Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

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Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 30, 2013 2:56 pm

Earlier I was speaking with some Theravada monks about how they've observed people converting to Christianity as a result of missionaries building facilities useful to the poor and needy.

His suggestion was to combat this by being socially engaged and building similar facilities, which in his mind will "convert people to Buddhism" or at least retain people within the religion.

I hear in Sri Lanka and elsewhere some Buddhist sanghas justify their existence through basically running social welfare programs.

However, this isn't really an idea inherent in Theravada and arguably even in Mahāyāna such social work is really just meritorious palliative care.

Still, you hear how in Korea the monks sit in their mountain monasteries while Christians successfully convert the masses.

So, is social work and being socially engaged in the community really the way to go? Are people really going to Christianity because they offer nice clinics and other such facilities, or is it something else?
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby Astus » Thu May 30, 2013 3:36 pm

"the concept of a religious master has existed in Western religions for many years. That is why Western religions have been able to spread all over the world. For example, among aborigine tribes in the mountainous regions of Taiwan, I have seen many Catholic nuns and priests as well as other Christian missionaries and ministers, who have gone deep into the aborigine regions to learn the native languages, live native lifestyles, and help the natives to live more comfortably and safely. Because of them most of the aborigines have become Christians. The dedication of these missionaries is worthy of our admiration. They are not reluctant to leave behind the free and comfortable life of Western society. Across the oceans, living a hard life in Taiwan’s remote land and poor villages, they think nothing of enduring hardship. It is as if one were exiled to a barren region. Most of us probably would not want to go there.

...

A true Buddhist master must have the spirit of offering oneself and all one has in order to practice, uphold, and propagate Buddhadharma. A Buddhist master should have this kind of mindset and the will to be compassionate. If one becomes a monastic only to have a peaceful life or escape from reality, this attitude will certainly produce a selfish, vexed “ghost” and it would be impossible to attain liberation. In addition, without the proper mindset to begin with, vexation would get more serious and more frequent with time.

A correct starting mindset is what I have just said: “Practice, Uphold, and Propagate Buddhadharma.” These attitudes are sequential and interrelated: when our practice begins to gain some footing, we need to protect and uphold the Buddhadharma – to spend our time and energy on all events related to spreading Dharma. As we protect and uphold Buddhadharma, we effectively propagate it, and in turn, we learn more about it. Spreading Buddhadharma can be carried out all the time and under all circumstances. One does not have to wait until one is as old as I am to feel comfortable doing it, and it does not have to be done all by talking. We can do it by our action, our mannerisms, and our viewpoint. In any case, there are many ways to spread Buddhadharma. Do not let a closed mind shrivel away or stifle your potential for growth."


(Buddhist Master’s Mindset and Compassionate Will in "The Spirit of Monastic Life")
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Mind is this mind carefree;
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby Seishin » Thu May 30, 2013 3:36 pm

It's a difficult question. I think there are many reasons why people are converting to Christianity and economical reasons are one of the main ones. I know in Korea, for example, people join the church with the promise of fortune :quoteunquote: . In Cambodia, christian missionaries came under fire by offering people free education so long as they be baptised. Numbers mean nothing if the heart isn't in it. Also, no disrespect to my christian friends and family, but they have a monopoly on fear and guilt which isn't so prevalent in Buddhism.

You'll also find many churches are run by very charismatic leaders, something that's frowned upon in Buddhism, though it happens occasionally (Seung su nim for example)

I think being readily available, accessible and helpful in the community (ie community work) is one way of gaining followers and getting Buddhism "out there", but I think it's also important to have that retreat place and period for meditation and contemplation. Things need to change in Buddhism for sure, social work is a start.

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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby JKhedrup » Thu May 30, 2013 3:59 pm

It might be something else.

For example, I know for sure that both Mongolians and Cambodians are paid, sometimes in food and sometimes in cash, by various Christian organizations such as the Mormons and Pentecostal movement, to attend church services.
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby Astus » Thu May 30, 2013 4:02 pm

Christians, Muslims and smaller groups like the Krishna followers all do charity works by helping the poor. And that is very good. If Buddhists want to follow that, by all means, there's never enough soup kitchen and shelter. On the other hand, Buddhism should also offer mental help. Now, religions are of course in the business of "saving the soul", and Christianity is founded upon converting the lower classes to Jesus. Buddhism is different in that, it's sramana style is not attractive for poor people who have more mundane worries, and when you are lost in debts and you have to feed your kids, just leaving it all behind to become a monk doesn't sound very ethical, so they are left where they are. Buddhism can offer similar afterlife heavens as any other religions, except that it won't last for ever and there is no saviour to ask help from. What Buddhism specialises in is mental training, and that's what makes it popular among richer citizens who want not only a nice home but also a cosy mind. So, it's more like a hobby, a therapy. Still, it is something that the other religions are not really known of, unlike social work.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby plwk » Thu May 30, 2013 4:03 pm

