I tend to make a practice of developing summaries of what I believe and practice. I present this draft here - open to constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement - as a Socratic form of clarifying and developing new understandings...
I am a philosophical naturalist and skeptic with a corresponding interpretation of Buddhadharma. I practice Buddhism in the inclusive and egalitarian humanistic “Ekayana” spirit of the Lotus Sutra.
The Lotus Sutra uses parables and metaphors to positively express the “Truth of Impermanence” found in the Buddhist teachings. Instead of a reductionist view, it is presented as an interdependent “Oneness” - our Buddha-nature – empty of “separate” self. The Lotus Sutra teaches the importance of acknowledging our own Buddha-nature and the Buddha-nature in others. It is awareness and gratitude for this interdependence which enables us to enjoy absolute happiness and to act with boundless compassion. The Lotus Sutra is therefore a teaching which profoundly affirms the realities of daily life, and which naturally encourages an active engagement with others and with the whole of human society. The Lotus Sutra most clearly shows Buddhism as a powerful, life-affirming, egalitarian and humanistic teaching.
"Buddhist humanism” is a philosophical perspective that reflects the core spirit of the Lotus Sutra, one founded on faith in the inherent dignity of human beings and profound confidence in people's capacity for positive transformation.
From the perspective of Buddhist humanism it is human beings themselves, rather than a higher power, who possess the ultimate wisdom about their condition. This view regards the individual as the pivotal force of change within the interdependent network of phenomena that comprises life. A fundamental change in the life of an individual, in other words, will affect the entire web of life.
One of the distinguishing features of Buddhist humanism is this consciousness of and respect for the interdependence and interrelatedness of all life. While Buddhist humanism focuses on the human being, it does not polarize human beings and the environment or other forms of life. Rather it seeks to create human happiness through a harmonization of these interdependent relationships.
The benefits of the wisdom contained in the Lotus Sutra can be realized by even just chanting its title Nam(u)- Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting these words and excerpts from the Lotus Sutra is an expression of gratitude, a purification for the mind, mouth, and body, a gift of service to all beings, and a way to connect with this Truth which allows each individual to tap into the wisdom of their life to reveal their Buddha-nature.