper).

  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer

    Valid concern.

    But suppose we simply introduced more people and let those who wished to deepen their practice do so. Active propagation is what would bring in those individuals talented enough to immerse themselves in the tradition and discern its most relevant aspects for our times. The question then is how many current Western Buddhists would be willing to support these efforts?

  • Also there is no centralization of Buddhism. For example I could say that I was Lama Jeffrey and open some organization in my town. What you describe (talented individuals) is happening right now and has happened for years and years. And I think it is important to make sure you know what you are doing before you present yourself as a teacher. Maybe better to say you are a study group or something if no one is a teacher.

    MX_83
  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    I'm not sure anything would change. Humans are still human; they make mistakes, they use religion to justify wars (Japan in WWII, recent Buddhist riots against Muslim minorities in SE Asia), they struggle and go astray. Look at all the internecine violence that went on historically between the main sects in Tibet.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Thailand has a whole lot of Buddhism. They also have a whole lot of corruption, child sex trade, drugs, bribery and other problems. The problem is anyone can say they are a Buddhist. It is another thing to live it. I don't know that we'd suddenly have a different country than we do now. The US is still overwhelming Christian and the foundations as far as core tenets of behaviors are very similar and it hasn't helped us one bit. Buddhism is nothing more than the people who practice it. Until those people look at their problems and face them on their own, we don't solve any problems. One does not have to be a Buddhist to do this.

    Fosdick
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited April 2016

    For starters proselytizing is different from offering or teaching the Dharma. Being a Buddhist involves a dedicated investigation of one's mind and not merely an adoption of a set of beliefs so I don't think it lends itself to conversion by proselytizing.

    Second, not even in India during or after Buddha's life did everyone become a Buddhist. I don't think a model of the whole country being Buddhist is practical or wise. HHDL likes to compare religion to medicine saying that the best religion depends on the individual's needs and inclinations.

    It could be argued that fewer, higher quality Buddhists is preferable to a larger number of Buddhists going through the motions, which would undoubtedly be the case with everyone being one.

    However, I do totally support efforts to teach and offer the Dharma and expand other outreach efforts like prison and hospice or other such things.

    karastiMX_83Walker
  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    @karasti said:
    Thailand has a whole lot of Buddhism. They also have a whole lot of corruption, child sex trade, drugs, bribery and other problems. The problem is anyone can say they are a Buddhist. It is another thing to live it. I don't know that we'd suddenly have a different country than we do now. The US is still overwhelming Christian and the foundations as far as core tenets of behaviors are very similar and it hasn't helped us one bit. Buddhism is nothing more than the people who practice it. Until those people look at their problems and face them on their own, we don't solve any problems. One does not have to be a Buddhist to do this.

    This is all very true, but I don't think people really believe in Christianity anymore. Perhaps many Thai are secret cynics as well? I think the main problem is that the foundational texts of Christianity are almost impossible to either practice or believe at this current stage of civilization. In the case of Thailand, I would imagine that stagnation would result from the great deal of control that the government has over institutional Buddhism. We don't have that in the US.

    @Jeffrey said:
    Maybe better to say you are a study group or something if no one is a teacher.

    Absolutely.

    Even nominal adherents who give dana would have an incredible impact on the thriving of the Buddhadharma in the US. Could you image America as a Buddhist-majority country before 2050? How do you think a pan-sectarian effort could be forged successfully, to amplify current trends towards the spreading of the Buddhadharma, possibly teaching out to communities of minorities and recent immigrants of whatever background as well as the mainstream?

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I don't think religion is needed to make the strides we need to. In fact, I think focusing on religion as the answer is what has gotten us to a some of the problems we have now. Try telling all the people who are Christian that they don't really believe in their own religion anymore. See what answers you get, LOL. People need to worry about themselves rather than others. Do I think we're going to see a swift and sudden change in our selfish ways in the next 35 years? No. If some of the things we've gone through already having brought about those big changes, I can't imagine much else will, either. It takes each person realizing that what they are doing in their own lives isn't working and they have to want to change it. Most people don't want to look at their lives and themselves in that way.

