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Buddhism in the Modern World

Updated: Feb 8



“At the heart of Buddhism lies the figure of the Buddha, or Siddhartha Gautama, who achieved enlightenment and became the Awakened One.” – David M. Eaton, author of Understanding Buddhism: Buddhism for Beginners, A guide that explores the Key Buddhist teachings and path to Zen, Kama and Enlightenment (Journey Of Wisdom)



The Indus Valley Civilization was in present-day Pakistan and Western India, and the empire ruled a large territory during ancient times, larger than the combined areas of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The western border of the Indus Valley Civilization was near the present-day Iran-Pakistan border. According to V.T. Rajshekar, the original inhabitants of India were dark-skinned, and they closely resembled African people in physical characteristics. They founded the Indus Valley Civilization which, according to historians, was one of the world’s first and most glorious. The Buddha, a great tribal chieftain who had an Afro hairstyle 2,500 years ago.

 

Buddhism is an ancient spiritual tradition that has captivated the hearts and minds of people for centuries. All world religions have their core beliefs and for Buddhists, that is the Four Noble Truths, which provide an understanding of the human condition and offer a transformative path toward inner peace and freedom. The Four Noble Truths also examine the nature of suffering, its causes, and the path to liberation. The Four Noble Truths outlines the Eightfold Path, which provides a particle guide for overcoming suffering and gaining liberation. The Eightfold Path is the path to liberation and enlightenment.

 

Buddhism provides insight to cultivate inner peace, compassion, and liberation from suffering. By embracing the wisdom of Buddhism, people open themselves to a transformative journey of self-discovery, spiritual growth, and the realization of their highest potential.  

 

While navigating the complexities of today’s fast-paced society, in a world marked by rapid technological advancements, social and environmental, social and environmental challenges, and increasing levels of stress and disconnection. Buddhism provides a framework and safe haven for personal transformation and societal well-being. The digital age is full of constant distractions and information overload, and the practice of mindfulness can become extremely relevant. Mindfulness helps people develop present-moment awareness, allowing a deeper understanding of thoughts, emotions, and actions. By practicing mindfulness, people can navigate the digital landscape with greater intentionality, reducing stress, enhancing focus, and fostering healthier relationships with technology.


Buddhism’s emphasis on compassion and social engagement is highly relevant in addressing the social and environmental challenges of contemporary society. For instance, the Buddhist concept of “Bodhisattva,” which is one who seeks enlightenment for the benefit of all things, inspires people to extend their compassion beyond personal well-being. By engaging in acts of kindness, like volunteering and advocating for social justice aligns with Buddhist values and contributes to creating a more compassionate society. By embracing the principles of non-harming and compassion, people can contribute to the well-being of not only their immediate communities but also the global community at large. The principles of Buddhism can smoothly integrate with social and environmental activism and can address the urgent need for environmental sustainability. Buddhist teachings on interconnectedness and non-harming can inspire people to take action to protect the planet. In fact, engaged Buddhist organizations and initiatives promote sustainable practices, environmental education, and advocacy for ecological justice.

 

Buddhist principles offer valuable insights for ethical leadership in various domains. The emphasis on compassion, wisdom, and non-harming can guide leaders to make sound decisions and prioritize the well-being of individuals and communities. Mindful leadership practices, such as self-reflection, active listening, and empathy, are slowly being integrated into leadership development programs. Buddhist principles offer valuable insights for conflict resolution and peacebuilding efforts. The practice of mindfulness cultivates self-awareness and emotional regulation, enabling people to respond to conflicts with compassion and non-violence. They also provide a foundation for understanding the root causes of conflicts and promoting reconciliation. Although Buddhism promotes non-violence and compassion, it is not immune to the influence of human actions and historical contexts. Buddhism, like many religious traditions, has faced challenges regarding gender equality. Historical and cultural factors have led to the marginalization of women in certain Buddhist communities. Buddhism itself does not inherently promote gender inequality, and many Buddhist teachings emphasize the inherent worth and potential for awakening all human beings, regardless of gender.   

 

One challenge Buddhism faces is cultural appropriation, where aspects of Buddhist practices and symbols are taken out of context and used inappropriately. This is why it is important to respect people’s spiritual, cultural, and religious traditions and symbols, whether it’s Buddhism, African Spiritualty (i.e., Yoruba, Kemetic, etc.), Christianity, Islam, etc. Buddhism, for example encompasses a wide range of cultural and regional expressions, leading to misconceptions that assume a single Buddhist identity. The diversity in Buddhism includes Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana traditions, as well as the various cultural adaptations across different countries, like Thailand, China, Japan and many more countries. Engaging with diversity of different spiritualities and religions can broaden peoples understanding, challenge preconceived notions, and foster a more inclusive and openminded approach to different spiritualities and religions.  

 

From mindfulness in the digital age to ethical conduct in business, Buddhism offers valuable insights and practices that can guide people towards a more compassionate, mindful, socially just, and sustainable way of living.  


“Indian culture is one of the most fascinating and rich cultures of human kind. Indian history spans several thousands of years and encompasses several periods of spiritual philosophy.” – Dr. Muata Ashby, author of The Ancient Egyptian Buddha: African Origins of Buddhism



 “Buddha is considered the Enlightened One, Blessed One, or to Become awake.” – Dr. Rufus O. Jimerson, author of The Greatness if Black India: Out of Nubia/Kemet to Overcoming White Supremacy

 

“The Buddha, a great tribal chieftain with an Afro hairstyle, 2,500 years ago was the first to lead India’s Black untouchable’s war against Aryan oppressors.” - V.T. Rajshekar




Sources:


Ashby, M. The Ancient Egyptian Buddha: African Origins of Buddhism. Sema Institute. (August 9, 2012). Feb. 5, 2024. p. 5.


CRITICXXTREME. The yes, They Were Black! Series* - THE MON OF THAILAND. CRITICXXTREME. Nov. 17, 2013. Feb. 5, 2024. https://criticxxtreme.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/the-yes-they-were-black-series-the-mon-of-


Eaton, D. Understanding Buddhism: Buddhism for Beginners, A guide that explores the Key Buddhist teachings and path to Zen, Kama and Enlightenment (Journey Of Wisdom). Interbru Global Publishing. (November 26, 2023). Feb. 5, 2024. p. Cover, 4-5, 13, 94-96, 98-99, 101-102, 110, 122.


Jimerson, R. The Greatness of Black India: Out of Nubia/Kemet to Overcoming White Supremacy. Dr. Rufus O. Jimerson. Aug. 6, 2021. Feb. 5, 2024. Location: 340.


Rashidi, R., Sertima, I. African Presence in Early Asia. Transaction Publishers. (June 15, 1986). Feb. 5, 2024. p. 235, 238.


Walker, R. When We Ruled: The Ancient and Mediaeval History of Black Civilizations. Black Classic Press. (May 1, 2011). Feb. 7, 2024. p. 627.






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