Out of the Box Conference  University of Maribor    Maribor, Slovenia    15-17 May 2012                            1
Buddhist Philosophy       and  Modern Society                      2
The modern civilization proclaims that themodern society is highly advanced with itsachievements in finding new social sys...
Still our world is ravaged by inequality, injustice,oppression, war, violence and consumerism.The rate of suicide in both ...
The technological innovations have beenwonderful but the dark side of the story is amater of great concern.Human beings ha...
Due to our hatred and animosity we have madethis world insecure where we live with constantfear.This fact is reflected by ...
Global military expenditure, in the recentyears, stands at over 1.6 billion dollars in ayear.There has been a steep escala...
8
9
If the total amount of money spenton defense is utilized for health,education or for any other peacefulpurpose in the worl...
The United Nation Organization wasestablished to be committed topreserving peace through internationalcooperation and coll...
While we have defence ministry as oneof the most prominent organs of thegovernment in every country, strangely,we have no ...
The two economic systems viz. thecommunism and the capitalism became thefoundations of different political and socialsyste...
The main reason behind the failure is thatthe propounders of the view and its leadersfailed to trace and address the very ...
Capitalism, on the other hand, is applauded for itsfree market and efficient production etc. however,we have seen the mult...
We can sum up that the advancement ofmodern society is basically materialisticin nature and the very approach behindthe ad...
Here, I would like to emphatically state thatmodern civilization has neglected theimportance of inner world, the mind, whi...
The great Buddhist master Shantideva has said:Even those who wish to find happiness andovercome sufferingWonder with no ai...
He has further said:Although wishing to be free from suffering,They run towards suffering itself.Although wishing to have ...
In the perspective of modern civilization,craving, hatred, desire, ignorance etc. areinherently associated with our lives ...
However, according to Buddhism, thesemental entities are identified as the afflictivemental phenomena which are responsibl...
We have to come out of the box ofthe thinking culture that:*Problems can be genuinely solved with materialistic and   exte...
Here on we need to develop new perspectivesThat:*The failures and problems of modern civilization  is due to ignoring the ...
Buddha has identified the negative mentalelements as the origin of suffering in his firstdiscourse at Sarnath while demons...
According to Buddhism, afflictive mental elements aredestructive in nature.When anger, for example, arises the first victi...
Since the mental factors are extremelyimportant, Buddha and the followingBuddhist masters have extensivelyelaborated the s...
Each of these mental elements are explainedin great detail with:-individual characteristics,-the mode of origination,-envi...
Various methods of confronting the negativemental elements are extensivelydemonstrated with different levels:-evading them...
There is extensive account of the positive mentalphenomena like love, compassion, generosity, patience,altruism and so for...
Since more than two decades His Holiness the Dalai Lamahas been having dialogs with many leading scientists:physicists, bi...
The results have bee ground breaking in various areas.They found that intensive meditation, for example, oncompassion brin...
It is found that due to the cultivation of positives mentalattitudes, with the help of meditation, the personconcerned is ...
Many clinical researches are being undertaken inconjunction with Buddhist meditation to work onvarious problems associated...
According to Buddhist Philosophy, all the afflictive mentalstates arise due to wrongly perceiving the objects in adistorte...
Because things appear as truly existent, which is afabrication, inappropriate attitude develops andthereafter hatred and a...
Thus according to Buddhism, suffering and happiness inan individuals life or in a society are driven by the actionof the p...
Therefore, we must pay attention to the significant role ofthe mind in our life.Modern education system must include the m...