    Have you seen how many people think Eastern religions are a basis of sin and demons? Quite a few. Good luck trying to convince them that what they need is exactly what they are terrified of. People like this. There are more of them than you think.
    https://thelasthiker.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/adult-coloring-books-and-mandalas/

    MX_83
  • Well most people are Christian. Visit the bible belt of USA and then talk to me about if you think it can become majority Buddhist.

    MX_83
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Also, perhaps we should worry more about our own practice rather than hoping everyone else joins us on a path we don't even understand that well ourselves. I wonder about things myself, I'm sure everyone does. But I try not to spend too much time going too far with 'what ifs' because they just don't really matter. I can only deal with what is right in front of me, and most days, that is more than enough.

  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    @karasti said:
    People need to worry about themselves rather than others.

    I'm not entirely sure that this is a correct Mahayana Buddhist view. Compassion entails constantly reaching out and changing ourselves through those efforts. Think about the story of how Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara received 11 heads and 1,000 arms to become supremely masterful at aiding sentient beings. It was all about struggling to act out of compassion, succeeding, growing, and attaining new heights for oneself and others.

    Have you seen how many people think Eastern religions are a basis of sin and demons? Quite a few. Good luck trying to convince them that what they need is exactly what they are terrified of. People like this. There are more of them than you think.

    I've experienced real, personal threat, job-losing persecution. Lol. I am absolutely aware of this.

    @Jeffrey said:
    Well most people are Christian. Visit the bible belt of USA and then talk to me about if you think it can become majority Buddhist.

    I live there, and I know it can because I see their doubt and leanings that are very Buddhist. I also see their steadfastness. There are many stalwart, upright, and deeply compassionate potential Buddhist ready to find the Bodhisattva path and the nourishment of the Dharma rain.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited April 2016

    Well in Mahayana Buddhism part of the teaching is that they are asked for. If someone does not ask for the teachings they won't be given. This is part of the 7 branches of prayer which are a part of Mahayana Buddhism.

    karasti
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    First, not all Buddhists are Mahayana Buddhists. Second, Mahayana isn't about selling Buddhism or making people see it. It is about using your own life to help others where opportunities present themselves.

    You can still help people, but it does the community/neighborhood little good if you are busy cleaning up trash a mile down the street but your yard is full of it. It is better to be a good example and clean up your yard, first.

    People who have deep beliefs in God are not going to be willing to just give it up because you've found the path that works for you. Even the Dalai Lama has said that people who so desire should remain with their religion of birth. He does not encourage people to take on Buddhism when they are not ready.

    The best way to bring about change it just to live your life in a positive, skillful manner. As you do so, it will spread to the people nearest you and then perhaps slightly further out. Thinking about how to spread it to millions of people who are not only not interested, but are afraid, is not the best use of skillful ways, IMO.

    person
  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer

    What Would Padmasambhava Do? (Or Chogyam Trungpa, for that matter.) I have to wonder if the current majority of convert Buddhists are a different "breed" from either ethnic Buddhists or even the religious practitioners of their native traditions. If these responses from you two are representative of the opinions and doctrinal interpretations of the majority of Buddhists in North America, the idea of a pan-sectarian movement towards a Buddhist United States would seem to be an unlikely prospect.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited April 2016

    Yes I think it is less than a one hundredth percent chance that by 2050 America is Buddhist majority. But maybe 2500 I give it a chance.

    MX_83
  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    I suppose this is one instance in which I'll have to side with the 1% and hope you're wrong. By Moroni. Inshallah. Lol.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited April 2016

    And incidentally I am in the tradition of Padmasambhava and Trungpa Rinpoche. My guru is Shenpen Hookham who is married to Rigdzin Shikpo whose teacher was CTR. Of course I don't speak for any of them. But if you look at Shenpen's youtube videos like between 100 and 300 people have viewed them so I guess she has a long ways to go. (to catch up with Justin Bieber!)

