What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:34 pm

Sleep, sleep, keep sleeping at your own peril DW Buddhists..here is something for your entertainment

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10776023/China-on-course-to-become-worlds-most-Christian-nation-within-15-years.html

By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

and certainly much more assertive, confident and assured of their faith than the remaining lukewarm billion
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby waterchan » Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:59 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
Shaswata_Panja wrote:Here I propose the Theravada Super-State


I practice to be free... I don't do it to get myself bounded to something like this.

:anjali:


:goodpost:

The Buddha Dhamma's disappearance will only be brought about by Buddhists who fail to follow the teachings. And as far as actual Dhamma practice is concerned, the "Theravada Super State" has fallen short.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Nikaya35 » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:27 pm

That would be a huge loss for Thai people. Most countries in the world are non buddhists. I'm from a non buddhist country and people from buddhist countries don't have a idea how lucky they are. They can have a dharma teacher very easy and in any time.
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:23 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:Sleep, sleep, keep sleeping at your own peril DW Buddhists..here is something for your entertainment

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10776023/China-on-course-to-become-worlds-most-Christian-nation-within-15-years.html

By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

and certainly much more assertive, confident and assured of their faith than the remaining lukewarm billion


From what I can see, the growth of Protestant evangelical Christianity in the region is directly linked to the burgeoning urban middle class. The reasons why Christianity is more appealing to them than Buddhism are not hard to pin down:

a) more hopeful message: get saved and go to heaven. In Buddhism, only sotapanna can be sure of not being reborn in hell. And the goal of enlightenment is inaccessible to most.
b) less vertical hierarchy, more individualistic
c) energetic and successful youth outreach (Buddhism, by contrast, seen as "the funeral religion")
d) Christianity: Universe is God's creation, humans made in God's image. Buddhism: the body is disgusting and nature is mere samsaric proliferation. All pleasure is "akusala" except jhana.
e) Christianity: heaven and hell are eternal. Buddhism teaches both are temporary. It's impossible to prove which faith is correct, so it makes sense to choose the one that offers a better reward for the faithful and a worse punishment for non-believers.

...etc. Disclaimer: I do not endorse evangelical Protestant Christianity. All the above just for discussion. IMHO it is better to look the dynamics behind the trend rather than dreaming of a "superstate" that will somehow take care of the problem.

There seem to be two or three different ways Buddhists could respond to the challenge:

a) hang in there and hope the current socioeconomic/cultural trends will be reversed
b) adapt to the new currents and appeal for some "market share" among the middle class (some effort to do this in East Asia)
c) accept the decline of Buddhism as a mass religion and focus instead on dhamma practiced by serious adepts
d) some other avenue?
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:47 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:a) more hopeful message: get saved and go to heaven. In Buddhism, only sotapanna can be sure of not being reborn in hell. And the goal of enlightenment is inaccessible to most.
b) less vertical hierarchy, more individualistic
c) energetic and successful youth outreach (Buddhism, by contrast, seen as "the funeral religion")
d) Christianity: God made the world, and you in his image. Some joys are sanctioned by God, others forbidden. Buddhism: the body is disgusting and nature is mere samsaric proliferation. All pleasure is "akusala" except jhana.
e) Christianity: heaven and hell are eternal. Buddhism teaches both are temporary. It's impossible to prove which faith is correct, so it makes sense to choose the one that offers a better reward for the faithful and a worse punishment for non-believers.


Good analysis. Also, I think the lower to middle class Chinese are seeing Buddhism in the way it is typically practiced there, as idol worship, incense burning, empty rituals, not some of the more advanced and positive features of the religion, including samadhi and sati.

Another avenue could be education. In Western nations the lower socioeconomic classes are the evangelicals and the middle to higher socioeconomic classes tend to be non-religious, skeptics and the ones most likely to investigate Buddhism. So perhaps as educational levels rise, there could be some hope.
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Sam Vara » Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:57 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:Sleep, sleep, keep sleeping at your own peril DW Buddhists..here is something for your entertainment

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10776023/China-on-course-to-become-worlds-most-Christian-nation-within-15-years.html

By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

and certainly much more assertive, confident and assured of their faith than the remaining lukewarm billion


Am I somehow imperilled by increasing numbers of Chinese Christians? How so?
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby pilgrim » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:24 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Am I somehow imperilled by increasing numbers of Chinese Christians? How so?


