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Buddhism In The 21st Century

Over time civilizations grow and change, as do the civilizations people and the values that they hold dear. Because of this religion tends to changes just as fast as the civilizations themselves. Although religions like Buddhism have been around for about 2500 years, Today Buddhism is stronger than ever. In recent years Buddhism has increased in popularity especially in western culture. I believe the Appeal of Buddhism in the 21st Century can be found in the clear path it provides, the disapproval of blind faith, and the responsibility Buddhism encourages us to take responsibility for our actions.

Unlike other popular religions Buddhism lays out a clear path for practitioners to fallow. When Siddhartha Gautama first leaves his palace he is confronted with three different sights. The first sight was of age, the second of a sick man, the third of a corpse, and the last was of an ascetic. These sights set Siddhartha on the search for the truth about suffering. I believe that the logic behind these sight in its self a draw to the religion, each sight holds its own truth. We get old we get sick and we die.

The only thing that we can control is the in-between, what we do with our lives in the here and now, this is what the ascetic represents. Over time Siddhartha came up with the concept of the Four Noble Truths. The first noble truth states that suffering is a characteristic of life. The second truth identifies the cause of suffering as desire. The Third truth states that there is a way to put an end to desire and in turn end suffering. The last truth states that this can be done by fallowing the Nobel Eightfold Path.

I believe much of the appeal of Buddhism in the 21st century can be found in the clear path it provides, the Four Noble Truths present a not only the cause but an explanation and the solution. This is something many religions do not do; many religions only provide an answer for one or two of these questions. In my experience it is rare that all three questions are answered. Many religions expect their practitioners to have blind faith, to put aside the questions they may have and put full trust in their faith alone. This is not something Buddhism dose, rather Buddhism encourages questioning and independent thinking.

This allows practitioners to grow and practice on their own, it also allows Practitioners to question Buddhism’s teaching. In the documentary The Buddha by David Grubin, the encouragement behind independent thinking is explained. Independent thinking is encouraged because it encourages practitioners to ask questions that could potently lead them to the path on enlightenment. It is believed the that Buddha encouraged his fallowers to debate and argue, Modern practitioners are encouraged to question the Buddha’s woks, to investigate biased on reason, through logical investigation.

If something contradicts in Buddha’s own word, then we have the right to reject it I believe this is an important to 21st century Buddhist because it allows practitioners to have more independence than many other religions allow. Like many religions Buddhism encourages those who practice to take responsibility for their actions. Although unlike many religions Buddhism does not give its fallowers a set of rules to fallow, rather Buddhism gives a list of concepts that each individuals should attempt to live by.

These guide lines are called the Eightfold path; it consists of eight concepts right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. I believe that theses concepts allow fallowers of Buddhism to live without the ridged structure that many religions provide, while still living by the basic principles that Buddhism provides. It gives vague concepts that are open to the individual interpretation, this allows each fallower to identify what each step means for themselves. This allows each individual to identify the best why they can achieve this goal.

I believe that Eight Fold Path I the main draw to Buddhism, the Eight Fold Path lays out a clear way to achieve enlightenment by giving a list of guidelines that are simple and straight to the point. These guidelines are not religious in the since that they do not mention a god or deity, they focused on the actions that individuals can attempt to achieve in the here and now. The guidelines the Eight Fold Path presents are more like guides to be a good person, because of this it can be easily be adapted into other religions or spiritual practices it has become a common practice in the 21st century.

Although many religions popularity fades over time Buddhism has remained a popular for many years. In fact, Buddhism is become a more common practice within western populations since the start of the 21th century. I believe that this is because Buddhism provides a clear path, disapproves of simply accepting teachings based on devotion, and the responsibility Buddhism encourages us to take responsibility for our actions. I believe that as many people continue to separate from covenantal religion the popularity of Buddhism in the 21st century will only increase.

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