  • WalkerWalker Veteran

    I disagree with the Dalai Lama on his position of other religions. Being raised in, and having left Christianity, I personally see it as an immoral religion.

    I think the best thing to do with Christians is to point out the troublesome passages in the Bible regarding things like slavery, genocide, human sacrifice, kidnapping virgins, substitutional atonement, etc. and ask them what they truly think about it. Do they truly get their morals from the God of the Bible, or do they think maybe there's something not right about it?

    Many of them don't even know about what's really in their Scriptures. Some do, and have accepted Apologetics' excuses. Some don't even think about what they believe, and why.

    So, I tend to agree with you in part, @karasti Live your life in a skillful manner. But, also, study other faiths, and find out what they're really about.

    silver
  • Nope. America is too insanely diverse and spread out to be any one thing. Even Christianity is fragmented into 35 major denominations and hundreds of smaller groups. The beliefs held and acted upon among this swath of American faithful is downright "Religulous" according to Bill Maher and not predisposed to philosophy lacking an omnipotent (imaginary) deity. The freaking nation was built "Under One God!", for Christ's sake! Literally.

    Perhaps after a cataclysm? Fat chance. The remote monastic enclaves would help the displaced only to be repaid by anarchic survivalist mayhem.

    Afraid we're barking up the wrong tree fantasizing about anything close to a Buddhist nationalism on the bumpy road America is on until hell freezes over. Too cynical? Probably. Sorry.

    So maybe focusing on one's individual practice and being of service in one's community/sangha are the highest ideals we can hope for realistically in a country going mad. Not bad, really. Not nationalistic, though. Again, sorry.

    MX_83
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited April 2016

    'Under God' was added later during the red scare to the dollar bill and pledge of allegiance actually.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited April 2016

    @Walker, his point is often misconstrued. He didn't want people to feel that they should be compelled to "convert" and that if they are comfortable in their current religion they should stay there. I've studied quite a lot of faiths, mostly to give my kids a better overall world view rather than to raise them with my beliefs, so they feel they have a choice in the matter. I've spent much time talking with people of other faiths as well.

    It does little good to confront people and demand they explain discrepencies in their beliefs. It is unlikely to go well even with someone you are close to, nevermind people you hardly know. People are very defensive of their beliefs, and it's not our job to force them to look at why.

    @MX_83 There is an entire chapter in CTR's "Individual Path of Liberation" book that talks about cleaning up after yourself first. He says "Obviously, you should not try to liberate others without first making your own commitment to the dharma.To begin with, your own intentions need to be pure and clean. If you yourself become less of a nuisance and produce less garbage, you then can begin to help clear somebody else's garbage. That is why you take the refuge vow. You vow that you will always clean up after yourself. You vow that you will not distort the world you are living in with your own contribution of pollution. Cleaning up after ourselves is the only way to create an enlightened world. By exemplifying your own sanity and commitment, you can clean up the potential garbage of people around you. You can apply your sanity by means of example, rather than by talking too much or trying to convince people."

    JeffreyFosdickperson
  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    @karasti said:
    @MX_83 There is an entire chapter in CTR's "Individual Path of Liberation" book that talks about cleaning up after yourself first. He says "Obviously, you should not try to liberate others without first making your own commitment to the dharma.To begin with, your own intentions need to be pure and clean. If you yourself become less of a nuisance and produce less garbage, you then can begin to help clear somebody else's garbage. That is why you take the refuge vow. You vow that you will always clean up after yourself. You vow that you will not distort the world you are living in with your own contribution of pollution. Cleaning up after ourselves is the only way to create an enlightened world. By exemplifying your own sanity and commitment, you can clean up the potential garbage of people around you. You can apply your sanity by means of example, rather than by talking too much or trying to convince people."

    The neighborhood cleanup program that cleans others' yards will clean your own. Also, the four Bodhisattva vows in Japanese Buddhism are:

    Beings are numberless, I vow to save them
    Desires are inexhaustible, I vow to end them
    Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them
    Buddha's way is unsurpassable, I vow to attain it.

