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Cultural Life, Living Sprituality and The Role of Religion in Asean

27/07/201715:20(Xem: 2669)
Cultural Life, Living Sprituality and The Role of Religion in Asean

Duc The Ton 16
Asia
CULTURAL LIFE, LIVING
SPIRITUALITY  
 AND THE
ROLE 0F RELIGION IN ASEAN

o0o

By Nhu-Tang Lam, Ph.D.

 

 

 

The Most Venerables, Venerables, Professors, Researchers, Monks, Nuns, Lay Buddhists, and every bodies are present today.

I would like to introduce cultural life, living spirituality of  ASEAN countries and discussing the role of  religion in this area.

 

A-ASEAN: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations:

I-TEN COUNTRIES IN ASEAN

1-Nation of Brunei. 2-Kingdom of Cambodia. 3-Republic of Indonesia. 4-Lao People’s Democratic Republic. 5-Malaysia. 6-Republic of the Union of Myanma. 7-Republic of the Philippines. 8-Republic of Singapore. 9-Kingdom of Thailand. 10-Socialist Republic of Vietnam. 
                                                                                                                                                           

II-PURPOSE

As set out in the ASEAN Declaration, the aims and purposes of ASEAN are:

  • To accelerate economic growth, social progress, and cultural development in the region.
  • To promote regional peace and stability.
  • To promote collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest.
  • To provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities.
  • To collaborate for the better utilisation of agriculture and industry to raise the living standards of the people.
  • To promote Southeast Asian studies.
  • To maintain close, beneficial co-operation with existing international organisations with similar aims and purposes. [1]

III-ASEAN ECONOMIC REVIEW

List of ASEAN countries GDP - data are according to International Monetary Fund's January 2017 estimates[2].

Rank

Country

Population
in million

GDP Nominal
millions of
USD

GDP Nominal
per capita
USD

GDP (PPP)
millions of
USD

GDP (PPP)
per capita
USD

1

 Indonesia

258.802

1,020,515

3,895

3,257,123

12,432

2

 Thailand

68.981

432,898

6,265

1,226,407

17,749

3

 Philippines

104.195

329,716

3,102

878,908

8,270

4

 Malaysia

31.716

309,860

9,623

922,057

28,636

5

 Singapore

5.591

291,861

51,431

514,837

90,724

6

 Vietnam

92.637

215,829

2,305

648,234

6,925

7

 Myanmar

52.254

68,277

1,212

342,205

6,501

8

 Cambodia

15.776

19,476

1,144

64,365

4,020

9

 Laos

7.163

13,761

1,787

44,880

6,149

10

 Brunei

0.423

10,458

30,993

35,817

83,513

 


IV-RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN ASEAN

Religious Demographics of Southeast Asian Nations/Dependent Territories

Country

Religions

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Predominantly Hinduism, with significant Muslim, Christian, and Sikh minorities

Brunei

Islam (67%), Buddhism, Christianity, others (indigenous beliefs, etc.)

Burma

Buddhism (89%), Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Animism, others

Cambodia

Buddhism (97%), Islam, Christianity, Animism, others

Christmas Island

Buddhism, Islam, Christianity

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Islam (80%), others

East Timor

Roman Catholicism (97%), Islam, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism

Indonesia

Islam (87.18%), Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, others

Laos

Buddhism (67%), Animism, Christianity, others

Malaysia

Islam (60.4%), Buddhism (19.8%), Christianity, Hinduism, Animism

Philippines

Roman Catholicism (80%), Islam (11%),Other Christian(3%), Buddhism (2%), Animism (1.25%), others (0.35%)

Singapore

Buddhism (33%), Christianity (18.8%), Islam, Taoism, Hinduism, others

Thailand

Buddhism (93.83%), Islam (4.56%), Christianity (0.8%), Hinduism (0.011%), others (0.079%)

Vietnam

Buddhism (70.4%), Christianity (8.2%), Muslim (0.2%), Others.

 

This page was last modified on March 15, 2017.

