Buddhism the Facts of Buddhism Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The "collective harming and killing committed by governments...and harming or killing being of the natural world through soil depletion, clear-cutting, lab testing and poisons," Rothberg writes (274), is a violation of the 1st Precept as practiced by those of Theravadan Buddhist faith.

And so, a person of Theravadan Buddhist beliefs would have a right, within the context of being in discussion in the temple, to criticize the Bush Administration for its role in the invasion of Iraq, the occupation of Iraq, and the ongoing tyranny in Iraq. Certainly, the "collective harming and killing" of innocent citizens in Iraq by U.S. forces - sent there by the executive branch under Bush - is an anathema to the 1st Precept of Buddhism.

One can clearly see why this form of Buddhism would resonate with modern, progressive Westerners; because, in a democratic society where the citizens vote to elect leaders to represent them, if the faith of those citizens seems totally removed from the democratic society, it is not relevant to daily living.

There are socially engaged sects of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Cambodia as well as in the West, Rothberg writes (269). The violence perpetrated by the governments of those two nations - and other nations - have given momentum to peace movements within the Theravadan Buddhist community. Theravadan Buddhists have "formed resistance and reconciliation movements in the midst of war and/or oppression in Vietnam, Tibet, Burma, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh," he writes.

In Sri Lanka, the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement - which is, Rothberg explains, "a massive network of village-based community development activists" - has for "nearly forty years linked personal and social liberation." And in Thailand, monks associated with Theravadan Buddhism have "emphasized grassroots activism, community development, and alternative economic forms... [along with] local movements against ecological devastation." Some monks have even ordained trees in order to protect them from logging.

And in the West, socially engaged Buddhists practicing Theravada faith have become involved in "human rights issues... [and have] safeguarded the lives of human rights activists in Central America." Also, socially engaged Theravadan Buddhists in the West have "brought a Buddhist presence to the movement seeking the control and eventual abolition of nuclear weapons, regularly joining protests at the Nevada Test Site" (Rothberg 269). Other movements that Western Theravadan Buddhists have become involved in, as socially engaged Buddhists, include antiwar, antiviolence, and environmental movements, including "the responsible care of radioactive waste."

This is not to say that Zen and Mahayana Buddhist groups do not engage in social change movements; indeed, Rothberg writes on 270 that the Zen Center of San Francisco has been active in hospice activities, and in providing training for AIDS workers and has hired homeless persons who could not find employment elsewhere. but, Zen - identified with the Japanese approach to Buddhism - for example for many years has been associated with "military aggression and nationalism," Rothberg writes on page 272. And Zen is largely thought of as an orthodoxy in which meditation is the at the center of the practice.

Zen meditation provides the path and the momentum for personal peace and awareness, and has become popular in that regard for the Westerner who is stressed by the heavy pressure of work, family, finances and one's station in life.

Works Cited

Coleman, James William. The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient

Tradition. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Rothberg, Donald. "Responding to the Cries of the World: Socially Engaged Buddhism in North

America." The Faces of Buddhism in America. Eds. Charles S. Prebish and Kenneth K.

Tanaka. Berkeley: University of…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Coleman, James William. The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient

Tradition. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Rothberg, Donald. "Responding to the Cries of the World: Socially Engaged Buddhism in North

America." The Faces of Buddhism in America. Eds. Charles S. Prebish and Kenneth K.

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