Just the other month, I was in a Theravada temple at the invite of a friend to a talk by a local Chinese monk where he raised a similar theme on it and even joked that amongst the apathetic conservatives, if Buddhists don't get into strategic social engagement and maintain some kind of political hold in society, don't be surprised if one day one awakes from samadhi only to find a cross or a minaret in the vihara or that in most places, Buddhists are at the mercy and subject to the whims of others...or mass crossovers for 'better options'.
I can't help but to wonder if this kind of talk is so familiar to that of the Burmese U Wirathu & his 969 movement...

One simple example....Remember the story of the Elder Master Ven Zhèng Yán where in her life story, she encountered the Roman Catholic nuns who asked her on the apathy of Buddhists when it comes to social engagement and welfare which her response to that was today's global organisation Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation? I know many quarters have accused them of ending up as a Red Cross branch but so far as I have known and supported them all these long years, they have always been true to the Buddha Dharma and the Elder Master herself has tirelessly produced countless Dharma teachings & publications and they even turned the traditional Chinese Mahayana sadhana of 'The Great Compassion Samadhi Water Repentance' into a major stage play and re-educated society on the true meaning of the Ullambana & Qing Ming celebrations. Look at Dharma Drum Mountain? They innovated the biggest ritual celebration in the Chinese Mahayana, 'The Water, Land & Air Rite' where they stopped any kind of paper paraphernalia burning and stuff like the traditional burning candles replaced by renewable battery operated ones and stopped the usual mass burning of incense in accord with their environmental pledges and policies? I recall when I was at their mother monastery, even the taps are sensor operated and only sprinkles of water would shoot out, just enough to use as water conservation efforts. So many more examples of others...

So, is social work and being socially engaged in the community really the way to go?
The results show don't they? When I was at places like Bodhgaya, Nalanda & etc, I really felt for the local people who despite the tourist boom, many unfortunate factors still keep them locked in poverty and ignorance. Just near the Sujata's village & near the Neranjana river for instance in Bodhgaya, I can still see images of families without basic amenities as evening looms in the horizon. Yet I do know that some Buddhist organisation there are also helping them like the Japanese temple mission there who are conducting free education for them as I was told.
Are people really going to Christianity because they offer nice clinics and other such facilities, or is it something else?
From my own private survey, perhaps we need to understand what motivates those in rural & urban areas, in the former I would think so although I may conclude that as long as the dough keeps coming, that's as long as Christian they will stay. The urban ones would be more discerning I guess but ya never know with humans, as unpredictable as the weather...

Well, I guess being socially engaged is part of the cultivation, no? What isn't Ch'an? :mrgreen:
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby mandala » Thu May 30, 2013 4:30 pm

Hmm, being socially proactive is something the Buddhist world is a little behind in.
Although I do know of plenty of dharma centres becoming more socially engaged with soup kitchens, outreach programs, palliative care programs, pastoral services, prison dharma - Christian organisations certainly are more entrenched and main stream (and well funded).

But the idea of using social services as method for conversion to Buddhism is an idea I find completely repugnant.
It's wonderful to offer community facilities to the less fortunate and 'walking the talk' of one's Mahayana practice into actually being of service to others is a great thing... but to do that in order to get more people to become Buddhist - why on earth?

Many years ago the Dalai Lama was involved in this topic:
"Whether Hindu or Muslim or Christian, whoever tries to convert, it's wrong, not good," the Dalai Lama said after a meeting with the leaders. "I always believe it's safer and better and reasonable to keep one's own tradition or belief." ..... The Dalai Lama and others signed a statement saying: "We oppose conversions by any religious tradition using various methods of enticement."


And I think that's the thing - enticement.
Why not just serve others with the motivation of compassion, to help? Perhaps some will be heartened by the kindness and take an interest in Buddhism. If not, what's the problem?
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu May 30, 2013 5:09 pm

I definitely wouldn't mind seeing more organized Buddhist social work...

