Nhu-Tang Lam PhD.
Buddhism is the greatest religion. Buddhism initiates human rights, freedom and equality for all living beings. Buddhism is a religion that attains world peace, protecting and developing the environment for our planet.
Why We can say: BUDDHISM IS THE GREATEST RELIGION IN THE WORLD
I-BUDDISM AROUND THE WORLD
*Buddhism could now be more than 2 billion of the world’s populations.
Buddhist populations have grown in other countries. Remarkably, over 14 countries have Buddhist populations at more than 50% of citizens. Seven of these countries indicate Buddhism is practiced by 90% of their populations.
The 14 countries with higher than 50% Buddhist populations are:
So which is it? The conservative estimate indicated in 2010 studies at just about half a billion, or the 1.6 Billion, now estimated by some studies in 2014? It doesn’t really matter, of course. Numbers are just a label of another kind. The number is just a matter of curiosity or interest, nothing more.
According to that estimate Buddhism could be 1.6 Billion or 22% of world’s population. (1)
However I thing in 2018 Buddhism should be more than 2 billion of the world’s populations.Because China, India, Japan, Vietnam etc. Asia countries and around the world: USA, Euro, South America etc. Buddhist populations have grown up very quickly.
II-BUDDHIM INITIATES HUMAN RIGHTS, FREEDOM AND EQUALITY FOR ALL LIVING BEINGS
1-The teaching of the Buddhas: Cease to do evil, Learn to do Good, Cleanse your own Mind
The sad truth is that human mind is not always filled with love, compassion, and intelligence. Whether one likes it or not, the mind always has priority over the matter in the sense that all human behaviour and action are basically derived from it, as the Buddha is so fully aware in His moral precept: "Cease to do evil; Learn to do Good, Cleanse your own Mind; This is the teaching of the Buddhas." (2)
So also with the concept and practice of human rights, which is no less susceptible to do good or to do evil according to the states of mind on the part of particular individuals, classes, and nations. And, as with the human heart, the concept of human rights no less needs to be cleansed of all the parochialism and sectarian prejudices so as to be able to cease to do evil and to learn to do good - the most basic problem with which Buddhism is concerned. (3)
Finally in the field of social studies such as human rights and perhaps many others, one can also find in the Buddhist system of thought a most objective and relevant conceptual framework that, regrettably, tends to be overlooked. It starts from a plain and simple premise as a pragmatic approach close to everyday problems and presents an intellectual outlook that could serve as an empirical basis for rational inquiries. In the words of another leading Buddhist scholar:
"Man has been the central problem of Buddhist philosophy. Metaphysical speculation concerning problems not related to human activities and the attainment of Enlightenment -- such as whether the world is infinite or finite, whether the soul and the body are identical or different from each other, or whether a perfect person exists after his death -- is discouraged. Admitting the transitoriness of everything, the Buddha did not want to assume the existence of any metaphysical substance. This attitude was logically derived from his fundamental standpoint. The Buddha reduced things, substances and souls, to forces, movements, functions, and processes, and adopted a dynamic conception of reality. Life is nothing but a series of manifestations of generation and extinction. It is a stream of becoming and change." (Hajime Nakamura, "The Basic Teachings of Buddhism," in Dumoulin "Cultural, Political, and Religious Significance in the Modern World, Collier Books, NY, 1976). (4)
2-According to Buddhism, all men are equal
Religion has come into existence as a result of the human struggle to solve the basic problem of life, that is, suffering. "If there were no birth, decay and death," the Buddha says, "the Enlightened One would not have arisen in the world and his teachings would not have spread abroad." He also proclaims again and again that a Buddha arises in the world for the good and happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, for the advantage and for the happiness of gods and men. This is the same with the preaching of the Dharma, the lastingness of his Dispensation and the solidarity of the Sangha. Thus, just as the worth of medicine lies in the cure of the disease, so the value of religion is ascertained by its efficacy in the alleviation and elimination of human suffering.