Thank you            38
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OBC | Buddhist philosophy and modern society

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Geshe Ngawang Samten, Central Univ. of Tibetan Studies, India
Buddhist philosophy and modern society

http://obc2012.outofthebox.si/

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OBC | Buddhist philosophy and modern society

  1. 1. Out of the Box Conference University of Maribor Maribor, Slovenia 15-17 May 2012 1
  2. 2. Buddhist Philosophy and Modern Society 2
  3. 3. The modern civilization proclaims that themodern society is highly advanced with itsachievements in finding new social systems,economic systems, scientific inventions anddiscoveries and technological innovations.Yes, there have undeniably been remarkablestrides taken in the material world with theobjective of making our life happier and easier. 3
  4. 4. Still our world is ravaged by inequality, injustice,oppression, war, violence and consumerism.The rate of suicide in both the developed anddeveloping countries itself is a clear indicationof the fact that we have badly failed in makingthis world a better place to live in with peaceand happiness. 4
  5. 5. The technological innovations have beenwonderful but the dark side of the story is amater of great concern.Human beings have made extremely powerfulatomic and nuclear bombs that can destroy thethis planet ten times. 5
  6. 6. Due to our hatred and animosity we have madethis world insecure where we live with constantfear.This fact is reflected by the magnitude of scaleof the military expenditures made at the globallevel. 6
  7. 7. Global military expenditure, in the recentyears, stands at over 1.6 billion dollars in ayear.There has been a steep escalation in themilitary expenditure since 2001. 7
  8. 8. 8
  9. 9. 9
  10. 10. If the total amount of money spenton defense is utilized for health,education or for any other peacefulpurpose in the world, it can coverevery single person on this earthwith 236 dollars each. 10
  11. 11. The United Nation Organization wasestablished to be committed topreserving peace through internationalcooperation and collective security.Yet, the UNO’s entire budget is just atiny fraction of the world’s militaryexpenditure, approximately 1.8% 11
  12. 12. While we have defence ministry as oneof the most prominent organs of thegovernment in every country, strangely,we have no ministry for peace, perhaps,in any country around the world. Thisitself reflects a significant fact that theworld culture is dominated by violencewith a deep sense of fear and insecurity. 12
  13. 13. The two economic systems viz. thecommunism and the capitalism became thefoundations of different political and socialsystems of modern world.Communism, although driven by a goodmotivation to bring equality in society, notonly failed to yield expected result, butbrought hatred and injustice instead in thesociety. 13
  14. 14. The main reason behind the failure is thatthe propounders of the view and its leadersfailed to trace and address the very source ofequality.Equality can not be brought in the society bymaking rules and laws but it has to bebrought by transforming the people throughdeveloping values and perceptions in them. 14
  15. 15. Capitalism, on the other hand, is applauded for itsfree market and efficient production etc. however,we have seen the multi-facet down falls ofcapitalism which has resulted the global economiccrises.Consumerism is a direct result of capitalism whichis rooted to desire and craving.Global ecological problem is a result ofconsumerism rooted to insatiable desire andcraving. 15
  16. 16. We can sum up that the advancement ofmodern society is basically materialisticin nature and the very approach behindthe advancement is extroverted. 16
  17. 17. Here, I would like to emphatically state thatmodern civilization has neglected theimportance of inner world, the mind, whichis the ultimate source responsible for everypositive and negative action that are in turnresponsible for happiness and sufferingrespectively. 17
  18. 18. The great Buddhist master Shantideva has said:Even those who wish to find happiness andovercome sufferingWonder with no aim nor meaningAs they do not comprehend the secret of themind –The paramount significance of Dharma. 18
  19. 19. He has further said:Although wishing to be free from suffering,They run towards suffering itself.Although wishing to have happiness.Like an enemy they ignorantly destroy it. 19
  20. 20. In the perspective of modern civilization,craving, hatred, desire, ignorance etc. areinherently associated with our lives and theirexistence is never questioned.Thus every system of modern society is builton either one of them or on many of them. 20
  21. 21. However, according to Buddhism, thesemental entities are identified as the afflictivemental phenomena which are responsible forevery negative action that in turn invariablybring suffering. 21
  22. 22. We have to come out of the box ofthe thinking culture that:*Problems can be genuinely solved with materialistic and external approach*Genuine peace, happiness and prosperity can be brought only with materialistic and external approach*Mind and mental phenomena do not need to be taken into account in bringing peace and prosperity in the society*Ignoring the fact that mind and mental phenomena are responsible for every negative and positive actions 22
  23. 23. Here on we need to develop new perspectivesThat:*The failures and problems of modern civilization is due to ignoring the inner world, the mind andmental phenomena*The fact that mind and metal phenomena are responsible for every negative and positive action which are in turn responsible for suffering and happiness respectively*Balance must be maintained between the material world and the inner world 23