    I suppose we all have out own approaches to Buddhadharma. I would definitely like to encounter more Buddhists willing to step outside of their comfort zones.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited April 2016

    That's actually I feel a great question I have in mind. Why did Buddhism end in India while flourishing in other parts of Asia? I mean didn't it almost completely die out in India? Why? And India has a connection with European descendent cultures as Indo-European. We might have more in common with where Buddhism originated than where it spread to.

  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    @Jeffrey said:
    That's actually I feel a great question I have in mind. Why did Buddhism end in India while flourishing in other parts of Asia? I mean didn't it almost completely die out in India? Why? And India has a connection with European descendent cultures as Indo-European. We might have more in common with the where Buddhism originated than where it spread to.

    It ended because the pacifist Buddhists of India were wiped out by Islam. The same thing happened in Gandhara, a Hellenized region that was in the area that is present day Afghanistan. Kandahar, the Taliban's stronghold, is actually Gandhara, the ancient center of what would become Mahayana Buddhism.

    JeffreyWalker
  • I thought that India was not Islamic culture.

  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    @Jeffrey said:
    I thought that India was not Islamic culture.

    Not after India and Pakistan became separate countries. When the Muslims first arrived in India, however, they completely destroyed Buddhism save for I think one small community that was only discovered to have been Buddhist by the modern world in the 2000's.

    The Muslims despise Buddhism, and this is the reason that they destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas in the 2000's when the Japanese tried to negotiate for their purchase.

    JeffreyWalker
  • Yes I am afraid I never had a college level history course or very much of my own independent interest. In highschool my world history teacher was a little eccentric and he started from the end of the book going backwards.

  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer

    @Jeffrey said:
    Yes I am afraid I never had a college level history course or very much of my own independent interest. In highschool my world history teacher was a little eccentric and he started from the end of the book going backwards.

    I learned this stuff by sponging off of public Wi-Fi and studying that thar Buddhaism. Lol.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @MX_83 I am quite familiar with bodhisattva vows, but there is a reason they come after refuge vows. Regardless, there are a lot of people who are not mahayanists and have nothing to do with bodhisattva vows. They aren't any less Buddhist or hiding within comfort zones though. You seem to be making a sweeping assumption about people you don't even know, as far as what their comfort zones are and whether they are within them or outside of them. Perhaps you mean that you look forward to meeting more Buddhists that see the world the same way you do. No doubt, you will. But you will also meet very well-practiced and knowledgeable Buddhists who don't see the world the same. Anhow, you asked what CTR would think about it, that's what he thinks, in his own words.

  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    @karasti said:
    Anhow, you asked what CTR would think about it, that's what he thinks, in his own words.

    Well, I suppose that's his answer, though he isn't quite an authority in my own practice. I can accept that others would rather focus on themselves.

    @MX_83 I am quite familiar with bodhisattva vows, but there is a reason they come after refuge vows. Regardless, there are a lot of people who are not mahayanists and have nothing to do with bodhisattva vows. They aren't any less Buddhist or hiding within comfort zones though.

    I understand that Vajrayana is considered a distinct tradition.

    You seem to be making a sweeping assumption about people you don't even know, as far as what their comfort zones are and whether they are within them or outside of them.

    No, I'm merely specifying who I would like to reach. I realize that not everyone is comfortable reaching out to others.

    Perhaps you mean that you look forward to meeting more Buddhists that see the world the same way you do. No doubt, you will. But you will also meet very well-practiced and knowledgeable Buddhists who don't see the world the same.

    Of course. I expect that there are many sincere people who will take the words and the essense of the Buddhist teachings to heart and do their utmost to actualize them in their own lives. This world is vast and wide. Our paths may not cross outside of this digital medium, but I wish you the best in your practice and that you arrive at awakening in this very life.

