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Buddhism Buddhism Wins Best Religion in the World Award!

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Admin Singh, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    In advance of their annual Leading Figure award to a religious figure who has done the most to advance the cause of humanism and peace, the Geneva-based International Coalition for the Advancement of Religious and Spirituality (ICARUS) has chosen to bestow a special award this year on the Buddhist Community. "We typically prefer an under-the-radar approach for the organization, as we try to embody the spirit of modesty found in the greatest traditions," said ICARUS director Hans Groehlichen in a phone conference Monday. "But with organized religion increasingly used as a tool to separate and inflame rather than bring together, we felt we had to take the unusual step of creating a "Best Religion in the World" award and making a bit of a stir, to inspire other religious leaders to see what is possible when you practice compassion."
    Groehlichen said the award was voted on by an international roundtable of more than 200 religious leaders from every part of the spiritual spectrum. "It was interesting to note that once we supplied the criteria, many religious leaders voted for Buddhism rather than their own religion," said Groehlichen. "Buddhists actually make up a tiny minority of our membership, so it was fascinating but quite exciting that they won."

    Criteria included factors such as promoting personal and community peace, increasing compassion and a sense of connection, and encouraging preservation of the natural environment. Groehlichen continued "The biggest factor for us is that ICARUS was founded by spiritual and religious people to bring the concepts of non-violence to prominence in society. One of the key questions in our voting process was which religion actually practices non-violence."

    When presenting the information to the voting members, ICARUS researched each of the 38 religions on the ballot extensively, offering background, philosophy, and the religions role in government and warfare. Jonna Hult, Director of Research for ICARUS said "It wasn't a surprise to me that Buddhism won Best Religion in the World, because we could find literally not one single instance of a war fought in the name of Buddhism, in contrast to every other religion that seems to keep a gun in the closet just in case God makes a mistake. We were hard pressed to even find a Buddhist that had ever been in an army. These people practice what they preach to an extent we simply could not document with any other spiritual tradition."

    At least one Catholic priest spoke out on behalf of Buddhism. Father Ted O'Shaughnessy said from Belfast, "As much as I love the Catholic Church, it has always bothered me to no end that we preach love in our scripture yet then claim to know God's will when it comes to killing other humans. For that reason, I did have to cast my vote for the Buddhists." And Muslim Cleric Tal Bin Wassad agreed from Pakistan via his translator. "While I am a devout Muslim, I can see how much anger and bloodshed is channeled into religious expression rather than dealt with on a personal level. The Buddhists have that figured out." Bin Wassad, the ICARUS voting member for Pakistan's Muslim community continued, "In fact, some of my best friends are Buddhist." And Rabbi Shmuel Wasserstein said from Jerusalem, "Of course, I love Judaism, and I think it's the greatest religion in the world. But to be honest, I've been practicing Vipassana meditation every day before minyan (daily Jewish prayer) since 1993. So I get it."

    Groehlichen said that the plan was for the award to Buddhism for "Best Religion in the World" to be given to leaders from the various lineages in the Buddhist community. However, there was one snag. "Basically we can't find anyone to give it to," said Groehlichen in a followup call late Tuesday. "All the Buddhists we call keep saying they don't want the award." Groehlichen explained the strange behavior, saying "Basically they are all saying they are a philosophical tradition, not a religion. But that doesn't change the fact that with this award we acknowledge their philosophy of personal responsibility and personal transformation to be the best in the world and the most important for the challenges facing every individual and all living beings in the coming centuries."

    When asked why the Burmese Buddhist community refused the award, Buddhist monk Bhante Ghurata Hanta said from Burma, "We are grateful for the acknowledgement, but we give this award to all humanity, for Buddha nature lies within each of us." Groehlichen went on to say "We're going to keep calling around until we find a Buddhist who will accept it. We'll let you know when we do."
     
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  3. dalbirk

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    All I can say that Sikhs in general ,Sikh Religious scholars or figures have done a very bad job of selling the whole philosophy of Sikhism to all the the world as I feel that Sikhism is far far superior to Buddhism as far as the concept of Universal Brotherhood of mankind, Equal position of women , accepting the life of householder as the best , belief in One God , no preistly class , the concept of Miri-Piri , Defence of the weak are concerened which are totally missing in Buddhism .
     
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  4. AusDesi

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    "priestly class" in Buddhism is the same as Sikhism. Anyone can become a monk.
     
  5. spnadmin

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    Aus Desi ji

    The discussion needs to go back to the drawing board on this point. There are neither priests nor monks nor any kind of formal clergy within Sikhism.:)More than a matter of terminiology, it is a fact bordering on a prime notion that has its roots deep within the foundations of the Sikh faith. References to Sikh priests per usual set the teeth of many of us on edge, and is forgiven in reading because of the writer's ignorance or misguided need to use analogies to clarify when instead the word is very misleading. The prevalence of satgurus and babas in many Sikh faiths may create the impression of a priestly class but again you may have noticed how often their priestly-lie authority is the cause of a lot of controversy. Again, this is something that rises out of the history and the foundations of Sikh adherence to Sri Guru Granth Sahib has the only lasting Guru.
     