Your next birth could be in China............ or in Thailand but in a Christian family.
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby SarathW » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:34 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:Sleep, sleep, keep sleeping at your own peril DW Buddhists..here is something for your entertainment

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10776023/China-on-course-to-become-worlds-most-Christian-nation-within-15-years.html

By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

and certainly much more assertive, confident and assured of their faith than the remaining lukewarm billion


Arthur C Clarke doesn't think so! ;)

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=16297
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:16 am

pilgrim wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:
Am I somehow imperilled by increasing numbers of Chinese Christians? How so?


Your next birth could be in China............ or in Thailand but in a Christian family.


Is that really so bad? And if it is bad, then presumably my good kamma would be sufficient for me to evade it anyway. Just like favourable conditions leading to huge swarms of locusts don't make it more likely that I will be reborn as a locust.
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:07 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Good analysis. Also, I think the lower to middle class Chinese are seeing Buddhism in the way it is typically practiced there, as idol worship, incense burning, empty rituals, not some of the more advanced and positive features of the religion, including samadhi and sati.


Based on what I've seen, at least, that seems to be so. My wife's family is from rural China and their religion could be described as a loose mixture of Buddhism, ancestor worship and deity worship. I'm not sure I would say the rituals are empty -- they seem to take them pretty seriously and have a strong belief in their efficacy. However it is mostly the older people who keep it up. The younger generation seems to feel it is all superstitious and they associate it with the impoverished times of the past. They associate Christianity (again, this is going to be Protestant evangelical Christianity, for the most part) with upward mobility and a better life.

Another avenue could be education. In Western nations the lower socioeconomic classes are the evangelicals and the middle to higher socioeconomic classes tend to be non-religious, skeptics and the ones most likely to investigate Buddhism. So perhaps as educational levels rise, there could be some hope.


That's a good point. Wouldn't it likely be a secularized form of Buddhism that attracts them, though? In which case we run into the ongoing debate about the validity of this kind of dhamma/dharma.

That problem aside, I agree there might be some hope there.
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Jetavan » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:34 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:Sleep, sleep, keep sleeping at your own peril DW Buddhists..here is something for your entertainment

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10776023/China-on-course-to-become-worlds-most-Christian-nation-within-15-years.html

By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

and certainly much more assertive, confident and assured of their faith than the remaining lukewarm billion

Expect to see develop (as is happening in African Christianity) distinctive Chinese forms of Christianity that incorporate Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist ideas and practices; or new Independent Chinese religions that incorporate elements of those religions.

The Three-In-One Chinese religious movements (like Yiguan Dao) combine Confucian familial and social harmony, Daoist bodily and spiritual cultivation, and Buddhist cosmic ethics and awakening. One might predict the appearance of "Four-in-One" movements, with Christianity added into the mix, perhaps with Christianity's role being centered on uplifting the material conditions of the poor, social justice and political liberation.
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby dhammafriend » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:27 am

Hi Lazy Eye, I thought is was worth it to respond to your points below. The article is misleading and illogical I think. By this logic you could say that China has the most murderers, the most people with toothache etc. The population is so huge, that would be a given. Even if those estimates are not exaggerated (a very good possibility) they are still a minority.
This will not directly affect Buddhist populations in China only the huge pool of non-affiliated in the populace.

a) more hopeful message: get saved and go to heaven. In Buddhism, only sotapanna can be sure of not being reborn in hell. And the goal of enlightenment is inaccessible to most.
This is not relevant to East Asian Buddhism (mahayana pureland & chan) the goals, aspirations etc for laypeople & monastics are different.

b) less vertical hierarchy, more individualistic

This makes sense to some extent.

c) energetic and successful youth outreach (Buddhism, by contrast, seen as "the funeral religion")

Funeral Buddhism is a Japanese phenomenon.So this assumption is misleading. We have no idea of any youth outreach programs that may or may not exist.

d) Christianity: Universe is God's creation, humans made in God's image. Buddhism: the body is disgusting and nature is mere samsaric proliferation. All pleasure is "akusala" except jhana.
Do you have regular contact with a living Asian Buddhist tradition? This is not how Buddhism is generally communicated.

e) Christianity: heaven and hell are eternal. Buddhism teaches both are temporary. It's impossible to prove which faith is correct, so it makes sense to choose the one that offers a better reward for the faithful and a worse punishment for non-believers.