Broadly speaking, when a religion helps people to live together in peace and helps the individual to be at peace with himself, it can be said to have fulfilled its functions. However, that is still a vague picture of religious functioning. The picture will become clearer only when we look deeper to see what outlook the religion has on man and suffering and how it functions to relieve or get rid of that suffering.
All men are born equal, but only in some respects. In many other respects, no man is born equal to any other man. Man's mistreatment of, or wrong attitude towards, this equality and inequality has given rise to all kinds of problems, from the social to the spiritual ones.
According to Buddhism, all men are equal in that they are all subject to the same law of nature. All are subject to birth, old age and death. The law of Karma is binding on everyone. Everyone reaps what he sows and the world keeps going on after the Karma activities contributed to by everyone.(5)
III-THE RIGHTS OF ALL LIVING BEINGS
*A PROPOSAL FOR A UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF ALL LIVING BEINGS
In 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights," a historical document that firmly anchored human rights in international law and provided a powerful legal and ethical basis for the worldwide struggle to maintain these rights. Since then, this struggle has led to the downfall of most of the world's totalitarian regimes and currently serves as a threat to those few that still remain. Today, at the beginning of the new century, it is clear that the increasing destruction of the biosphere poses a threat no less grave to human existence. Environmental action groups have emerged all over the world, but they do not have an international legal foundation similar to that provided by the Declaration of Human Rights.
This draft is a proposal for such a declaration. As with any declaration of this nature, many compromises have been made that are not necessarily to the liking of more extreme groups, such as vegetarians or those who object to animal experimentation. Such compromises, however, are essential for a declaration that seeks broad international support.
Any comments or criticism would be appreciated.
Draft Proposal to the General Assembly of the United Nations
THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF ALL LIVING BEINGS as a common standard to which all peoples and nations should strive in their relations with all other living creatures so that the human species can continue to exist and develop with dignity and in comfort along with all other living species. (6)
“Every sentient being—even insects—have Buddha nature. The seed of Buddha means consciousness, the cognitive power—the seed of enlightenment. That’s from Buddha’s viewpoint. All these destructive things can be removed from the mind, so therefore there’s no reason to believe some sentient being cannot become Buddha. So every sentient being has that seed.” The Dalai Lama.
All centient beings have Buddha Nature:
In the Buddhist teachings, animals are not lesser or “other.” This ethic is consistent with Buddhist philosophies of karma and oneness. For a Buddhist practitioner, harm done to others is harm done to oneself, for we are all one, and we are bound by karma. (7)
Compassion is expected of monks, saints, and all Buddhists, “ahiṃsā, or non-injury, is an ethical goal” for every Buddhist (Shinn 219). Those who successfully travel the Buddhist path will be filled with mercy, living a life that is “compassionate and kind to all creatures” (Burtt 104).
Buddhist teachings state that the moral ideal is to reduce suffering—flesh eating (as well as drinking the nursing milk of factory-farmed animals) fosters massive amounts of misery among millions of animals. Factory farmed animals are deprived of freedom, their young, their nursing milk, their eggs, and ultimately their lives. To support industries that cause such suffering is to live a life that is spiritually impoverished.
For the Buddhist, good conduct requires “putting away the killing of living things” and holding “aloof from the destruction of life” (Burtt 104).
All beings tremble before danger, all fear death. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill.
All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill.
He who for the sake of happiness hurts others who also want happiness, shall not hereafter find happiness.
He who for the sake of happiness does not hurt others who also want happiness, shall hereafter find happiness.
- Dhammapada 54
An enlightened human is one who, “whether feeble or strong, does not kill nor cause slaughter” (Burtt 71). It matters little who kills the turkey; the one who buys a dead bird causes another to be raised and killed, and has thereby caused unnecessary suffering. Buddhist philosophy teaches that a flesh-eater can no more avoid negative karma from eating flesh, than one can escape the effects of dust thrown into the wind. Those who seek happiness in this life but cause misery to others “will not find happiness after death.”
