Buddhism Beyond Boundaries
Scope of Unity, Harmony and Development:
While talking about Buddhism or Buddhist philosophy today, we often see that Buddha or his teachings have been confined to a sectarian religion followed by certain group of people only. People following religions such as Islam, Christianity and even some sects of Hinduism take Buddhism as a religion other than theirs and hence to be followed by those limited people who regard themselves as Buddhist in terms of their religion. Because of this, many people do not want to link themselves with Buddha or Buddhist philosophy of life and keep themselves away from discussions about Buddhism. For disillusioning this misconception from many people's mind, we should make people understand what actually Buddha is and what Buddhism is.
What is Buddha?
The question here is 'what' rather than 'who' the Buddha is. Buddha actually is not a single human being, not only Siddhartha Gautama. 'Buddha' is a state of mind, any one that has made oneself enlightened, one who has set oneself in the state of perfect equanimity and isn't touched by word 'sorrow'. Buddha denotes the one free from worldly illusion of pleasure and pain. Siddhartha Gautama was one of the Buddha who achieved enlightenment and discovered the path to get the state of nirvana (supreme goal/happiness). With his perseverance, meditation and consistent practice of equanimity, he obtained the state free from illusion. He not only got salvation of his soul but also taught the world the noble path to obtain salvation. His philosophy is truly humanitarian that has universal implications regardless of sect, class, caste, race or religious differences Gautama, the Buddha is remembered most among the others because he identified simple methods to make people understand the truth of life and to tread on the noble paths to get salvation of soul. His philosophy teaches oneness, unity, harmony and universal peace.
As we know, Buddhism is often linked with Peace. The word 'Buddha' has developed as a synonym for peace. Buddhism's main emphasis is universal peace and harmony among living beings in the world since Buddhism believes in 'One' or 'Unity'. Buddhism's eight-fold path towards enlightenment focuses on controlled speech, controlled behavior, and abstinence from killing, lies, harsh words, intoxicants, sexual misconducts, stealing and the like. All these factors are causes of sorrow in this world, both for the person adopting wrong behavior and the society in which one lives. Buddha's teachings help us to get rid of these sorrows from within ourselves to get eternal happiness. Buddha's philosophy doesn't only preach to have a moral and humanitarian conducts but also teaches how to follow the noble paths in practice. We can discuss the relevance of Buddhism in today's world in terms of following factors:
i) The problem of the world today:
The great threat of the world today is that of violence and terrorism that has preoccupied every human mind in the form of threat—fear psychosis. Disorder, anarchy, and chaos have become the characteristic of the postmodern world. People's mind/heart has become so dry that spirituality has become a word for dictionary only. People and countries are busy waging war against each other for the sake of power to rule and have hegemony over others, a power that is so worldly and short term. We are running after material comfort so madly that Truth and Enlightenment seem so vague and peculiar subjects. People are using the word 'humanity' but practice of humanity is lacking. Many people know the definition of humanity but they haven't experienced humanitarian feelings themselves. 'Humanity' has become only vocabulary, not practice. People easily lose temper; easily get tempted for material greed, and easily make enemies. People lack equanimity or what we call non-attachment and as a result people are suffering.
In such a complex era, people's mind needs to be diverted from petty materialism to vast spiritualism. We followers of Buddha's philosophy should strive to get unity among human beings to have a harmonious world. Buddha may be easy subject to understand for many, but to implement it in life one needs to have faith, dedication and determination. We being devoted Buddhists can help people to tread on this path along with us in a unitary mission to spread happiness throughout the world, a mission that is pure and selfless in itself. "Be happy and make others happy"- this principle of Buddhism helps to create universal love and harmony but we have to stimulate trust for Buddhism in human psyche.
ii) Buddhism's mission:
Buddhism believes in harmonious life among all living beings regardless of different species of animals, plants or birds. Non-violence, co-existence, universal peace, harmony and fearless world for all beings of aquatic, terrestrial or aerial ecosystem are some of the principles of Buddhism that we all are familiar with. But are we, as Buddhist followers, being able to maintain any of these principles in present postmodern fragmented world? People's psyche is fragmented, people's ideologies are divided. People's thoughts, ambitions, desires are fragmented. Selfishness as an evil has preoccupied our psyche. We are unable to cope with such problems because we still lack unity among us, a strong bond, and a strong dedication to maintain harmony. We, as the members of various Buddhist organizations are working from our respective positions but we are not able to get required result because even we Buddhist organizations are fragmented. Our unitary vision is lacking and even though our mission is same, our paths have become different. The differences among us, feeling of hierarchy are weaknesses of ours, obstacles in our mission.
Now we shouldn't delay to realize our weaknesses and forget our differences to get united to get success in our mission of maintaining universal harmony for the development of human beings in positive way. Since Buddhism is a way of life, we shouldn't let it be confined in certain boundary of religious ideologies. It is open to all. It is human beings' philosophy and we have to make it circulate among each human individual through discussions about it, information about it via various sources and media. We can develop Buddhism as a string to weave all the beings in a single wreath. Unity among human beings is possible only through realization of self. Realization is possible through equanimity and non-attachment. A harmonious society is the foundation of peace and happiness which is also the basic requirement for the development of society. If all of us get united to fight against violence of all sorts, then we can solve the present problem of the world together.