This has psychological merit to an extent. The worse threat will usually win out. Fear is a powerful force skillfully used by Evangelical movements.

a) hang in there and hope the current socioeconomic/cultural trends will be reversed

I think Buddhists can do more than 'hang in there'. See the history of Sri Lanka.

b) adapt to the new currents and appeal for some "market share" among the middle class (some effort to do this in East Asia)

This seems reasonable, but Buddhists need to get their intellectual house in order. East Asian & South East Asian Buddhism is experiencing an intellectual crisis that it needs to resolve first.

c) accept the decline of Buddhism as a mass religion and focus instead on dhamma practiced by serious adepts

The article does not mention the decline of Buddhism. Buddhism is seeing growth in China actually. So as Christianity increases in number, so will Buddhism, and buddhism is more widespread, so do the math.

d) some other avenue?

Less gigantic statues and more Buddhist research, colleges & universities. Buddhists in general need to learn to invest in people, not more flamboyant buildings etc.

metta
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:17 pm

Dhammafriend,

Great response! I did make some flawed assumptions, which you are right to point out. It's true that East Asian Buddhism has different doctrines and points of emphasis compared to Theravada. In particular, it does offer a goal (rebirth in Pure Land) which people may feel is easier to accomplish.

You're also right that it is misleading to post large numbers of Chinese Christians as indication of some alarming trend; China's population is very large.

Let me clarify a few of my points a little. Firstly, it's true that there has been a Buddhist revival in the Chinese-speaking world to some extent (interestingly, from what I can see, growing numbers of mainland Chinese are drawn to Tibetan Buddhism). However, Christianity seems to have much greater momentum, particularly among the professional and middle classes.

The term "funeral religion" is associated specifically with Japanese Buddhism, so perhaps I should not have used it. But the perception that Buddhism is antiquated is also found among many Chinese, from what I have seen at least. However, some pop musicians and movie stars have embraced Buddhism in recent years so maybe that will help change perceptions.

The more humanistic varieties of Buddhism in East Asian do not always emphasize negative views (the body being loathsome or disgusting, the world undesirable, pleasure wrong or unwholesome, etc). However, Hsuan Hua's school is very austere: he emphasizes again and again in his sermons that his followers, even lay ones, should "put an end to emotional love" and "never cultivate thoughts of emotional love, let alone acts of emotional love". He places great emphasis on eradicating unwholesome mind-states as a prerequisite, even for those seeking the easier path of Pure Land. Chinese Pure Land and Ch'an, as opposed to some of the later variants found in Japan, are not always as far from Theravada as some might assume.

The instruction to eradicate emotional love and cut off the sex drive as soon as possible is obviously going to be unpopular with many laypeople, particularly in the current era when Western-influenced concepts of romantic love have become influential -- especially among the middle class. By contrast, Christianity emphasizes familial warmth and romance as long as the relationship is "right by God". Christianity is notorious for demonizing certain kinds of loving relationships (i.e. same sex) and validating others, while Buddhism basically regards all intimacy as akusala.
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:47 pm

Here about the interest of Young Chinese in Tibetan Buddhism...but then again they are not evangelical ike modern Christians...and Buddhism also would not have spread out from India if ancient Buddhists were not "evangelical"..But do Chinese evangelists also employ the same "hellfire and brimstone for eternity" approach ??

Christian concept of Romantic Love, about getting very enthusiastic about marriage, about seeking out The One/The True Soul mate and then engaging in endless sex within marriage since it is sanctioned, are very very obstructive towards true spiritual pursuit

and then having your own little kingdom of white picket fence, a car, a two-storey house and two kids---this is the idealized life of evangelical Christianity

But there are many laypeople among Buddhists and Hindus and Jains who have chosen to be lifelong celibate in order to pursue spirituality


even the government mouthpiece is reporting on it (Chinese seeking Tibetan Buddhism)

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90882/8607798.html
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90882/8607799.html
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90882/8607800.html
http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/tib ... 26871.html
http://www.business-standard.com/articl ... 357_1.html
http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/chi ... 26877.html


Christians in little over 80 years (1949 onwards when there were 1 million in the country) will have as much percentage of the Chinese population under its control as the Buddhists have acquired in over 2000 years...that's the power of aggressive evangelism......
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:53 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:But do Chinese evangelists also employ the same "hellfire and brimstone for eternity" approach ??


From what I have seen and heard, yep. With a vengeance. And don't forget the Christian hell is worse than Buddhist hell. If you are inclined towards a belief in hell, wouldn't you be more worried about the eternal one?

This is the problem with Buddhism as a religion based on faith. Doctrinally, it's at a disadvantage compared to other faith-based religions that offer a sweeter carrot and a more painful stick. If the "market" consists of people inclined to believe in supernatural concepts, then one has to ask "why choose Buddhist supernatural concepts over Christian or Islamic ones"? There can be no argument based on reason, since no religion's hells can be proven true or another's false. I don't know the answer to this conundrum. Being an agnostic/skeptic, I tend not to be motivated by fear of hell or desire for heaven. But were I to entertain that kind of thinking, why would I choose the Buddhist version when other religions promise and threaten much more?

