What if everyone were Buddhist?

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What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby Dhammakid » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:10 pm

Not sure what thread to put this under...

So, what do you think: what if, for one reason or another, everyone in the world started following Buddhism (in any form)? Good or bad thing? Is that something we Buddhists should want to see happen?

Obviously this is virtually impossible, but it's an interesting question. I see Buddhism as the path to liberation for everyone, not just those predisposed to following it. I would recommend the path to absolutely everyone, without exception. However, I definitely have issues with it being the only religion in the world.

Let me know what you think.

:anjali:
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:24 pm

Interesting and good question.

First off, the slaughterhouses would shut down. Who would do the killing?

But as part of human nature, the Buddhists of the world would splinter off into even more groups and factions, even more so than what we see now. Eventually, the Buddhist schools, sects, and denominations would be so different that they would once again start looking like completely different religions.

But instead of getting cynical (such as saying "why bother or no one will improve or listen") we can still do our own little part in whatever little way. There are some of us and others with only a "little dust in their eyes."
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:20 am

If everyone was Buddhist, Buddhism would cease to be Buddhism. The more widespread an idea is, the more diluted it tends to become.
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:10 am

One more thing: Either you don't truly regard it as impossible or you don't understand how it is illogical to speculate about the impossible. Being impossible, any understanding of it would be fictitious. Being fictitious, there can be no objective evaluation of its nature.

As an analogical question: If unicorns really existed. what color would they be?
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby enkidu » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:02 am

Individual wrote:The more widespread an idea is, the more diluted it tends to become.


If only that were true of the three poisons!
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby adamposey » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:45 pm

Individual wrote:If everyone was Buddhist, Buddhism would cease to be Buddhism. The more widespread an idea is, the more diluted it tends to become.


I don't think that's legitimate to say. The truth is that the more widespread something becomes the more subject to division it becomes. dilution isn't a real issue with even, say, Christianity or Islam. Islam has held up remarkably well because of strict adherence to the holy Koran. Christianity, on the other hand, is wildly fragmented with the most major division apparent between Catholicism and Protestantism
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby chownah » Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:51 pm

I live in Thailand and for all practical purposes everyone here already does follow Buddhism (in one form or another) and frankly none of the hopful things people have posted are happening...or even about to happen...or even have even a tiny tiny possibility of happening anytime soon. Alcoholism is a big problem and people eat meat at every meal if they can afford it. I won't discuss sex issues but you can imagine. etc.

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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby PeterB » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:36 pm

I dont know what happens in Thailand concerning the slaughter of animals for meat, but in Old Tibet, you let the Muslims do it for you. You then felt entitled to look down on the Muslims as animal killers...

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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:43 pm

PeterB wrote:I dont know what happens in Thailand concerning the slaughter of animals for meat, but in Old Tibet, you let the Muslims do it for you. You then felt entitled to look down on the Muslims as animal killers...


That's what I have heard too about what happens in some Buddhist countries. But in some countries I don't know if there are enough non-Buddhists to do that for the amount of demand. Perhaps the OP should be clarified to say Buddhists who keep the 5 precepts? Or at least that is how I took it, but if not, then certainly there would be many other factors at play and the entire world being Buddhist would be meaningless if most did not practice at least the 5 precepts.
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:07 pm

If the world would only be inhabitated by Buddhists, we would still have the e sangha syndrome everywhere.

Some bash others as deluded and play war. You get 'em hacked and watch: "#*%$§/l\ß".

And don't see you're sitting on a rotting lotus leaf.

But the slaughterhouses would really be a problem....for those attached to meat.
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby Dhammakid » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:29 pm

Individual wrote:One more thing: Either you don't truly regard it as impossible or you don't understand how it is illogical to speculate about the impossible. Being impossible, any understanding of it would be fictitious. Being fictitious, there can be no objective evaluation of its nature.

As an analogical question: If unicorns really existed. what color would they be?


I don't really care about the question being illogical or not. It's just a question that popped into my mind randomly one day and I thought it would be fun to talk about. If you don't like the question, don't answer it.
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby Dhammakid » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:33 pm

I'm talking about actual Buddhists - i.e., those who follow the 5 Precepts. Hope that takes care of the slaughterhouse question.

It seems likely that division would be inevitable, because everyone has their own interpretation of the teachings and it doesn't seem like we would be able to get over that.
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby notself » Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:09 pm

If everyone was a practicing and resolute Buddhist the world would have an end to wars, much less greed and less poverty.

If everyone was a practicing and resolute Christian the world would have an end to wars, much less greed and less poverty.

The only difference between the two scenarios would be the number of noble ones.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby meindzai » Sun Nov 08, 2009 4:44 pm

I think you'd have to phrase the question more specifically to even begin to speculate. What kind of Buddhist ? Practicing how? All lay practitioners or all monks?