- Burtt 59).(8)
For a parallel to the lesson of atomic theory...[we must turn] to those kinds of epistemological problems with which already thinkers like the Buddha has been confronted, when trying to harmonize our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence. (9)
Nobel Prize–winning philosopher Bertrand Russell described Buddhism as a speculative and scientific philosophy:
Buddhism is a combination of both speculative and scientific philosophy. It advocates the scientific method and pursues that to a finality that may be called Rationalistic. In it are to be found answers to such questions of interest as: 'What is mind and matter? Of them, which is of greater importance? Is the universe moving towards a goal? What is man's position? Is there living that is noble?' It takes up where science cannot lead because of the limitations of the latter's instruments. Its conquests are those of the mind. (10)
If we ask, for instance, whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say 'no;' if we ask whether the electron's position changes with time, we must say 'no;' if we ask whether the electron is at rest, we must say 'no;' if we ask whether it is in motion, we must say 'no.' The Buddha has given such answers when interrogated as to the conditions of man's self after his death; but they are not familiar answers for the tradition of seventeenth and eighteenth-century science.(11)
Nobel Prize–winning physicist Albert Einstein, who developed the general theory of relativity and the special theory of relativity, also known for his mass–energy equivalence, described Buddhism as containing a strong cosmic element:
1) Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and the spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity. and 2) Buddhism is the only religion able to cope with modern scientific needs – Einstein. (12)
VI-10 REASONS WHY BUDDHISM IS THE GREATEST RELIGION
“Wisdom burns its own flame. So does humor. So does this title, which makes fun of the notion of religious one upsmanship. Read beyond the title, if curious:
1. We’re not really a religion. As the Dalai Lama said, if Buddhism and Science disagree, go with science. As the Buddha himself said, don’t believe anything I say unless it matches with your experience.
We are however a path: there are teachings, meditation practices, rituals with meaning…but it’s all centered on one point. Wake up. Be kind. Be present. Be genuine. Be generous to others.
2. We don’t go to war, much. Historically, when we’re attacked, our anemic joke-of-an-army fights heroically while the rest of wherever we’re at flees, gets burned, looted, raped, pillaged. No fun for us, but at least we don’t fight others in order to spread our religion.
3. Buddhism works. If we meditate, and we meditate some more, and we study, and we work with our mixed bag of a (difficult, incompetent, sycophantic, insecure, kind, generous, gentle, eco-minded, tolerant) community, we’ll naturally begin to soften, and straighten, and enjoy life, and help others enjoy life more, too.
4. Buddhism doesn’t believe in anything. Any Buddhist who tells you to believe in reincarnation or anything that can’t be proven is caught up in superstition, and should be forcibly sent to remedial Buddhist meditation camp, which sounds like a fun camp.
5. Buddhist teachers are transparent. The greatest Buddhist teacher I’ve ever known was utterly human: full of “mistakes,” full of wildness and sweetness, open about just about everything. If Buddhist teachers aren’t transparent...on to number six.
6. Buddhism is non-theistic. In Buddhism, we’re taught to bow with mutual respect, and self-respect. You aren’t any better than me except to the extent that you serve me and others better than I do. Serving is leadership.
Our hierarchical triangle is upside down. To lead is to serve. To lead without serving is selfish and useless and silly. If a Buddhist teacher leads out of arrogance or selfish privilege, they will be slapped in the face, with a grin. It’s happened.
7. Buddhism doesn’t say other religions are wrong or anyone’s going to hell and doesn’t advocate judging others “nonbelievers” from afar, let alone sending them to some sort of eternal damnation. In the Buddhist view, we’re all damned already by our happiness-desiring egos, but luckily we’re all fundamentally aok, and we just can relax and (through meditation, study) begin to be ourselves, and serve others in suffering. And then the joke is we’ll start being happy.
8. Buddhism is of the world. It is wildly enthusiastic about money, family, business, sports, books, education, politics…as long as these things are being used to help us and others wake up and be of benefit, it’s all good.