Christian concept of Romantic Love, about getting very enthusiastic about marriage, about seeking out The One/The True Soul mate and then engaging in endless sex within marriage since it is sanctioned, are very very obstructive towards true spiritual pursuit

and then having your own little kingdom of white picket fence, a car, a two-storey house and two kids---this is the idealized life of evangelical Christianity


Well, sure, although I think you are underestimating the importance of sex within marriage. But even without Westernized notions of romantic love, the fact remains that Buddhism at a certain level is incompatible with marriage and family life. It's a path for renunciates, though formulated in a way that allows some participation by "householders" (who also provide material support). But that participation is limited, whereas a Christian "householder" can enjoy the same spiritual rewards as a monk.

But there are many laypeople among Buddhists and Hindus and Jains who have chosen to be lifelong celibate in order to pursue spirituality


That requires special circumstances: willing spouse, grown children, sufficient financial resources. More the exception than the rule.

If we're talking about the relative appeal of religions to mass populations, than you have to factor in majority behavior and not these special cases.

Basically: you can't have your cake and eat it, as the saying goes. If you're intent on emphasizing the ascetic/eremitic qualities of Buddhism, then there's no basis for complaining that it's losing ground as a popular religion. If you want it to compete with Christianity and maintain its status as a mass religion, then you have to take the lay perspective into account. Including the desire for sex, children and white picket fences.
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:03 pm

Lets break up the Buddhist world a bit

Theravada: Sri-Lanka,Burma,Thailand,Laos,Cambodia
Mahayana: China,Taiwan,South Korea,Japan,Vietnam
Vajrayana: Bhutan,Mongolia,Tibetan Autonomous Region of China

In all the Mahayana systems you would see one-thing emerging......It has not been the sole religious, philosophical substratum of the society..It kind of grafts onto the existing social structure be it Confucianism-Taoism combine of the Sinic world(Confu handling the social side and Tao handling the spiritual side) or Shintoism of the Japanese world

That's why Mahayana is that much "weaker"....If the roots are deep, then a tiny slither will try to somehow protect the religion even in the face of tremendous atrocities like Genocide.....Case to the point, though Zoroastrianism was almost wiped out in Iran , a tiny minority braved on in the deserts of Yazd and a substantial minority emigrated to India with the hope of a possible re-export of the religion back to Iran when the time comes.....

A portion of Thervada Buddhists are still trying to hold onto their religion in Bangladesh inspite of genocidal pressures for hundreds of years

and what about the Jews..they absolutely amaze me...they managed survive and survive inspite of continous conversion and genocidal pressures since the last 2500---3000 years...right from Babylon to Berlin and beyond

In Mahayanic systems the population are not that invested in the Buddhist religion...Almost all Mahayanist monks use very flowy robes like Confucius or Shinto Priests....I bet there are no shabbily dressed. half naked Dhutanga style monks in Mahayanic systems

This where the crux of the matter lies IMO

In Theravada system the society changes itself in order to reorganize around the Buddha's teaching and the Sangha...There is a deep sense of commitment to the religion that it almost take racial undertones in the most extreme cases (Burma and SL) ...and in all Thervada countires you will see shabby half-naked forest yogis...Somehow IMO their spirituality reinvigorates the whole nation and the city monks and temples and monasteries
Thervada is much more clear-cut,,,eventhough China,Japan have much bigger clout than Theravada countries , I would argue Thervada Budhism and Thai forest tradition is more well known than Zen and Pure Land traditions...the Pali Canon is more widespread..its almost impossible to see English transaltion of Chinese Agamas

Almo0st the same can be said for the tiny minority known as Vajrayana Buddhism...It is THE organizing principle for societies in Bhutan,Tibet and Ladakh regions..donot know abt Mongolia though...monks in Tibet are ready to self-immolate to protect their way of life which is intricately linked with nationalism................................


So in the long-term Mahayana will be the biggest loser, because people in Mahayana countries donot feel that their soul is being wrested away when Mahayana goes, because Shinto,Tao and Confu...are still present
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby beeblebrox » Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:16 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:Almost all Mahayanist monks use very flowy robes like Confucius or Shinto Priests....I bet there are no shabbily dressed. half naked Dhutanga style monks in Mahayanic systems

This where the crux of the matter lies IMO


Hi Shaswata Panja,

I understand your point... but when you said "Theravada Super-State," I imagined that it would lead to something like this:

Image

That's not what you wanted, or is it?

