Is Buddhism consistent with the American Values?
Buddhism is a religion that dates back between the 6th and the century where it was mostly a belief among the people of the subcontinent of India. The teaching of the Buddhism religion was widely based on their teacher who was referred to as Buddha. Buddha means the awakened one who provided members of the community with teachings that were meant to enlighten them and end the ignorance while giving them knowledge on how to live their lives in a positive way. There existed sub-branches in the Buddhism religion that were composed of the school of elders (Theravada) and the great vehicle (Mahayana). These sub-branches were evenly distributed within the Asian continent. Despite the existence of the Buddhism believers within the early century within the Asian communities, Buddhism is now evenly distributed within the world at a reasonable proportion. The spread has been attributed to the significance the religion has had within different communities of the world. Buddhism has been recognized to be on one the religions that are being incorporated into different communities of the world. This is because of the influence it has had in the Asian communities. Having reviewed what the Buddhism religion is based on, this paper will evaluate the influence Buddhism has had in America and whether it is consistent with the American values. This is in relation to the way of living the Americans are used to and what they conducted themselves before the spread of Buddhism into their country.
Since the incorporation of the Buddhism religion into the American country, it has been clear that it has had a significance influence in their livelihood. This is in accordance to how they view the world, and it has been incorporated into their daily activities. This is because Buddhism has widely been incorporated into deferent ideas such as the publication of articles and magazines where Buddhism is highlighted and expressed to be a good religion (Cheah 78). The Buddhism concepts and belief have also been used in different books where the Buddhism ideas are used to determine and give the competence of different ideas that had been used in earlier books. The Buddhism beliefs have also had an influence in social movements such as the women movements. Buddhism has also been taken up as one of the courses that are offered in American universities where many American students have taken up study of this belief in order to have an understanding of this newly adapted belief. A lot of established Universities are offering classes on Buddhism, this show the dominance the Buddhism religion has gained in America.
The Buddhism religion has had great influence in the American community due to the values that they share. This is in relation to ethics that are widely valued within the American community (Chen 124). The Buddhism religion emphasizes on simplicity; this is among one of the American values. This is viewed as a great social and ethical value that is similar to the Buddhist belief, this attributes to the consistency Buddhism has had on the American beliefs and values. The Buddhism religious belief also emphasizes on the need to be natural which is consistent with American values. This is witnessed in the American way of conduct and emphasis made on the need to be real in order to peacefully co-exist within the society (Miller 176). The Buddhism religion has also stated the need of peace and harmony which is consistent with the American beliefs. This is seen in the way the American people and government emphasize on the need for peacefully co-existence with other members of the society and the world. This has also been elaborated in the efforts America has had in pulling resources together to try and help and help countries that are in war.
Buddhism way of livelihood in relation to healthy food is similar to the American Beliefs; this is seen in the way the American people and government have insisted on the need for consumption of healthy products. This is consistent to the Buddhism teaching why they are taught not to take in food substances that may be harmful to their bodies. There is a need for purity and well-being in the Buddhism religion that is consistent with the American values. The Buddhism religion also call of sophistication minimalism, this consistent with the American belief as it is clear that the American community has a need for simplicity. The Buddhism religion can provide and go accordance to this values which make it a popular belief within the American community (Normand & Alison 48)
The Buddhism religion has also been incorporated into the American community since it does not practice discrimination. This is in relation to the diversity that is witnessed in the kind of people who have taken up Buddhism religious belief. The Buddhism religion takes in person of different classes within a society without discriminating against their background (UrbanDharma.org). This is in accordance to the American belief and value where all members of the community should be equally treated regardless of their financial background. It is made clear in the Buddhism religion that all people cannot be equal, but there is a need to ensure that all people are equal within the society, and there is a need to treat the equally. This is among the factors that have made Buddhism consistent with the American beliefs due to the similarities that are there between the two cultures.
The Buddhism views in relation to moral values adhere to the American societal belief on morality. Morality is viewed to be of great significance within the American community. This is witnessed in the way the Americans conduct themselves and the way people who go against the set code of morals standards are condemned. The Buddhism set of moral standards has had great influence on American community following its adaptation due to the compatibility of the moral standards. It is through the good morals exhibited in the Buddhism religion that the American community has been able to continue to practice good morals. This has seen to the growth of the Buddhism religion in the American community due to the consistent of the expected societal and individual morals.
The need for diversity has also been considered in Buddhism. This is in relation to the different cultures that are available within the American community that are not conversant in the English language. In order to create understanding for everyone who may be willing to be a Buddhist, the places of worship and meditation of different sessions where members of different language community groups can be preached to in a language that they are conversant to. These stated factors that have contributed to the spread of Buddhism in American communities. It is widely known that diversity is an American value that should be considered to facilitate the success of any religion to be considered. The need for diversity is nationally recognized in America.
The Buddhism religion has been able to adapt to different changes that are taking place within the American community while still maintaining its values. Due to the availability of a growing population that is composed of different personalities and individuals from different parts of the world, the Buddhism religion has been able to adapt accordingly. This is because, the Buddhism places of worship has been able to set up settings where they try and provide educational programs to try and explain teaching on Buddhism to all members and giving a clear understanding (Siderits 85). This helps in allowing all people to participate evenly and seeking clarification in areas they may not have understood earlier. It is due to this underlying factor that gives room for the need to understand that the Buddhism has had great influence on the American community. This is because creating understanding to different members of the community is consistent to American values which the religion has addressed.