    Jeffrey
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    There is much more to Buddhism beyond Mahayana and Vajrayana as well. I am a Vajrayana student myself, but there are only a handful of them here. There are Thervadan Buddhists, SGI Buddhists, Pureland Buddhists, Zen Buddhists, and many others. We also have Hindus and Christian-Buddhists here as well. Just be careful not to say things like "well, your views aren't very Mahayanist." No, a lot of people's views won't be, because they aren't on that Buddhist path. And don't assume anyone else knows the path you are on, even if you've said it 20 other times in other threads, we mostly can't keep track, ;)

    I wish you the best in your practice as well. Thank you for the nice wishes sent my way :) Even though most of us here are on a similar path, we often don't agree on the details of how to handle samsara. That's ok. It takes all of us.

  • SwaroopSwaroop India Veteran

    @MX_83 said:

    @Jeffrey said:
    That's actually I feel a great question I have in mind. Why did Buddhism end in India while flourishing in other parts of Asia? I mean didn't it almost completely die out in India? Why? And India has a connection with European descendent cultures as Indo-European. We might have more in common with the where Buddhism originated than where it spread to.

    It ended because the pacifist Buddhists of India were wiped out by Islam. The same thing happened in Gandhara, a Hellenized region that was in the area that is present day Afghanistan. Kandahar, the Taliban's stronghold, is actually Gandhara, the ancient center of what would become Mahayana Buddhism.

    Hold it right there. Buddhism disappeared in India in 13th century c.e. Much before Muslim dominance and much much before the Mogals established their empire.

    lobster
  • America I believe will not be bettered by anything except a closer following of and respect for the Declaration and Constitution. Our most pressing need is for patriots who know much self sacrifice is still needed to become the guiding light we were meant to be.

  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    @karasti said:
    There is much more to Buddhism beyond Mahayana and Vajrayana as well. I am a Vajrayana student myself, but there are only a handful of them here.

    Frankly I just assumed that Mahayana adherents predominated on this board. I still am, of course, learning about the leanings here. I understand that you're not interested in the idea proposed in the OP.

    @Swaroop said:
    Hold it right there. Buddhism disappeared in India in 13th century c.e. Much before Muslim dominance and much much before the Mogals established their empire.

    Can you link a source for that claim? I'd like to know where you're getting your information from and to be as informed as possible.

    David
  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    @grackle said:
    America I believe will not be bettered by anything except a closer following of and respect for the Declaration and Constitution. Our most pressing need is for patriots who know much self sacrifice is still needed to become the guiding light we were meant to be.

    "Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies."
    —John Adams, second president of the United States

    "If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be Without it? Think how many inconsiderate and inexperienced youth of both sexes there are, who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes habitual."
    "Let me add, that only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

    —Benjamin Franklin

    Etcetera etcetera. All of the Founding Fathers of the US believed that religious conviction of some kind was necessary for a free and just society.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @MX_83 said: Frankly I just assumed that Mahayana adherents predominated on this board. I still am, of course, learning about the leanings here. I understand that you're not interested in the idea proposed in the OP.

    Never assume anything. You know what they say about it when you assume.... ;)

    I'm Theravada, by the way.

    @Swaroop said:
    Hold it right there. Buddhism disappeared in India in 13th century c.e. Much before Muslim dominance and much much before the Mogals established their empire.

    Can you link a source for that claim? I'd like to know where you're getting your information from and to be as informed as possible.

    Take a look here....

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @federica said:
    Take a look here....

    It seems that the decline of Buddhism overlapped with the coming of Islam to India, and that Muslim invaders destroyed monasteries and other Buddhist structures. Interesting.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Dem pesky Muslims get everywhere, huh....? :lol:

  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    @federica said:
    Dem pesky Muslims get everywhere, huh....? :lol:

    There are many aspects of Islam that are worthy of respect. I simply don't agree with their theology.

    @Kerome said:
    It seems that the decline of Buddhism overlapped with the coming of Islam to India, and that Muslim invaders destroyed monasteries and other Buddhist structures. Interesting.

    Of course there is scholarly debate about the issue because neither Hindus nor Muslims have ever favored Buddhism and would prefer to believe that Indian Buddhism completely collapsed under its own weight. Nevertheless, Buddhist scholar and social reformer Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was firmly convinced of the "sword of Islam thesis" which holds that Buddhism was dealt its final death blow by Islam during its rise to power in India.