However, organized social work is far from the only way to add clean water to a dirty pool, i've seen "missionaries"..i.e. Christians who did this kind of work that in their personal lives were quite dysfunctional, with destructive family lives and behaviors, and for whom missionary work seemed to serve mainly as a vacation. There is a whole dimension of everyday life, right livelihood, and other things that determine how much relative "good" someone is doing in the world that aren't as easily measurable as organized work.

I'd like to see some sort of organized effort at mental health stuff, not sure what form it would take but I think that Buddhism has special insights for things like addiction that puts it in a unique position for helping people in those states...perhaps in a more 'permanent' manner than what typical counseling often has to offer. Right now this seems mostly confined to a certain income bracket that can afford "mindfulness therapy" and such, but I know it's been used by some in places like prisons and addiction centers...I think things like Prison Dharma are a really big deal in terms of "social work".

Helping someone turn away from despair is, IMO one of the best things that can be done to improve society. It shouldn't be done with the expectation of conversion, but rather the fact that we believe in the transforming properties of Dharma, someone doesn't necessarily need to call themselves a Buddhist, or go join a sangha to benefit from these things, and I figure that some of the most vulnerable people aren't interested in "religion" (nor are likely to be helped by it) anyway, but a stabilizing force to help them transform their mind and see with some clarity might be just the thing. I have no idea how to implement such a thing of course, lol.
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Thu May 30, 2013 5:47 pm

This is a wonderful topic!

The Scope of what I have to say has nothing to do with evangelical, economic, or political concerns of whether or not Buddhists should be more engaged in charitable works. Indeed things are changing but "competition" from other faiths is nothing new. Look at Afghanistan and Pakistan once the epicenter of Dharma! It's been wiped out there for almost 1500 years! I'm certain the Dharma will persist at least a good long while...and it's more important that a few of us genuinely take up the path than that we compare with the burgeoning numbers of the Roman Catholic Church.

I'm more concerned with the aspects of Buddhist institutions that might better mould and mature Bodhisattvas on the path. How do we, as Buddhists, justify the vow we make to become more compassionate while simultaneously closing ourselves off from the real-world suffering of others; how do we as Buddhists deal with the vow we make to accumulate wisdom while simultaneously engaging in worldly affairs and service as if they are truly existing, ego-validating experiences?


With these questions in a lot of our minds, I think there is a lot of value in learning how Western Monasticism formed itself around similar issues. Something I've always adored about Western monasticism, as far as I understand it, is the dual approach/two options for those who live a renunciant life:

Vita Contemplativa : (cloistered monks, like the Peres Trappistes)

Vita Activa (Friars. Like the Franciscans.)

I think its clear that the purely contemplative life of retreatants and monks however incredibly sacred, is not an institution that can persist as a prescriptive lifestyle for all Buddhist communities (especially in the West) the way it was in Feudal and Imperial societies of east and central Asia.

Those who, through hermitage and practice, can do more benefit than in any other avenue are not included in my thinking; but I wonder how much Benefit comes from cloistering out of a cultural default (like monks who are funneled into monasteries at the age of 6 who never really cared to become monks anyway, perhaps). When HH the Dalai Lama says things like only 1 in 10 monks are really suitable candidates to be monks in the first place (sorry this statement is unverifiable I can't find the quote anywhere)

Perhaps the Vita Activa should be more associated with lay Buddhists, especially in the West. Many of us already work in helping professions, therapy, medicine, etc. To provide materially for the monastic Sangha is historically the entire source of merit the Lay community has; however, today the world is much changed. The Lay community is not, in the west anyway, based around subsistence farmers and merchants. We generally live in nations where a service economy is rife with niches and vocations that serve those who suffer incredible pain and doubt. We could all probably find ways of staying out of tainted forms of livelihood like being a loan shark or selling sweatshop made clothing or factory farmed meat. So I'd like to see more teachers adapting the role of the lay community and the idea of right livelihood to the postmodern world. Some people have family business or made their career choices long before getting on the path--I'm not saying liquor store owners or butchers or business people who convert to Dharma should abandon their only source of income...

But how many of us are already social workers, therapists, doctors, nurses, hospice workers, etc? Why not build a charity hospital instead of gilding all the images of the Buddha in real gold? Why not start a nonprofit that, no proselytizing involved, gives grants to Buddhist nurses and doctors and volunteers who go to serve benighted communities worldwide like Medecins san Frontiers? Why not build more intention and community around engaging in those types of work with correct intention and view?

