The entire concept of Buddhism lies in the teachings of Lord Buddha, that He preached to His disciples after attaining enlightenment in 528 BCE in BbodhGaya. After the mahaparinirvana of Gautam Buddha(483 BCE), the whole phase of the timeline of Buddhist history went through various ups and downs. The division of Buddhism into various sects, arrival of Islam in India and other parts of the world, the revival of Hinduism and the Bhakti movement - whatever it had to be, though slowed down the pace of Buddhism for a time being, but could not put an end over it permanently. The existence of Buddhism in today's stage of life proves that the Buddha's teachings still have relevance in our lives.
The Dhamma and Theistic Religions
The term, 'Theism' essentially means the service of an unseen God.
Hinduism, Islam and Christianity - all three major religions of the world
affirm the existence of an all-powerful creator God, whereas the Buddha had
long ago repudiated the notion of a supreme God.
It has been widely agreed upon the fact that Buddhism emerged as an
offshoot of Hinduism. But, still it does not accept the notion of a supreme
deity as followed in Hinduism. Similarly, the Buddhist doctrine do not agree
with other two religions - Islam and Christianity, which have been
fundamentally intolerant religions dedicated to the goal of converting
others, and persecuting those of different faiths.
The Buddhist Dhamma could not serve for a longer term in its birthplace,
India because the revival of Hinduism in the 8th century CE and the arrival
of Islam due to the Arab's invasion of India in the 12th century CE worked
against Buddhism. However, it is another point that there a number of
Buddhists in India, curtsey to the Buddhist religious leader, the Dalai
Lama, who has been in India for more than four decades after his exile from
Tibet. Similarly, The Buddhist philosophy of Dhamma could not establish its
root in the Islamic and Christian countries, because these two religions and
their believers have always been stuck up with their idea of a supreme
deity, thereby not accepting the doctrine of Dhamma.
Buddhism and Humanism
The Dhamma or the Buddhist doctrine primarily appeals to the dignity of
human beings rather than glorifying the God's notion, His free will and His
superiority over the nature - unlike the way the theists define humanism.
Thus, Dhamma is a humanistic philosophy, which in today's world is gaining
significance because it makes an individual the master of his own destiny.
According to Buddhism, the human form is the only form in the entire
universe, which is most conducive to deliverance. The Buddhist concept
therefore believes in the fundamental idea of self-reliance and humanism
rather than that of an external agency.
The Dhamma and Materialism
world is a materialistic world as people (even those who call themselves
'religious') believe that the physical matter is the only reality and
worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life.
Such materialistic view clearly denies the existence of an absolute and
objective moral standard.
But the Dhamma, as per the Buddhist school of thought, do not accept the
materialistic view, which is based on the worldly desires and insists on the
existence of moral conduct, goodness, truth and justice. However, Buddhism
is not against the growth of material possessions unless and until it goes
against the principles of right livelihood
According to Buddhism, this material gain and crave for more and more has
been the root cause of the seriously heightening conflict or rivalry not
only among societies and nations, but even among the members of the same
family, which is a major concern today, and that's why, as per the Buddhist
ethics, one should follow the pursuit of a middle policy.
The Dhamma and Science
The Dhamma closely relates to what is today understood by Science. The
myths of nature and life that had captivated the humans have not only been
proved wrong by science but also resembles to what the Buddha's Dhamma
While other religions and the theists turn their backs to the scientific
discoveries, Buddhism on the other hand, always reconcile the scientific
discoveries with its basic laws for Dhamma believes that logic should be the
centre of a man's knowledge and he should not accept anything blindly. Even
the Buddha is believed to have said to His followers that nobody should
accept blindly what He says, rather they should rationalise and then decide
themselves, what is to be believed or followed and what not!
But, Science also has a self-imposed limitation as it has no procedure to
move from positive to normative, but the Dhamma fills this gap as it has the
ability to transcend Science. It is also in this sense that the Dhamma can
be considered a Philosophy.
The Relevance Of Buddhism In The Modern World
Today everybody seems to be under the influence of external pressure and
stressful life. The Dhamma provides ways to free our mind from mental
defilement through meditation and concentration, coupled with the true
understanding of the world, man's role in it and practice of the Buddha's
The Spread Of Buddhism In The Modern World
the modern world, the total number of the Buddhists vary between 230
millions and 500 millions, and even is increasing as the Buddhist ideology,
which is based on logic and science, is appealing modern man with modern
Buddhism in Asia
The concept of Buddhism is familiar to the parts of Asia, as it was in an
Asian country, India where Buddhism had evolved and from this place had
spread to other parts of the world. Almost all the major sects of Buddhism
are prevalent in different parts of the Asian continent. While Tantrayana or
Vajrayana is predominant in Tibet, Mongolia and parts of India , Theravada
Buddhism is being followed in most of the southeast Asian countries such as
Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Similarly, Mahayana Buddhism
remains the most common form in the northern Asian countries like China,
Vietnam, Singapore, China(Chan) and Japan(as Zen Buddhism). The Buddhist
flag that was designed to celebrate the revival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka,
later was accepted as the International Buddhist flag, indicating peace,
harmony and love for all beings.
Buddhism In Other Parts of The World
In the later half of the 19th century, Buddhism as a religion was accepted
by a number of European and American people, who were inspired by the
teachings of Lord Buddha. The translation of the Asian texts (most of the
Pali canons) into English and other western languages further facilitated
the spread of Buddhist ideologies into the western nations.
The presence of the Buddhist temples, monasteries and stupas in countries
like Cambodia, Bangkok, United States of America and states of United
Kingdom proves that Buddhism is being accepted as one of the major religions
throughout the world, thus returning its glorious rhythm.