Buddhism does predict it's own demise (in any given world system), and if you look at the vinaya and the history of Buddhism, the demise does seem to come about through dilution. The vinaya rules weren't even necessary until the Sangha started to grow and become more well known. It seems that it's harder to keep things pure with such a a large amount of people.

To borrow and skew another buddhist analogy, I see the Dhamma as a drop of ink in a thimble size full of water (the original sangha). As the water (people) increases in volume, the dhamma becomes less recognizable as such. Drop the ink in an ocean and you won't even know it's there.

-M
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby PaulD » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:07 am

Dhammakid wrote:Not sure what thread to put this under...

So, what do you think: what if, for one reason or another, everyone in the world started following Buddhism (in any form)? Good or bad thing? Is that something we Buddhists should want to see happen?

Obviously this is virtually impossible, but it's an interesting question. I see Buddhism as the path to liberation for everyone, not just those predisposed to following it. I would recommend the path to absolutely everyone, without exception. However, I definitely have issues with it being the only religion in the world.

Let me know what you think.

:anjali:
Dhammakid


I don't think much would change. 90% of Thailand's population or even more is Buddhist and Thailand is known to be a hotspot (number 1 actually in the world according askmen.com) for sex tourism since prostitution is legal. Look up patpong. UNLESS you're saying if the whole world followed Buddhism devoutly then that would be a different story altogether.
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby PaulD » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:19 am

meindzai wrote:I think you'd have to phrase the question more specifically to even begin to speculate. What kind of Buddhist ? Practicing how? All lay practitioners or all monks?

Buddhism does predict it's own demise (in any given world system), and if you look at the vinaya and the history of Buddhism, the demise does seem to come about through dilution. The vinaya rules weren't even necessary until the Sangha started to grow and become more well known. It seems that it's harder to keep things pure with such a a large amount of people.

To borrow and skew another buddhist analogy, I see the Dhamma as a drop of ink in a thimble size full of water (the original sangha). As the water (people) increases in volume, the dhamma becomes less recognizable as such. Drop the ink in an ocean and you won't even know it's there.

-M


where did these vinaya rules come from then if they weren't necessary? Didn't the Buddha put these rules down for the monks?
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby chownah » Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:30 pm

[quote="PaulD
I don't think much would change. 90% of Thailand's population or even more is Buddhist and Thailand is known to be a hotspot (number 1 actually in the world according askmen.com) for sex tourism since prostitution is legal. Look up patpong. UNLESS you're saying if the whole world followed Buddhism devoutly then that would be a different story altogether.[/quote]

Prostitution is illegal in Thailand.

And in response to a previous comment: In Thailand the killing of animals for meat is done by whoever....which usually means a Buddhist whoever.

And in response to a previous comment: Saying that "actual" Buddhists are those who follow the five precepts probaby rules out just about everyone....isn't the idea that you are supposed to do your best to follow them?...and of course there is also the understanding of what it means to follow them...and even if someone knows that they are not doing a good job of following them and expect to have a bad rebirth then who are we to say the these people are not "actual" Buddhists?

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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:10 pm

How might Buddhism be introduced to, say, Greenland?

Hope this isn't a frivolous question -- I was mulling it over the weekend. Life in Greenland is practically dependent on hunting and fishing. Abstaining from these activities would entail starvation. As a Greenlandic Buddhist, what would you recommend to your family/clan/people?

-- Move out of Greenland to some other environment? (This could entail conflict with other communities)
-- Import food from elsewhere while developing more wholesome local industries, perhaps artisan in nature, for trade with the rest of the world? (This is feasible in a globalized economy, but globalization presents its own perils)
-- Concentrate on developing the monastic sangha and a strong monastic/lay relationship...Laypeople would not be expected to give up their livelihood but at least they could build merit, and by supporting the sangha materially, they create the possibility for earnest practitioners to follow the path...?
-- Pure Land? :bow:

The third choice seems like the most realistic to me. What do you think?
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby PaulD » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:40 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:How might Buddhism be introduced to, say, Greenland?

Hope this isn't a frivolous question -- I was mulling it over the weekend. Life in Greenland is practically dependent on hunting and fishing. Abstaining from these activities would entail starvation. As a Greenlandic Buddhist, what would you recommend to your family/clan/people?

-- Move out of Greenland to some other environment? (This could entail conflict with other communities)
-- Import food from elsewhere while developing more wholesome local industries, perhaps artisan in nature, for trade with the rest of the world? (This is feasible in a globalized economy, but globalization presents its own perils)
-- Concentrate on developing the monastic sangha and a strong monastic/lay relationship...Laypeople would not be expected to give up their livelihood but at least they could build merit, and by supporting the sangha materially, they create the possibility for earnest practitioners to follow the path...?
-- Pure Land? :bow:

The third choice seems like the most realistic to me. What do you think?


Yes, third is the most realistic. Actually the most realistic for most people in the world I'd say due to the age we're living in.
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby Jechbi » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:50 pm

Maybe the question could be, what if everyone were Dhammiko? That word "Buddhist" can be so problematic ...
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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