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Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
Chapter 14 - Promoter of True Human Culture
Buddhist ideas have greatly contributed to the enrichment of both ancient and modern thought. Its teaching of causation and relativism, its doctrine of sense data, its pragmatism, its emphasis on the moral, its non-acceptance of a permanent soul, its unconcern about external supernatural forces, its denial of unnecessary rites and religious rituals, its appeal to reasoning and experience and its compatibility with modern scientific discoveries all tend to establish its superior claim to modernity.
Buddhism is able to meet all the requirements of a rational religion that suit the needs of the future world. It is so scientific, so rational, so progressive that it will be a pride for a man in the modern world to call himself a Buddhist. In fact, Buddhism is more scientific in approach than science; it is more socialistic than socialism.
Among all the great founders of religion, it was the Buddha alone who encouraged the spirit of investigation among His followers and who advised them not to accept even His Teaching with blind faith. Therefore, it is no exaggeration to say that Buddhism can be called a modern religion.
Buddhism is a well-elaborated scheme of how to lead a practical life and a carefully thought-out system of self-culture. But more than that, it is a scientific method of education. This religion is best able in any crisis to restore our peace of mind and to help us to face calmly whatever changes the future may have in store.
Without sensual pleasure, would life be endurable? Without belief in immortality, can man be moral? Without resorting to divinity, can man advance towards righteousness? YES, is the answer given by Buddhism. These ends can be attained by knowledge and by the purification of the mind. Knowledge is the key to the higher path. Purification is that which brings calmness and peace to life and renders man indifferent to and detached from the vagaries of the phenomenal world.
Buddhism is truly a religion suited to the modern, scientific world. The light which comes from nature, from science, from history, from human experience, from every point of the universe, is radiant with the Noble Teachings of the Buddha.
Source: Buddhist Study and Practice Group, http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/
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