:anjali:
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:17 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:Lets break up the Buddhist world a bit

Theravada: Sri-Lanka,Burma,Thailand,Laos,Cambodia
Mahayana: China,Taiwan,South Korea,Japan,Vietnam
Vajrayana: Bhutan,Mongolia,Tibetan Autonomous Region of China

In all the Mahayana systems you would see one-thing emerging......It has not been the sole religious, philosophical substratum of the society..It kind of grafts onto the existing social structure be it Confucianism-Taoism combine of the Sinic world(Confu handling the social side and Tao handling the spiritual side) or Shintoism of the Japanese world

That's why Mahayana is that much "weaker"....If the roots are deep, then a tiny slither will try to somehow protect the religion even in the face of tremendous atrocities like Genocide.....Case to the point, though Zoroastrianism was almost wiped out in Iran , a tiny minority braved on in the deserts of Yazd and a substantial minority emigrated to India with the hope of a possible re-export of the religion back to Iran when the time comes.....

A portion of Thervada Buddhists are still trying to hold onto their religion in Bangladesh inspite of genocidal pressures for hundreds of years

and what about the Jews..they absolutely amaze me...they managed survive and survive inspite of continous conversion and genocidal pressures since the last 2500---3000 years...right from Babylon to Berlin and beyond

In Mahayanic systems the population are not that invested in the Buddhist religion...Almost all Mahayanist monks use very flowy robes like Confucius or Shinto Priests....I bet there are no shabbily dressed. half naked Dhutanga style monks in Mahayanic systems

This where the crux of the matter lies IMO

In Theravada system the society changes itself in order to reorganize around the Buddha's teaching and the Sangha...There is a deep sense of commitment to the religion that it almost take racial undertones in the most extreme cases (Burma and SL) ...and in all Thervada countires you will see shabby half-naked forest yogis...Somehow IMO their spirituality reinvigorates the whole nation and the city monks and temples and monasteries
Thervada is much more clear-cut,,,eventhough China,Japan have much bigger clout than Theravada countries , I would argue Thervada Budhism and Thai forest tradition is more well known than Zen and Pure Land traditions...the Pali Canon is more widespread..its almost impossible to see English transaltion of Chinese Agamas

Almo0st the same can be said for the tiny minority known as Vajrayana Buddhism...It is THE organizing principle for societies in Bhutan,Tibet and Ladakh regions..donot know abt Mongolia though...monks in Tibet are ready to self-immolate to protect their way of life which is intricately linked with nationalism................................


So in the long-term Mahayana will be the biggest loser, because people in Mahayana countries donot feel that their soul is being wrested away when Mahayana goes, because Shinto,Tao and Confu...are still present


I think you are quite misinformed. In China and Korea Buddhism has certainly experienced tremendous persecution and difficulties from Emperor Wuzong to Mao, and in Korea from the Joseon dynasty to the modern Christian travails. In many cases such pressures sort out the weed from the chaff and in the end make it stronger. The roots are very deep even though it is not as imbedded in the sense of national identity as in Sri Lanka and Thailand. Mind you, in both of those place 150 years ago, there was very little practice to be found, as far as I know.

Also both in China and Korea, monks have certainly engaged in austerities, sometimes beyond what we would consider sensible. No, the Dharma is not weak in those places, this is a grave misconception.
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby appicchato » Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:16 pm

...in Sri Lanka and Thailand...150 years ago, there was very little practice to be found...


Mmm...debatable...
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:24 pm

appicchato wrote:
...in Sri Lanka and Thailand...150 years ago, there was very little practice to be found...


Mmm...debatable...


May well be, Venerable. My understanding was that the monastic lineage in Sri Lanka had to be revived several times through the contact with Burma and Thailand and Col Olcott is often credited with reviving Buddhism on the island. This is not to say that it was extinct, but certainly not like in its heyday.

As far as Burma is concerned, a Sayadaw once told me that until the 20th Century revival, there was practically no meditation at Burmese monasteries and even now it is quite rare. Not to say that meditation is the be-all-end-all of practice, but still remarkable.

In any case, there were periods of strong decline, even if my wording is debatable. The point was that these broadbrush comparisons (Theravada - strong, Mahayana- weak) based on ignorance of the facts are inappropriate. Then again, I fail to see the point of the whole thread, so I probably shouldn't've piped up...
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