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Thinking as a Buddhist


One of the most important concepts in the teachings of Buddha is that one must critically examine one’s personal intuitive and instinctive positive conceptions. That is, when a person follows the human conceptions of the heart: denies Buddha through a belief in human supremacy, denies life and its law through adopting a materialistic way of thinking, pursuing terrestrial desires, taking a view of the world that encourages murder and thievery on the basis of a dualistic conception of our relation to other living entities, and denying mercy to others, the person becomes engulfed in a world of sub-humans, a world of hungry spirits, a living hell. Human society gradually becomes this evil world. This is a world that Buddha deprecates and strongly warns against.


In recent years, the beauty of nature has been all but destroyed. Our air, our water, our soil, our food have all become contaminated and poisoned. Our life and health, as well, have been adversely affected. Society is in chaos and our property cannot be guaranteed. Relations between men and women are in disorder; the spirit of union is lost and families destroyed. Righteousness does not pervade the world today. Instead, it reels and staggers under violent setbacks. The human race has exhausted the limits of its powers, its final challenge is to destroy itself. It has already produced and developed the means necessary for accomplishing this. People do not think twice about robbing a person for his money. This same greed is behind the destruction of nature, creating a pollution that has had destructive effects on our minds and bodies. Relations between parents and children, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, all are disregarded as we strive to attain our earthly desires. An inhuman education system reduces pupils to machines, slaves for society, demoralizing its clientele. A healthy appetite and sex drive become perverted to a level lower than that of animals. Heated, bitter wars break out in succession around the world. Nuclear weapons, designed to “ensure peace,” only send a wave of fear around the globe. We have lived up to the sad prophecies put forth by Buddha himself over 2500 years ago.


Looking back, we find that modern thinking is in total opposition to the teachings of Buddhism. This modern civilization, constructed upon a view of life totally in opposition to the Buddhist view, descends into a sub human world of evil before our very eyes, just as Buddha had warned. Human degeneration, pollution, and the fear of nuclear destruction run on with rapidity. Is there no end to this madness?


Buddha Sakyamuni predicted the coming of this day and taught us the Way in order to save us from our inevitable destinies. Many patriarchs have shown us the truth through their practices. Changes made from the erroneous principles of modern society to the Buddhist principle of Truth will bring about a “life society” to replace this “death society.” The road to salvation lies before us. Let us proceed with courage.


The message, “Thinking as a Buddhist,” is an excerption from ‘O Buddha!’ written by Yanase Giryo. O Buddha! A Desperate Cry from a Dying World was first published in Japanese under the title, Buddha yo! by Jiyusha Press, Shitamachi 12-1, Kanda Higashimatsu, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan 101, in 1986.