9. Buddhism is not laissez-faire New Ageyness. While Westerners who embrace Buddhism as a lifestyle may be irritating Portlandiaish parodies of a type, like yours truly, Buddhism is all about tradition, about being a good, dues-paying member of society, about decorum and giving back and the arts.
The 10th Reason why Buddhism is the greatest Religion
10.We’re not better than others religions. Your religion has lots of goodness and helpful stuff in it, and you should honor and practice that if you like. If you don’t like, you should become agnostic or atheistic and that’s pretty awesome, too.”
Let’s stop:“The My Way is Better than Yours stuff”. (13)
VII-BUDDHISM CONTRIBUTED THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF WORLD PEACE
1-The Road Map for Sustainable Development of World Peace:
“According to Buddhism, conflict, intolerance and disharmony arises out of desires, hatred and ignorance. To develop confidence, tolerance, and harmony it is extremely important to cultivate common values or universal ethics. Therefore, promotion of education, dialogue, social and economic development would lead for sustainable development of peace in the world. The Buddha welcomed teachers of other religions, but he never attempted to convert any or urged any one to change their beliefs, traditions or teachers. In this regards, we find evidence throughout the Pali Canon where wandering ascetics, sophists and philosophers come to meet the Buddha and discussed or exchanged their different views concerning the way of spiritual practice and liberation. In the Brahmajalasutta the Buddha summarizes the main ideas of his contemporary teachers by saying the following words:
“You may remember this exposition as the ‘net of aim’, the ‘net of doctrines’, the ‘supreme net’ ‘ the net of religious - philosophic theories’ and the ‘glorious victory’ in the war of ideologies” (Dighanikaya, Brahmajalasutta).
Today, it has become an urgent necessity to provide avenues to build world peace through understanding different cultures and religions' because, the causes of religious and ethnic conflict in the world today have their roots in the misunderstanding religious beliefs and misinterpretation of sacred texts. Therefore, it is important to apply the wisdom of the Buddha to extend understanding through learning the religious beliefs of others through direct contact and dialogue. This approach in the modern world requires tolerance in a deeper understanding that all religions may have common ground on which bridges could be built to establish trust and acceptance, and therefore peace and harmony.
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at its 161st session of the Executive Board in 2001 examined a resolution on dialogue among civilizations, which states as follows:
“Only dialogue ends war, and the dialogue of peace is very much a cultural dialogue as well. Many nations and peoples nurse memories of historic grievances and cultural slights. Dialogue alone brings these clearly into the open, where they may be assessed with full intellectual honesty and deep concern for one another’s merits. Only then can past wrongs be finally laid to rest. Cultural dialogue thus helps dispel the germs of war, and sows the seeds of peace and any chance for lasting, harmonious development. UNESCO is one of the world’s forums for such dialogue. The dialogue fostered is predicated upon universal acceptance and observance of basic human rights, as enshrined by the Universal Declaration of 1948, to which all the organizations’ members are committed. Within this broad moral framework, each culture knows that its voice is heard, weighed, and respected”.
The Buddha, with his great compassion for the world required his followers to practice the four boundless states (appamanna) of loving kindness (metta), of compassion (karuna), of sympathetic joy (mudita), and of equanimity (upekkha). This practice of ‘metta’ or universal love, begins by suffusing ones own mind with universal love (metta) and then pervading it to one’s family, then to the neighbors, then to the village, country and the outer regions of the Universe”. (14)
2-The war drums are now replaced by the drum of the dharma – Emperor Asoka
“The Buddhist doctrine of universal love and compassion was practiced by the Great Indian Emperor Asoka, with his mind pervading with loving kindness, said thus: “All men are my children, and as I desire for my children that they obtain every kind of welfare and happiness, both in this world and the next world, so do I desire for all men”.
