Today, Buddhism continues to gain ever wider acceptance in many lands far beyond its original home. People throughout the world, through their own careful choice, are adopting Buddhism’s peaceful, compassionate and responsible ways.
The Buddhist teaching of the law of karma offers people a just, incorruptible foundation and reason for living a moral life. It is easy to see how a wider embracing of the law of karma would lead any country towards a stronger, more caring and virtuous society. The teaching of rebirth places this present short lifetime of ours in a broader perspective, giving more meaning to the vital events of birth and death. The understanding of rebirth removes so much of the tragedy and grief surrounding death and turns our attention to the quality of a life, rather than its mere length.
From the very beginning the practice of meditation has been at the very heart of the Buddhist way. Today, meditation grows increasingly popular as its proven benefits to both mental and physical well-being are becoming more widely known. When stress is shown to be such a major cause of human suffering, the quieting practice of meditation becomes ever more valued.
Today’s world is too small and vulnerable for us to live angrily and alone, and thus tolerance, love and compassion are so very important. These qualities of mind, essential for happiness, are formally developed in Buddhist meditation and then diligently put into practice in every day life.
Forgiveness, gentleness, harmlessness and peaceful compassion are the well-known “trademarks” of Buddhism, and they are given freely and broadly to all beings, including animals of course, and also, most importantly, to oneself. There is no place for dwelling in guilt or self-hatred in Buddhism, not even a place for feeling guilty about feeling guilty.
Teachings and practices such as these are what bring about qualities of gentle kindness, unshakeable serenity and wisdom, identified with the Buddhist religion for over 25 centuries and sorely needed in today’s world. In all its long history, no war has ever been fought in the name of Buddhism. It is this peace and tolerance, growing out of a profound yet reasonable philosophy, that makes the Buddha’s message timeless and always vitally relevant.
“Well expounded is the Dhamma by the Blessed One, a Dhamma to be realized by oneself and gives immediate results, a Dhamma which invites investigation and leads up to Nibbana, a Dhamma to be understood by the wise each for himself. ~ Dhajagga Sutta”