I'm personally amazed that, if most traditional Dharma practitioners had 1000 bucks and had to decide between paying for a child in rural Cambodia to go to High school for a year vs. paying for copies of sutras to be printed or for images to be made, we'd have a serious conflict of interests. That we'd really see these choices dualistically and think one was more beneficial for beings than the other.

We hear from many teachers that, until you have attained the Bhumis, trying to help others is as hopeless as "passing a lamp from one person to another" (I.E. it leaves you in the dark). I think, however, that means we should practice helping others with no attachment to the outcome, nor the pride of thinking "I have helped." "There is somebody to be helped." "This is what help looks like."

These are just some ideas. All I know is, somebody as relative and simple as me has to do Karma yoga. I'll only begin to grasp the nature of impermanence by teaching, helping, sacrificing, watching people suffer and grow and die before my very eyes. For this reason I hope Western practitioners of Buddhism find ways of marrying engaged, vita activa-type practice with the tranquility and pure view that can only come through Vita Contemplativa type study, contemplation, and practice and founding new forms of institution around that. anjali:
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby kirtu » Thu May 30, 2013 8:24 pm

plwk wrote:...which her response to that was today's global organisation Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation? I know many quarters have accused them of ending up as a Red Cross branch but so far as I have known and supported them all these long years, they have always been true to the Buddha Dharma and the Elder Master herself has tirelessly produced countless Dharma teachings & publications and they even turned the traditional Chinese Mahayana sadhana of 'The Great Compassion Samadhi Water Repentance' into a major stage play and re-educated society on the true meaning of the Ullambana & Qing Ming celebrations.


All true - BUT - the followers, at least in Washington DC, view Tzu Chi as a "Chinese charity" and have said so. A couple of years ago when I was in bad circumstances but still had my condo I tried to get help from Tzu Chi for two homeless men and it basically went no where. I was surprised by Tsu Chi's response, at least in DC (and they are not the only service organization, Buddhist or Christian or other, that I was surprised at).

Kirt

Look at Dharma Drum Mountain? They innovated the biggest ritual celebration in the Chinese Mahayana, 'The Water, Land & Air Rite' where they stopped any kind of paper paraphernalia burning and stuff like the traditional burning candles replaced by renewable battery operated ones and stopped the usual mass burning of incense in accord with their environmental pledges and policies? I recall when I was at their mother monastery, even the taps are sensor operated and only sprinkles of water would shoot out, just enough to use as water conservation efforts. So many more examples of others...

So, is social work and being socially engaged in the community really the way to go?
The results show don't they? When I was at places like Bodhgaya, Nalanda & etc, I really felt for the local people who despite the tourist boom, many unfortunate factors still keep them locked in poverty and ignorance. Just near the Sujata's village & near the Neranjana river for instance in Bodhgaya, I can still see images of families without basic amenities as evening looms in the horizon. Yet I do know that some Buddhist organisation there are also helping them like the Japanese temple mission there who are conducting free education for them as I was told.
Are people really going to Christianity because they offer nice clinics and other such facilities, or is it something else?
From my own private survey, perhaps we need to understand what motivates those in rural & urban areas, in the former I would think so although I may conclude that as long as the dough keeps coming, that's as long as Christian they will stay. The urban ones would be more discerning I guess but ya never know with humans, as unpredictable as the weather...

Well, I guess being socially engaged is part of the cultivation, no? What isn't Ch'an? :mrgreen:[/quote]
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby kirtu » Thu May 30, 2013 8:31 pm

Indrajala wrote:I hear in Sri Lanka and elsewhere some Buddhist sanghas justify their existence through basically running social welfare programs.


Do you mean Sarvodaya?

So, is social work and being socially engaged in the community really the way to go?


Yes, it is. People are suffering immensely and we have to alleviate this suffering at all levels. The material level is the primary level where we can begin to address these problems. This is something that Shakyamuni did in previous lives BTW.

Are people really going to Christianity because they offer nice clinics and other such facilities, or is it something else?


These Christian services are an entry to evangelism. Perhaps some people convert because of them as well.

