Thursday, July 23, 2009

Who are the false and evil monks/prophets/rules of the age?

An interesting suggestion by Ryuei in his series on the relevance of the teachings of Nichiren, especially his treatise Rissho Ankoku Ron, for contemporary American society...
A statue of Nichiren outside Honnoji temple on...Image via Wikipedia
I have talked about the rulers and expressed my view that we are in a sense the rulers and the Dharma we are held accountable to as a society is the Dharma of international law, human rights, and common decency. But who are the false and evil monks of this age? I would say that they are those who are responsible for teaching us our worldviews, values, morality and ethics. They are the priests, ministers, rabbis, imams, scientists, doctors, psychologists, and of course school teachers. Now Nichiren was not concerned with reforming other religions or even with converting other people to Buddhism since he lived in a society where everyone was Buddhist. His concern was with what kind of Buddhism people were going to follow - a false one that distorted the Buddha’s teachings or an authentic Buddhism that was in accord with the Buddha's teachings. We, however, live in a pluralistic society where Buddhism

is a minority view and has only recently begun to have an impact on our culture and its worldview and values. As yet, that impact is not very strong, and may amount to no more than a fad. But I think that, Buddhist or not, our society should be committed to the truth and to a compassionate engagement with each other and the rest of the world. This is what our age's teachers should be held accountable for. This goes beyond religious affiliation. The commitment to truth, justice, and compassion should be a universal and deeply ecumenical endeavor that goes beyond particular dogmas. In promoting a commitment to truth, justice, and compassion (and not necessarily just that) I believe that we will be living in the spirit of the Rissho Ankoku Ron wherein the health and welfare of society is dependent on its fidelity to the Dharma, the true nature of reality.

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