[Buddha-l] Claude Anshin Thomas/ approaches to "nonduality"

curt curt at cola.iges.org
Tue May 10 08:45:39 MDT 2005

Buddhism is about 2500 years old, and has been practiced
by hundreds of millions of people from a wide variety of
cultures and nations during that time. It is today the predominant
religion in a large number of countries.

So is there any evidence that Buddhism has exerted some kind
of "peaceful" influence in those societies where it has taken root
and become part of the mainstream culture? Do China, Vietnam,
Korea, Japan, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Laos, Tibet and
Cambodia have demonstrably more "peaceful" societies thanks to the influence
of Buddhism? Do these countries have fewer wars, less domestic
violence, less racism and sexism and homophobia or whatever
forms of bigotry you want to use as a measure of societal violence?
Do they have less poverty, better care for the sick and the elderly,
or perhaps less tension and strife between different ethnic groups?

Or is the idea that Buddhism offers some kind of special and
effective "answer" to violence simply wishful thinking? Or,
alternatively, are all of those Asian Buddhists missing something
obvious in "their own" religion that Western Buddhists can
helpfully point out to them? Or are these questions somehow unfair -
and if so, what would be better questions?

I can blame Wilmelm Halbfass in part for this post. I am reading his
"On Being and What There Is" right now. He makes a regular
habit (at least in the opening chapters) of constructing complete
paragraphs out of questions. It looked like fun - so I thought I
would try it.

- Curt

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