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  6. AusDesi

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    You might be confusing Guru with Monk. They are separate things.

    I don't see any differences between Monks and Paathis of Sikhism.

    Its different for Tibetan Buddhism though i agree.

    Anyways, I think Buddhism got it only because of the peacful nature. Plus i think its a godless religion so it never has to argue with any others.
     
  7. Tejwant Singh

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    Aus Desi ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    I am sorry to say that you are totally wrong in your assessement. We have custodians of the Gurdwaras, not priests.

    You also mentioned Paathis in one of your other posts. Anyone can be a Paathi. All Sikhs who read SGGS are paathis. Lots of us go to people's houses or to the Gurdawaras where Akhand Paaths are taking place and offer ourselves to do Paath as seva.

    Same goes for anand Karaj ( Marriage). Anyone who reads SGGS can sit and read the Lavaan.

    Sikhi is very unique in that aspect as compare to the religions of the world.

    That is why for me Sikhi is not a religion, a faith nor a belief system, but a way of life with the universal message of open mindedness and pragmatism.


    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  8. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Dalbirk ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    If one calls something superior than the other, than it implies that there is something that is inferior.

    I would just call Sikhi a very unique and pragmatic way of looking at life and our surroundings than the religions of the world.

    Yes, you are right about our inability to share this wonderful way with others because we ourselves are ignorant about the message of Gurbani and immerse ourselves into mechanical rituals rather than studying, understanding and hence practicing Gurbani in our lives. Once we start doing that then the true message of Gurbani will be shone through our deeds for anyone and everyone to take notice.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  9. spnadmin

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    Aus Desi ji

    I am not confused about anything in relation to this thread. On that point I am certain. So let me continue -- in so doing also touching on some recent statements by you, and also Tejwant ji and dalbirk ji.

    1. No legitimate analogy can be made between clergy of other religions and granthis and paathis of Sikhism. On this matter forum member Tejwant ji is completely correct. Sikhism, by the design of Guru Nanak. and fast-forward a bit, also Guru Amar Das envisioned a panth in which each and every individual willingly assumed the responsibility of being a student of the Shabad of the Guru. To put it a different way, in Sikhism there are no intermediaries between a Sikh and the Guru, no one to filter the message. This is a fact which demonstrates how much trust our Gurus had that, according to the hukam of Akaal and Guru's kirpa, mercy, each one of us could "save" ourselves, cross the world ocean, by obtaining the Light of the Satguru.

    Without this understanding, one does not understand Sikhism.

    2. Monks in both Theraveda and Mahayana traditions, with Tibetan Buddhism being a branch of the Mahayana, submit to a lifetime of discipline that includes an ascetic way of life, poverty, formal study, and meditation. In addition they are "students" of the teachings of Buddha, and in time acquire significant expertise in their study of the Pali texts, and Vedic and Tantric scriptures as well. They may even acquire expertise in Sanskrit and Pali languages. Theirs is a lifetime endeavor. Over hundreds of years each branch within these two traditions has crafted impressive methods for the "formal" teaching of dharma and mastery of dogma. Of course there is wide variation in the ways and means for doing this, with Zen Buddhism being the most famous for its intuitive, experiential approach.

    3. Within Buddhism there are some wider differences than my comments above may appear to describe. Here is where I am specifically referring to dalbirk ji's accurate statement regarding the status of women. In the Theraveda tradition, women cannot achieve mukhti. However, women must live lives of merit so that their deeds and misdeeds do not prevent the significant men in their lives from achieving mukhti. Theraveda is also the more scholastic and ascetic tradition, and monks and nuns in that tradition are celibate. Within some branches of Mahayana monks do marry, but only after a period of monastic life. They may decide to remain celibate in marriage, and adopt children.

    Mahayana Buddhism came about as a break away from the Theraveda, in part as a reaction to the Theraveda position on mukhti. Mahayana means "the greater vehicle" because in Mahayana Buddhism all sentient beings are carried to mukhti. And women are capable of mukhti. And in Mahayana those who achieve a realized consciousness "delay" final liberation and reincarnate so that in each generation they will be able to teach more and more people how to live in dharma. Final liberation does not/will not occur until all sentient beings have been liberated.

    I think we can safely infer that Buddhism has a more complex set of dogmatic teachings than Sikhism. There is no dogma within Sikhism, and we only need Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj. Buddhism possesses a more formal and traditional structure for teaching than is found in Sikhism, and possesses a formal clergy to do that teaching. A possible exception in Sikhism would be the Nirmala and Udasis sects which are specialized orders of celibates, ascetics and, for the Nirmalas, scholars. We can also infer that mukhti is not so clearly within reach of each and every person within each and every generation in contrast to Sikhism.

    Forgive any offense.
     
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