  24. 24. Buddha has identified the negative mentalelements as the origin of suffering in his firstdiscourse at Sarnath while demonstrating thecause and effect of samsara, the cyclicexistence. 24
  25. 25. According to Buddhism, afflictive mental elements aredestructive in nature.When anger, for example, arises the first victim is not thetarget of the anger but the person in whom the anger hasarisen.It destroys the tranquility of mind, disturbs the rationalityof mind, and distorts the perception of object.Eventually, its impact is seen on other persons. 25
  26. 26. Since the mental factors are extremelyimportant, Buddha and the followingBuddhist masters have extensivelyelaborated the system of mind which includecategories of negative, positive and neutralmental entities. Each of these has long list ofmental entities. 26
  27. 27. Each of these mental elements are explainedin great detail with:-individual characteristics,-the mode of origination,-environmental factors and causal factors under which circumstance they come into existence and-their impacts on the mental and behavioral attitude. 27
  28. 28. Various methods of confronting the negativemental elements are extensivelydemonstrated with different levels:-evading them,-subduing them,-reducing them and-finally eliminating them. 28
  29. 29. There is extensive account of the positive mentalphenomena like love, compassion, generosity, patience,altruism and so forth providing detailed instructions tocultivate them through meditation.Cultivation of these inner values makes life very different.Positive thinking and positive attitude makes positiveimpact on ones own life and life of others.Buddhist spiritual practice is primarily to work on theelimination of the negative mental elements anddevelopment of the positive mental elements. 29
  30. 30. Since more than two decades His Holiness the Dalai Lamahas been having dialogs with many leading scientists:physicists, biologists, astronomer, neurologists andpsychologists which have been remarkably productive.This interaction has brought paradigm shifts and newavenues in scientific researches.Since about a decade from now, neurologist andpsychologist have been doing intensive researches on themental systems presented in the Buddhist psychologywith the help of many experienced meditators. 30
  31. 31. The results have bee ground breaking in various areas.They found that intensive meditation, for example, oncompassion brings many changes in neurological systemof the brain which is not possible under normal situation.Through the power of meditation dead neurons arerejuvenated which was not believed so earlier.With the help of meditation it is found that the expressionof neurons are changes, which again was not believed soearlier. 31
  32. 32. It is found that due to the cultivation of positives mentalattitudes, with the help of meditation, the personconcerned is seen with much more peaceful mind.Consequently, his behavioral attitude is seen constructive.Of course, this brings positive social engagement.Maintaining positive mental state is also found to have astrong positive impact on physical health of the person.A major shift is seen in the research of mind, as a result ofinteraction with Buddhism that the scientists have begunto do first hand experiment instead of second personexperiment. 32
  33. 33. Many clinical researches are being undertaken inconjunction with Buddhist meditation to work onvarious problems associated with mind, likemental stress and deficiency of attention etc.which are called as Mindfulness Based ClinicalResearch (MBCR), Mindfulness Based StressReduction (MBSR) etc.These are experimented on both children andadults and have proven to be immensely effectiveand life changing. 33
  34. 34. According to Buddhist Philosophy, all the afflictive mentalstates arise due to wrongly perceiving the objects in adistorted manner. Common beings do not perceive thingsas they are. Therefore there is a big gap between thereality and the appearance of objects.In Buddhist philosophical view, every phenomenon isdependently arisen and is empty of essence. They do nothave substantial status of being inherently existent.However, they appear to common beings asindependently arisen and truly existent. 34
  35. 35. Because things appear as truly existent, which is afabrication, inappropriate attitude develops andthereafter hatred and aversion are developed towardsthe objects which appear to be unattractive and desireand attachment are developed towards attractive objects.Thus on the basis of these mental states all the rest of theafflictive mental states like anger, egoism, jealousy etc.arise.Following the negative mental states actions areperformed which invariably brings suffering. 35
  36. 36. Thus according to Buddhism, suffering and happiness inan individuals life or in a society are driven by the actionof the people and their good and bad actions are drivenby their positive and negative mental states.Hence, mental state is the ultimate origin of our actionswhich decide the constructive and destructive elements inthe life and society. 36
  37. 37. Therefore, we must pay attention to the significant role ofthe mind in our life.Modern education system must include the materialsrelated to mind and values and moral education.There is a need of fundamental change in our educationsystem. 37
  38. 38. Thank you 38
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