Sunday, November 5, 2006


I've written before about how certain types of organizations (Buddhist, Interfaith) might organize their outreach, but the best salespeople are always going to be someone's coworker, neighbor, team member, etc. In Christianity, especially within the Evangelical community, witnessing is the primary method by which the laity reach out to their peers. This is most often associated with trying to tell people your beliefs and then convince them through argument, persuasion, or insistent persistence.

Is the model that Buddhism should emulate? Personally, I would say "no". Soka Gakkai was (in)famous for practicing shakabuku, a form of proselytizing very similar the techniques frequently used by Evangelical Christians. So what does one do if they want to bring the dharma to sentient beings who don't walk into a sangha or temple?

The best form of proselytizing is to live your beliefs and demonstrate their virtues. To simply tell people you are right and/or argue about evidence or proof is going to generally turn people off. If people are impressed by your conduct and temperament, they will want to know what it is the inspires and motivates you, giving an opening to share your practice and realization.

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