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The appeal of Buddhism

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Buddhism is one of the fastest growing religions and by some estimates, it is THE fastest growing religion, especially among those who convert from one religion to another.

In 2005 the Swedish government conducted a survey and one of the questions asked high school students which religion they would like to choose. And 60% answered Buddhism.[1] The number of Buddhists in the Netherlands rose nearly 1,500% (from 16,000 to over 250,000) from 1998 to 2009.[2] The number of Buddhists has been steadily rising in Asia too. In Taiwan the number of Buddhists grew from 5.5 million in 2001 to 8 million in 2008. During that same seven year period the number of Buddhists in India grew from about 1% to 3.25% which was about 35 million in 2008.[3]

In the fast-paced world of modern life, many are becoming attracted to the meditation teachings found in Buddhism. For some it is for that reason and one or more of the following:

  • 1. The Logic of The Four Noble Truths (the logic of a teaching based on the causes and cures to our everyday suffering).
  • 2. The Compatibility of the Sciences with Buddha’s teachings.
  • 3. The teachings are compatible with and talk about life on other planets.
  • 4. The teachings on the evils of slavery and the caste system.
  • 5. The teachings on the equality of women.
  • 6. The recognition of humans as members of the Animal Kingdom.
  • 7. A meditation technique beyond relaxation, but also for wisdom. There is a clear path for spiritual and personal development.
  • 8. The longevity (health) of the Buddha (killed at the age of 80 from bad mushrooms during an age when life expectancy was 35 to 40 at best).
  • 9. There is no blind faith or unthinking worship in Buddhism.
  • 10. Questions are encouraged and investigation into the teachings is allowed and important.
  • 11. Buddhism teaches to take full responsibility for all of our actions.
  • 12. It can be approached, realized, and experienced, with immediate results.
  • 13. It teaches that followers of other religions are also rewarded in the afterlife.
  • 14. The teachings emphasize compassion, tolerance, and moderation.
  • 15. Humility of the Buddha


Once Sariputta remarked, “Venerable sir, I have such confidence in the Blessed One that I believe there has not been nor ever will be nor exists at present another ascetic or brahmin more knowledgeable than the Blessed One with respect to enlightenment.” The Buddha responds, “Lofty indeed is this bellowing utterance of yours, Sariputta, you have roared a definitive, categorical lion’s roar. Have you now, Sariputta, encompassed with your mind the minds of all the Arahants, the Perfectly Enlightened Ones, arisen in the past and known thus: Those Blessed Ones were of such virtue, or of such qualities, or such wisdom?” Sariputta responds, “No, venerable sir.” Samyutta Nikaya 47.12

In that discourse, instead of agreeing with the bold praise of the Buddha given to him by Sariputta, the Buddha basically asks him, “Have you met every Buddha of the past, present, and future? Then how can you call me the best that ever was or will ever be?” Such was the amazing wisdom, the intelligence, and humility of the Buddha of our time.

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References

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