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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby greentara » Fri May 31, 2013 12:48 am

Christianity evangelizes and does tell them to 'spread the word'. I think it's up to the individual to decide just how much energy to put into it and seeing most people doing this work are overly zealous, the spirit of the teaching evaporates.
Certainly the churches have put huge effort into evangelizing and you can see the results ...large parts of Africa, most of South America and Korea have been converted etc.
Certainly if you can help people you come across, of course do so as this is the right and compassionate thing to do.
Yet I think the Buddhist view is right. What can you really offer people in this hopeless, ego driven state? First change yourself then you can really be of help to others and then the extraordinary discovery that there are no others. This is the truth of a Buddha or a great yogi and of course this is the ultimate state.
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby Jikan » Fri May 31, 2013 1:29 am

greentara wrote:Yet I think the Buddhist view is right. What can you really offer people in this hopeless, ego driven state? First change yourself then you can really be of help to others and then the extraordinary discovery that there are no others. This is the truth of a Buddha or a great yogi and of course this is the ultimate state.


Do you really think that the "ego-driven state" is the primary cause of much of the world's experience of suffering?

When you're hungry, your suffering certainly seems due to lack of food. If you have no access to meaningful health care, then no matter how you initiate your "inner revolution," diarrhea can kill you.

Buddhism is about getting to the causes of suffering immediately and ultimately, and addressing those causes as directly as possible. How did planet earth become a planet of slums, a site of desperate and intractable poverty for the overwhelming majority? How can those causes be meaningfully addressed?

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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby BuddhaSoup » Fri May 31, 2013 1:49 am

Indrajala wrote:So, is social work and being socially engaged in the community really the way to go?


I think it is one way. As others have pointed out well, the Dharma is a medicine for the mind and as society becomes sicker with commercialism, greed, anger and general delusion over what is important, the Dharma will be ever more necessary. Buddhists taking the lead on social action projects is one way to put the Dharma out there...we can lead some to the water and hope that some will drink...I'm tracking Bhikkhu Bodhi's Buddhist Global Relief (for example) as he announces new projects for 2013-2014.

I posted in a different place the other day the idea that in Japan, for example, to the extent that the new generation of temple priests can become trained in hospice care, pastoral counseling, dispute resolution, social work, these men and women may be able to evolve out of the funerary business into something quite needed and profound. With temples being seen today as necessary only for funerals, imagine the temple as a refuge for people with a variety of needs. If the new generation of temple priests can be seen not only as funeral clergy but as chaplains, life coaches, clinical pastoral counselors, end of life caregivers, social workers, community organizers...then, we might see a new cutting edge to the practice in Asia, as well as in the west.
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby Konchog1 » Fri May 31, 2013 1:55 am

This is brought up in Broken Buddha, and I've heard the same stories from the Tibetans and all over the Buddhist world, Christians using charity to win converts.

But, this isn't a Buddhist problem. It isn't that Buddhism doesn't do enough for charity (although it should do more). The problem is Christianity.

Christianity is remarkably similar to Communism. The fanatical urge to convert the whole world by any means necessary whether the world wants it or not. Christianity has been using the same tricks for centuries, this is nothing new. Put the underclasses in your debt, and blame their leaders for all their problems. Only now a days they focus on "spiritual warfare" not actual physical revolution. Still, let's not forget Amakusa Shiro's rebellion. That's the face of Christianity without any masks.
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby plwk » Fri May 31, 2013 2:42 am

...which her response to that was today's global organisation Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation? I know many quarters have accused them of ending up as a Red Cross branch but so far as I have known and supported them all these long years, they have always been true to the Buddha Dharma and the Elder Master herself has tirelessly produced countless Dharma teachings & publications and they even turned the traditional Chinese Mahayana sadhana of 'The Great Compassion Samadhi Water Repentance' into a major stage play and re-educated society on the true meaning of the Ullambana & Qing Ming celebrations.


All true - BUT - the followers, at least in Washington DC, view Tzu Chi as a "Chinese charity" and have said so. A couple of years ago when I was in bad circumstances but still had my condo I tried to get help from Tzu Chi for two homeless men and it basically went no where. I was surprised by Tsu Chi's response, at least in DC (and they are not the only service organization, Buddhist or Christian or other, that I was surprised at).

I agree and am not surprised for I myself have heard of such stuff, like any other organisation, they have their challenges with people who work within their centres and ranks.
As the late Ven Master Xuan Hua opined once that having disciples is 'trouble'. See the vid below? This is a sample of such...
See what that 'Huang Sixian', Tzu Chi Global Volunteer Coordinator, is insinuating at 1:05 -1:14mins onwards
We at Tzu Chi walk the Bodhisattva Path. We can't be like other Buddhists who sit there meditating. We still have a lot of lives to live. We can't stop. We have to keep moving.
I am sure that such an opinion is a personal one rather than what the Elder Master herself would officially say much less agree with...
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby justsit » Fri May 31, 2013 3:41 am

Just my opinion, but I think Christianity is appealing because it offers hope and comfort, in the form of a heaven and a divine being who cares about you personally (a Father in heaven). There is one enemy to be defeated, Satan, and you can fight him with the sword of righteousness (the Bible, etc.). You can go to church once a week for an hour or so, accept Jesus as your personal savior, follow a few rules and voila, you get your heavenly reward. No "science of mind," not much philosophy needed in the pew, a good fit for the average human being.