 

B-CULTURE AND RELIGION IN VIETNAM

I-CULTURAL LIFE

Vietnam's culture has developed over the centuries from indigenous ancient Đông Sơn, Sa Huỳnh, Óc Eo cultures with wet rice agriculture as its economic base. Vietnamese society is structured around làng (ancestral villages). All Vietnamese mark a common ancestral anniversary on the tenth day of the third lunar month.

The national religion of Buddhism is strongly entwined with popular culture. In recent centuries, the influences of Western cultures, have become evident in Vietnam.

The traditional focuses of Vietnamese culture are humanity, compassion, tolerance and harmony ; family and community values are highly regarded. Vietnam reveres a number of key cultural symbols, such as the Vietnamese dragon. Vietnam's National Father, Lạc Long Quân, is depicted as a holy dragon. The lạc – a holy bird representing Vietnam's National Mother, Âu Cơ – is another prominent symbol, while turtle and horse images are also revered [3].

II-LIVING SPIRITUALITY

Vietnamese adhere to indigenous religions, 2017 estimate: 70.4% Buddhism [41], 8.2% to Christianity, others.

Buddhists came from India, directly arrived in Vietnam (Luy Lau) about first century BC to transmit Buddhism for Vietnamese. Then many years later Buddhism from Vietnam has been transmitted into China [4].

Vietnamese Buddhism Zen Master KHƯƠNG TĂNG HỘI  has arrived in Kien Nghiep (Nam Kinh) of China in the year 247,  established Kien So Buddhism temple, then teaching Buddhism Zen for Chinese[5].

Bodhidharma Zen Master came from India, in 502, He arrived in China to teach Buddhism Zen. So that He arrived in China 255 years later than Vietnamese Zen Master KHUONG TANG HOI arrived in Nam Kinh [6].

As we known Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva was the Man Statue coming from India, however, in Vietnam before the year 1049 the Female Statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva was appeared. Then This Female Statue was appeared In China about 13th century (It was later than in Vietnam about 300 years) [7].

Almost Vietnamese and asian are very respectful Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva in the female statue.

 

C- CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN ASEAN

DECLARATION ON ASEAN UNITY IN CULTURAL DIVERSITY: TOWARDS STRENGTHENING  ASEAN COMMUNITY:

1. PROMOTING AN ASEAN MINDSET

2. PROTECTION, PROMOTION AND UTILIZATION OF ASEAN CULTURAL  DIVERSITY

3. ENHANCEMENT OF CULTURAL CREATIVITY AND INDUSTRY

4. CULTURE AS A MEANS TOWARDS AN ASEAN CARING AND SHARING SOCIETY

5. HUMAN RESOURCE AND NETWORKING DEVELOPMENT IN THE CULTURAL CONTEXT

6. COOPERATION WITH OTHER ASEAN SECTORAL BODIES 

ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts (AMCA) will seek to cooperate with other ASEAN Sectoral Bodies in the utilisation and promotion of culture, in areas such as disaster management and humanitarian assistance, environmental protection, promotion of biodiversity, education, and sports. 

SIGNED in Bali, Indonesia, this Seventeenth day of November, in the Year Two Thousand and Eleven, in a single original copy in the English Language [8].

 

D-RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND THE ASEAN HUMAIN RIGHTS DECLARATION

The relevant Article 22 of the AHRD states:

“22. Every person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. All forms of intolerance, discrimination and incitement of hatred based on religion and beliefs shall be eliminated.

DONE in Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia, this Eighteenth Day of November in the Year Two Thousand and Twelve, in a single original in the English language.”

 

E-THE ROLE OF RELIGION

UN 's Declarations related to religious freedom: Article 1: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have a religion or whatever belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching”.  [9]

RELIGION IN ACTION:

*Religion in Action for  Social Development.

*Establishment of order in the world and for the peaceful contentment.

*Primary force for social progress, motivating individuals to develop spiritual qualities.

*Empowering them to sacrifice for their fellow human-beings.

*Contribute to the betterment of their communities.

*Universal spiritual of religion are tolerance, compassion, love, justice, humility, sacrifice, trustworthiness, dedication…

*The foundations of progressive civilisation… .

 

F-THE ROLE OF BUDDHISM

 

I-INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE

 

The first and foremost thing is to study our own religion carefully, especially, about the technique used by the Buddha in establishing his religion in Brahmanical culture which has entirely different values. One might be surprised to find out that the very technique that the Buddha used in his days was also Inter-religious Dialogue.