    Regarding the Bamiyan Buddhas:
    "Their cultural significance was greatly valued by countries outside of Afghanistan, most notably, India and Japan among others, who offered to have the Buddhas removed to their own countries in an attempt to save them."
    https://magazine.auctionata.com/2014/10/15/the-buddhas-of-bamiyan/

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @MX_83 It's not really that I'm disinterested. I just don't think it's possible at any point in the near future nor do I think it is even really desirable. If countries that have had deeper roots in Buddhism cannot make it work then I have severe doubts that it can work in a place as varied as the US. Too many people are only interested in making their lives the best while stepping on everyone else to get there. And then claiming it's the fault of those who got stepped on that they got treated badly. I don't have an overall good opinion of our society as of late. I don't think we are near ready to consider a compassion-based society. With the number of people supporting Sanders, I have hope that one day the tide will turn. But I also see a lot of his followers being cruel and rude to his competition and the followers of those people. Until the people who tout compassion and kindness as the only way actually start living it, we still have a very long ways to go.

    Actually, based on the people that are the most active here (I can't know anything about the lurkers) Theravada and Zen are probably the predominant "types". There are also quite a few people who use multiple schools of Buddhism and some who started with a school but have since let go of that and have a more experience-based approach rather than scholarly approach. That's just my observation though.

    Lastly, part of moving along the Buddhist path is learning how to let go of things. Including Buddhism itself. To attempt to move a country in a Buddhist direction seems difficult when the people with the most mastery/understanding let go of their Buddhist labels as they continue on the path. Our society is all about clinging to labels and distraction from reality, I just don't see it changing any time soon.

    how
  • The Founding Fathers were more inspired by the Roman Republic. Thomas Jefferson was a Deist. I could go on. Look at the various symbols that adorn the chambers of congress. The fasces for instance. Religious baloney of any sort will neither make America better or worse.

  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer
    edited April 2016

    @karasti said:
    I just don't think it's possible at any point in the near future nor do I think it is even really desirable.

    I disagree with you on the last point, but I'll concede that you may be right about your first.

    @grackle said:
    The Founding Fathers were more inspired by the Roman Republic. Thomas Jefferson was a Deist. I could go on.

    Go on...

    Religious baloney of any sort will neither make America better or worse.

    They all obviously believed that religion of some sort was important for maintaining the freedom of the people at large in a nation, even if their own interpretations of the significance of religion was unorthodox for their times. I disagree both with the asserion that religious practice cannot improve this or any other nation, and with the idea that religious metaphor is just "bologna."

  • There are plenty of Buddhist countries out there and most of them do not seem to have anything for us, Americans, to be envious about. That is as good an answer I can think of.

    lobsterkarastiFosdick
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited April 2016

    @shadowleaver exactly. Even Bhutan, which is like the Buddhist utopia, struggles with issues.

    @MX_83 I think we can adapt parts of Buddhist philosophy and be better for it, but I think as soon as it's labeled Buddhist, it's going to be rejected by a significant amount of people because it's scary. It seems the better answer is to focus on the main points rather than labeling them. Religion always comes with labels and titles, and as soon as you have labels and titles, you have something to defend and therein lies the problem. It doesn't matter how perfect the religion itself might be. Humans are entirely imperfect and will screw up the best of intentions that a religion might have. Look at the job we've done so far. How many people have died in the name of religion? And yet none of those religions has foundational beliefs all that different from Buddhism. It is the identification with the religion and labeling oneself as an adherent to it that causes all the problems to start with. Buddhism is no different, as other countries already represent.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    Even if you'd like the whole US to be Buddhist, can you alone accomplish that? I think its pretty obvious that it will require lots of people doing tasks both large and small, so what do you see as your role in this vision of yours?

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 2016

    Go green. American Dharma Dream, Sale on ... Pay later ...
    http://s3.amazonaws.com/integral-life-home/Buddha_Bill.jpg

    MX_83
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