What can be the further mission of WBSY?
Realizing the need of unity and harmony among different schools of Buddhism and realizing the role of young Buddhist disciples in spreading the Buddhist mission of unity, peace and harmony, World Buddhist Sangha Youth (WBSY) was established and inaugurated in Kathmandu , Nepal on 8 Feb, 2004. Ven. Mugunuwela Anuruddha Thero's great vision and contribution for establishing WBSY can't be expressed in words because it was from visioning, inaugurating this organization at Lord Buddha's birthplace in Nepal when a few monks belonging to three main schools of thoughts of Buddhism (Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana) from 8 countries had participated to present state when WBSY has spread among 3,000 members from 42 countries, Most Ven. Mugunuwela Anuruddha Thero's dedication, blessings and constant involvement was always with us.
With the aim of bringing young monks and nuns of the different Buddhist schools of thoughts, providing them opportunity to come together, exchange ideas and thoughts, share their experiences and together find and formulate plans to carry out the duty of dhammaduta and to spread the noble Truth, WBSY has successfully conducted four General Conferences. The theme 'We Are One' really helped many of us to be 'One' in the mission of Buddhism. WBSY is expanding its mission with due guidance and blessings from President of WBSY Most Ven. Bhagawan Zhi-Ji Vimalakirti and Secretary General and Founder of WBSY Most Ven. Mugunuwela Anuruddha Thero. The 5th General Conference is focusing on the theme of 'Unity, Harmony and Development' under the title 'Buddhism Beyond Boundaries' which is very apt to the present situation of the world where people and countries are involved in enmity and war for baseless issues like religious orthodoxy, for getting material power and for the purpose of revenge all of which are only the causes of sorrow. We young disciples of Buddhism who are assigned as dhammaduta can go among these people, especially among youths to help them come out of the illusion of materialism which has imprisoned them in such a dark cave that they can't see the reality or understand it when someone tell them about the TRUTH. The mission is full of challenges since making people take wrong path is much easier than to make them follow right path. But we have to be One to carry out this noble task of cultivating nature of unity, harmony, humanity, peace and equanimity among people regardless of their religion, country or status. For this mission, all of us belonging to Theravada, Mahayana or Vajrayana, have to involve ourselves in the path that we generate from the great conferences like that of WBSY.
動員不同佛教思想流派的青年僧尼，提供他們聚合的機會、交換意見和思想、分享經驗、共同尋找和制定計劃以實行傳播教法的任務以及弘揚聖諦作為目標，世界佛教青年僧伽會成功地舉行了四次大會。〝We are one〞的主題真的幫助了我們很多人在完成佛教的使命中成為一體。在會長最尊貴的薄伽梵智及維摩詰和秘書長及創始人最尊貴的阿努如來達摩的適時指導和加持下，世界佛教青年僧伽會正在拓展其使命。第五屆大會在〝佛教超越界限〞的題目下，著重於〝團結、和諧與發展〞的主題，這對於現時的世界狀況是非常切題的，人們和國家也為著正統宗教、獲得物質權力和報仇等無根據的問題，而投入了不和與戰爭，這些所有只是痛苦的起因。我們被指定為弘法者的青年佛教弟子，可以走進這些人們中間，特別是走進年青人中間，以令他們從實利主義的虛幻中解脫出來，這實利主義把他們囚禁在一個黑暗的洞穴裏，以致當有人告訴他們什麼是真理時，他們不能看到真實或理解它。這使命是充滿挑戰的，因為讓人們走錯路比讓他們遵循正道更容易。但我們必須團結為一，以執行這個在不論宗教、國家或地位的人之間，培養團結、和諧、人道、和平與平靜的性質的神聖任務。為了這使命，我們屬於上座部、大乘或金剛乘的所有人，都需要把自身投入到像世界佛教青年僧伽會一樣巨大會議所產生出的道途。
Buddhist organizations of the world can join hands together to spread the importance of peace and harmony throughout the world to rescue humanity from the hand of evils such as violence, terrorism, depression, anarchy, disorder and others. We have to formulate a common mission, common vision and common plan to develop humanity for human development. Buddhist teachings, discussions on its topic, benefits of its implement should reach to common people through Buddhist organizations in easier language and methods so that all will understand it and follow the noble paths. With the help of light of Buddha's philosophy, we can develop humanity and human beings life.
Finally, I would like to wish all the best to all participates of 5th General Conference of WBSY and I wish from the core of my heart for the grand success of the conference in Hobart , Australia under the blessed care of Most Ven. Bhagawan Zhi-Ji Vimalakirti whose dhammawork is spreading not only in Australia but throughout the world. Being a Bhikkhu from the birthplace of Buddha , Nepal , I am very proud to participate in this program and share my views here. We Nepalese people are also regarded as close relatives of Buddha and we share affection with any pious works conducted under Buddhism. It is a great pride for us to see and closely observe flourishing of WBSY among the various countries for a dhamma work like helping people obtain peace and harmony both in physical as well as spiritual world. Once again I wish for the success of this program and prosperity of all the participants.
Yours in the Dhamma
Bhikkhu Tapassi Dhamma Shrestha
Tapassi Dhamma Shrestha比丘
President, WBSY Nepal Chapter
Chief Abbot, Ashoka Charumati Vihara
Ashoka Charumati Vihara主方丈