The King Asoka’s Rock Edict XIII, states, that when he embraced Buddhism, he indulged in spiritual conquest saying that: the war drums are now replaced by the drum of the dharma. Some scholars say that the King Asoka, was trying to emulate the example of a righteous ‘universal monarch’ (cakkavatti raja) as depicted in the Buddhist texts. Elsewhere, the Buddha said that: it was possible to rule a country in accordance with dharma without resorting to harsh punishment (S.I.116). The universal monarch who is called a ‘king of righteousness’ governs his country as a model state in which there is both economic prosperity, as well as righteousness.
The concept of a just society is unthinkable today in our modern world, until and unless the people reduce their unlimited desire, hatred and ignorance.
A just society may be establish in the world, when the nations and rulers of the world stop the fabrication of arms of mass destruction, and use that wealth for “mass construction”, through social development and elimination of social injustice.
The international community has recognized, that social inequality leads to ethnic and political violence, theft, and other forms of crime. Revolutions, wars, and terrorism in general have as a root cause, an imbalance of: wealth distribution, political power, educational and professional opportunities. The Buddha viewed extreme poverty as a cause of violence. Therefore, the Buddha suggested in the Kutadanta Sutta, in the DighaNikaya, the following solution to prevent violence:
“Per chance His Majesty might think, I will soon put a stop to these scoundrels’ game by degradation and punishment, and fines and imprisonment and execution”. But the criminal actions of bandits who pillage villages and towns and make roads unsafe cannot be satisfactorily put to a stop. The criminals left unpunished would still go on harassing the realm. Now there is one method to adopt to put a thorough end to this disorder' to those who keep cattle and cultivate farms, let the king give fodder and seedcorn. To those who trade, let the king give wages and food Then these people, following each one’s own business, will no longer harass the realm. The king’s revenue will go up and the realm will be quite and at peace. The populace, pleased with one another and happy, dancing with their children in their arms, will dwell with open doors”.
Though, the Buddha took no interest in shaping political situations, he was directly involved with politically active people. He took advantage of every occasion to admonish such people to maintain moral standards, to act with responsibility and to work for peace within the country, and with the neighboring countries. The Mahaparinibbana Sutta provides and example of the Buddha’s idea on statecraft, and even his sympathy for a republicform of government.
It is important to note that the Buddha’s struggle was to establish a society, where all human beings could live with dignity, irrespective of their birth, caste, class, sex, and religion. Therefore, the Buddha repeatedly stood against unequal treatment of any human being. He wanted a society free from: violence, discrimination of ethnic, and with religious and professional opportunity. His vision for society, which existed in the 6th century BCE, is still valid to our modern society in the modern world. Whether deliberately or unknowingly, the United Nations is forging ahead with its noble mission to work for the betterment of humanity, with the same theme and same solutions that the Compassionate Buddha thought out during his time, 2500 years ago.” (15)
VIII-UNIVERSAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR BOTH MANKIND AND NATURE
1-Our planet is our house
“Studying Buddhism, I was taught the importance of a caring attitude toward the environment. Our practice of nonviolence applies not just to human beings but to all sentient beings - any living thing that has a mind. Where there is a mind, there are feelings such as pain, pleasure, and joy. No sentient being wants pain: all wants happiness instead. I believe that all sentient beings share those feelings at some basic level.
In Buddhism practice we get so used to this idea of non-violence and the ending of all suffering that we become accustomed to not harming or destroying anything indiscriminately. Although we do not believe that trees or flowers have minds, we treat them also with respect. Thus we share a sense of universal responsibility for both mankind and nature.
Our belief in reincarnation is one example of our concern for the future. If you think that you will be reborn, you are likely to say to yourself, I have to preserve such and such because my future reincarnation will be able to continue with these things. Even though there is a chance you may be reborn as a creature, perhaps even on a different planet, the idea of reincarnation gives you reason to have direct concern about this planet and future generations.
In the West when you speak of "humanity," you usually mean only our existing generation of human beings. Past humanity is already gone. The future, like death, has yet to come. Western ideas usually deal with the practical side of things for only this present generation of human beings.