Before Socratics, Plato, Aristotle ...etc, and all those Hellenistic philosophical tradition, to was the Buddha who introduced the art of dialogue of the world. He explained his doctrine be using the terminology of the Vedic culture.

Although there are numerous disagreements between Buddhism and the religion of the Veda, but the Buddha never rejected the Brahmanical values. He put himself as a teacher of Brahmins who was capable to show the way of a Brahmin born in the society to be a real Brahmin. There are many technical terms in Buddhism which have been converted from Brahmanical terminology, but all their meanings have been revalued, suitable for Buddhist philosophy.

The Buddha has also strongly emphasised that his religion must not be spread by means of violence of all kinds, but through the practice of morality alone. His teaching, there fore, makes Buddhism a dialogue religion by nature.

Buddhism can take a leading role in our modern societies, not only to supplement the advance of science and technology with its own spiritual values enriched with intellectual treasure, and keep them in balance, but also can provide the people of the Western countries the profound and practical meditation enabling them to experience " the Real Peace" without touching their own religious faith.

To achieve this goal, Buddhist of all schools should have a dialogue among themselves in order to learn about each other, share among each other, and work closely together for the sake of all mankind, regardless of nationality, race or religious belief.

The last thing that I may suggest here is that we Buddhist from all different countries should have a single legitimate organisation for inter-religious dialogue, not only to participate with other religions, but also to preserve our own identity. This should be done as soon as possible .

 

II- VISION, MISSION AND GOALS

 

Also Buddhism  may focus on :  Vision, Mission and Goals:

 

Vision:

*Motivate future generations to gain and apply profound understanding of the Buddha-dhamma in every aspect of life.

*Raise the quality of scholarly work within Buddhist Studies and across other academic endeavors.

*Contribute to meeting the challenges that face human society world-wide.

Mission:

*Support and collaborate with members to ensure humanity can benefit from the richness and variety of the multidimensional Buddhist traditions.

*Provide a framework  towards better understanding diverse policies and activities.

*Collaborate in administration, teaching, research and outreach.

Recognize each other’s qualifications.

Goals:

*Propagate the Buddha-dhamma through collaborative academic channels.

*Eliminate Buddhist sectarian, national, and institutional barriers.

 

*Raise the academic standards throughout the Buddhist world.

*Maximize academic potentials and abilities.

 

G-CONCLUSION

WE ARE HOLDING THE REINS OF OUR LIFE

Today one may ask the question: Are we in a situation where people are really happy or are we in a situation where people at last have realised that in spite of all that they could gain, they have lost something in the form of some fundamental aspects of life? Who is to be blamed? Are we to blame science? Are we to blame technology? Are we to blame the political systems? Are we to blame the economic system that we have inherited or we have developed? Or are we to blame ourselves?

We are our own Master of our life . It is easy to blame a person, saying "we have let an opportunity Going back to the Buddha's own way of looking at the problem we will say, we hold the reins of life in our hands. Because whatever has gone wrong we are responsible, we are our own master. We have let it go - allowed it away out pass. It has slipped away from our hands!".

We have only one planet to live together. The religion exists to serve people for better and better in all domains of life.

 

 

 

By Nhu-Tang Lam, Ph. D.

 

 

References:

[1] The Asean Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) Bangkok, 8 August 1967". ASEAN. Retrieved 17 June 2015.

[2] ^ {{cite web|title=World Economic Outlook Database October 2017|url=https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2017/update/01/pdf/0117.pdf

 [3] Animism in Vietnam's culture". Vietnam-Holidays.co.uk. Retrieved 1 October 2012.

 [4]www.quangduc.com/LNT

[5]Thuvien.thichnhathanh.org

[6]Thuvien.thichnhathanh.org

[7]www.quangduc/HuongTuBi

[8] www.asean.org/storage/archive/documents/19th summit/Culture.pdf. 

[9]UNITED NATIONS' DECLARATIONS
 ON RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE

 UN declarations related to religious freedom. (adopted by the 36th session of the United Nations General Assembly on 1981-NOV-25) .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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