Compare with Buddhism - any variety. You will spend hours on a cushion, uncomfortable, doing absolutely nothing, looking at your mind (huh?). Your hours and hours of practice may or may not produce any tangible result. Your karma will determine your next go around, most likely back here again in this hell hole (or wait, nirvana??). Many people think Buddhists have to be pacifists (read, doormats) and/or vegetarians and/or monks, never drink alcohol but maybe drink blood. Oh yeah, and drop everything to do a long ( even three year) retreat, and spend a bazillion dollars schlepping all over the country to see your guru or go to Asia, and...and...and...

Not hard to understand why Christianity is making inroads in some places.
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby Huifeng » Fri May 31, 2013 3:54 am

The Chinese perspectives have to be seen in the light of the state of Chinese Buddhism in the late Qing (and often early Republican) period(s). In those times, Buddhism was often very much against any sort of social engagement at all. The rhetoric of purity was in force, whereby any such action would be quickly branded as "secular" and thus beneath the true Dharma. Such rhetoric still exists in many places.

Thus, the reformist Buddhism for Human Life of Master Taixu, and its development into Humanistic Buddhism by Masters such as Yin Shun, Hsing Yun, and others, is to be seen in this light. It was trying to deemphasize meditation as the sole practice of Buddhism. For most groups, though, it definitely was not about not meditating at all. (May be exceptions.)

Master Taixu, in particular, during his early days down south in Guangdong Province, saw the effectiveness of western Christian preaching and conversion, and the Chinese followers of such groups who also preached and converted. He sought to have similar active engagement in society. This included building Buddhism centers in the cities and towns, rather than only in the remote mountains. It included using more modern means of teaching and preaching. It included giving more emphasis on charity and social engagement projects. Most of this is now to be found in Taiwan, though the PRoC is quickly catching up.

One thing that I often note, is that while the rhetoric from the Chinese side is towards social engagement and away from reclusivity, because the Western approach to Buddhism is often one of seeking the reclusive and shying away from overly socially engaged forms of religion, the rhetoric is completely misunderstood on both sides. Two lovers running to embrace an image of the other, only to run past in disdain of the real other in the process.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby greentara » Fri May 31, 2013 4:52 am

People' pray to God and finish with "Thy Will be done!" If His Will be done why do they pray at all? It is true that the Divine Will prevails at all times and under all circumstances. The individuals cannot act of their own accord. Recognise the force of the Divine Will and keep quiet'
This is a message the Christian Evangelists should listen to.

'The power that created you has created the world as well. If It can take care of you, It can similarly take care of the world also … As for prayer for the sake of others, it looks so unselfish on the surface of it. But analyse the feeling and you will detect selfishness there also. You desire others' happiness so that you may be happy. Or you want the credit for having interceded on others' behalf' Think about it.
When a mother prays for her own child , the love is pure and pouring out and yet she down't pray for other children with the same intensity.
' The ultimate Truth is so simple. It is nothing more than being in the pristine state. This is all that need be said. Still, it is a wonder that to teach this simple Truth there should come into being so many religions, creeds, methods and disputes among them all'
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Re: Buddhist Social Work & Christian Evangelism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Fri May 31, 2013 4:24 pm

'The power that created you has created the world as well. If It can take care of you, It can similarly take care of the world also … As for prayer for the sake of others, it looks so unselfish on the surface of it. But analyse the feeling and you will detect selfishness there also.


Unless you've attained the Bodhisattva bhumis, all altruistic aspiration, prayer, and merit is tainted by selfishness.

I'm starting to take a dislike to all this trashing of Christianity. There are immensely irrational problems with believing in an omniscient, omnipotent God who allows the world to be as horrific as it is, but people generally do not choose their religion. They pick along through life doing their best, making the best sense they can out of things. Certainly Christianity, especially evangelical Christianity is a vehicle for some of the most ignorant people and practices, and atrocities in the world, but so are all religions, ideologies, and other conceptual garbage. There are Christians out there far, far more openminded, wise, and compassionate than many of the Buddhists I know.
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