We Buddhists express compassion for all sentient beings, but this compassion is not necessarily extended to every rock or tree or house. Most of us are somewhat concerned about our own house, but not really compassionate about it. We keep it in order so that we can live and be happy. We know that to have happy feelings in our house we must take care of it. So our feelings may be of concern rather than compassion”. (16)
2- Harmony between people, between people and animals, between sentient beings and the environment
Similarly, our planet is our house, and we must keep it in order and take care of it if we are genuinely concerned about happiness for ourselves, our children, our friends, and other sentient beings who share this great house with us. If we think of the planet as our house or' as "our mother - Mother Earth - we automatically feel concern for our environment. Today we understand that the future of humanity very much depends on our planet, and that the future of the planet very much depends on humanity. But this has not always been so clear to us. Until now, you see, Mother Earth has somehow tolerated sloppy house habits. But now human use, population, and technology have reached that certain stage 'where Mother Earth no longer accepts our presence with silence. In many ways she is now telling us, "My children are behaving badly," she is warning us that there are limits to our actions.
It is not at all wrong for humans to use nature to make useful things, but we must not exploit nature to make useful things, but we must not exploit nature unnecessarily. It is good to live in a house, to have medicines, and to be able to drive somewhere in a car. In the right hands, a machine is not a luxury, but something very useful. A camera, for example, can be used to make pictures that promote understanding”. (17)
3-Peace and survival of life on earth
Peace and survival of life on earth as we know it are threatened by human activities that lack a commitment to humanitarian values. Destruction of nature and natural resources results from ignorance, greed, and lack of respect for the earth's living things. This lack of respect extends even to the earth's human descendants, the future generations who will inherit a vastly degraded planet if world peace doesn't become a reality and if destruction of the natural environment continues at the present rate.
Our ancestors viewed the earth as rich and bountiful, which it is. Many people in the past also saw nature as inexhaustibly sustainable, which we now know is the case only if we care for it. It is not difficult to forgive destruction in the past that resulted from ignorance. Today, however, we have access to more information. It is essential that we re-examine ethically what we have inherited, what we are responsible for, and what we will pass on to coming generations.
Clearly this is a pivotal generation. Global communication is possible, yet confrontations take place more often than meaningful dialogues for peace. Our marvels of science and technology are matched, if not outweighed, by many current tragedies, including human starvation in some parts of the world and extinction of other life forms. Exploration of outer space takes place at the same time the earth's own oceans, seas, and freshwater areas grow increasingly polluted, and their life forms are still largely unknown or misunderstood. Many of the earth's habitats, animals, plants, insects and even microorganisms that we know as rare my not be known at all by future generations. We have the capability and the responsibility. We must act before it is too late.” (18)
Buddhism is the only religion able to cope with modern scientific needs – Albert Einstein.
FOR ALL THOSE REASONS WE CAN SAY THAT: BUDDHISM IS THE GREATEST RELIGION IN THE WORLD.
NHU-TANG LAM PhD.
(1)Buddha Weekly 2017: NOTES: Low estimate according to Adherents.com, “World’s Buddhist Population” Dr. DayaHewapathirane. Also, information extrapolated from CIA’s World Fact Book , Pew Research 2010, “Moscow’s First Buddhist Temple” World Religion News
 Stats from  above and from “Largest Buddhist Populations” Buddhanet.net.
(9):1958 Niels Bohr, Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge, (edited by John Wiley and Sons, 1958) p. 20.
(10): ""Buddhism and Science: Probing the Boundaries of Faith and Reason," Verhoeven, Martin J., ''Religion East and West'', Issue 1, June 2001, pp. 77-97". Online.sfsu.edu. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
(11): J. R. Oppenheimer, Science and the Common Understanding, (Oxford University Press, 1954) pp 8-9.
(12):Religion and Science (1930) , Wikipedia 2017
(13):Waylon Lewis 5-4-2012; Elephant Journal
(16), (17), (18): Excerpt from My Tibet by H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai lama: Thames and Hudson Ltd., London, 1990 (p 79-80). (The Dalai Lama we