The Buddhism view on social engagement has also contributed to the factors as to why the religion has been consistent in the American community. The Buddhist calls for the end of violence have been efforts to ensuring that the community is not deprive of their rights. The call for equal rights is consistent to American values where there are emphasize in ensuring the community is not violated (Numrich133). This is a significant factor taken into consideration by the Buddhists that has contributed to the growth and persistence of the religion.
Despite the consistency Buddhism has had in the American community; there are challenges that have been encountered in relation to this belief. This is because the people who have viewed Buddhism as a bogus language that is not consistent with their values. This is due to the comments that have been made in relation to the mediation process. Come people have termed the mediation process to be deceiving since there are no accurate results achieved from the mediation process. Critics state that if different persons were to meditate of about the same thing, they would all reach different conclusions which evidently state how irrelevant the mediation process is. Under the Buddhism religion, it is expected that the mediation process creates room for a person to gain a clear understanding of the things they are meditating about (Kozak 38). Critics go against this by stating the differences that are there and the unreliability of the meditation process under the Buddhism beliefs. This goes against certain individuals values whereby they may exclude Buddhism as a form of religion to them.
The Buddhist comments on meditation regarding the benefits that one acquires from mediation go contrary to scientific studies. The Buddhists state that, mediation kills stress and is able to cut down on depression. Scientific studies are not in complete support of these theories due to discoveries established in relation to meditation. Meditation has been stated to be a practice that makes individuals more sensitive to matters that may be disturbing them. It has also been made clear through brain scans that meditation may have no effect on the brain. This is in support of the critics which have made Buddhism unpopular among certain individuals within the American community who think it goes against their personal values.
Critics go further to question the teachings that take place under the Buddhism religion. It is stated that despite the teachings that state Buddhism as a religion will make you humble and selfless, there continue to be individuals who practice Buddhism and do not exhibit these characters. This leads to critics on how genuine the teaching of this religion are for the believers go contrary to what is emphasized. This is a factor that goes against certain individuals values who may fail to take up Buddhism since they believe that individuals should practice what is emphasized under a particular religion. Given these circumstances, the Buddhism religion is not able to spread to all individuals since it is not appealing to all individuals in the American community since it goes against their personal values.
The beliefs on total enlightenment have faced a lot of critics since some individuals may view this as a misguiding religious teaching. Under this total enlightenment belief under the Buddhism teaching, it made clear that individuals who can acquire this spiritual gift are always right and can never go against certain values. These teachings by the Buddhism religion are under great critics which have deprived the movement of lot members. It is due to this that some individuals believe that this belief may create room for wrongful doing. This is because people who are believed to be totally enlightened may go against certain code of ethics and conduct which may lead to the misuse of authority since they cannot be questioned since they are believed to be totally enlightened. It is known that no one is perfect, and it is inappropriate to say that certain individuals are totally enlightened. This goes against particular individuals’ values who believe that no one can be totally enlightened and that anyone can do wrong whether or not he or she are religious.
It has been evident through this paper that Buddhism has consistency in American values despite the few challenges that it has encountered in the American community. It has been made clear that the Buddhism code of ethics is similar to the American code of ethics where there is an emphasis on morality. It is clear that morality is essential for the well-being of any religion. Having reviewed the consistency Buddhism has had on morality; Americans have been able to adapt the religion since it is in accordance to their values. The Buddhist emphasis on peace and harmony has also contributed to the growth and consistency it has had in the American community. This has been put through by the efforts the Americans have had in emphasizing on the need for peace among all nations of the world. Buddhism as a religion emphasizes on this, this is why many Americans have taken up Buddhism since it in accordance to their values. The way diversity is taken into consideration has also contributed to the consistency Buddhism has had in the American community. In essence, the Buddhism religious believes is in accordance to the American values. Despite the critics that are being encountered in reference to the value the Buddhist exhibit, the religion continue to be part of a growing religion in the United States.
Cheah, Joseph. Race and Religion in American Buddhism: White Supremacy and Immigrant Adaptation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.
Chen, Carolyn. Getting Saved in America: Taiwanese Immigration and Religious Experience. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008. Print.
Kozak, Arnold. The Everything Buddhism Book: A Complete Introduction to the History, Traditions, and Beliefs of Buddhism, Past and Present. Avon, Mass: Adams Media, 2011. Print.
Miller, Timothy S. The Hippies and American Values. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2012. Internet resource.
Normand, Lawrence, and Alison Winch. Encountering Buddhism in Twentieth-Century British and American Literature. 2013. Print.
Numrich, Paul D. North American Buddhists in Social Context. Leiden: Brill, 2008. Print.
Siderits, Mark. Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction. Aldershot [u.a.: Farnham [u.a., 2009. Print.
UrbanDharma.org. “The Direction of Buddhism Today.” (2014). Web. 7. Nov. 2011, http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma5/tension2.html