A fellow Buddhist posted a comment on my facebook page about the decline of Buddhism in Singapore.
I wrote some comments and it grew so long, I decided to share it here. haha 🙂
Again, thanks for sharing about the decline of Buddhism in Singapore and your thoughts on it.
Many people echo your concerns and observations. I myself grew up with many Christian friends and had many wonderful friends and colleagues who were Christians. Even back then, it seems Christians are everywhere! The funny thing is that I was quite often mistaken for being a Christian!! haha … I believe it could partly be because of my group of friends but also due to my more outspoken nature and my slightly “gan-dang” (potato), which was back then quite atypical of Buddhists in general.
Much like society is not something other than us, Buddhism is not something out there apart from us Buddhists. Buddhism is us. If Buddhism is declining, it is because we are declining. If there is a perception that there are few Buddhists around, maybe it is because, for better or worse, we Buddhists do not stand up to be seen.
There has always been a stigma that if one let others know that we are Buddhists, then we would be sidelined at work. ha! There is nothing further to the truth than this! When I finished my studies and started work, I was pretty forthcoming about myself being a Buddhist. And interestingly, many of my colleagues came forward to ask about Buddhism and share with me that they are Buddhists too! 🙂
Buddhist parents also tell me that they let their children have the freedom to choose their own religion and so they don’t bring them to the temple to learn about Buddhism. That is like going to the voting booth and not know anything about who we are voting for! There is absolutely nothing wrong with having the freedom of choice. For that matter, one cannot be forced into Buddhism, for being a Buddhist is really about the conscious choice of choosing to living in a wholesome manner, filled with love and compassion, grounded in wisdom!
Buddhist parents have the responsibility to educate their children in the Dharma so that when they come of age to choose their religion for themselves, they can choose wisely!!
Today, many can be a Buddhist all their life and not know a thing about Buddhism. Buddhists need to know about the teachings of the Buddha and apply it in their life to benefit from being a Buddhist! If we experience the liberating joy of the Dharma, we will know it in our heart that the Truth that the Buddha, Bodhisattvas and Arahants experienced and taught, is indeed the Truth! And no matter how many others give up the religion “Buddhism”, no one can take away or change the unshakable Truth.
Then all is ok. 🙂
2 thoughts on “Going, Going, … … Gone?”
Dear Venerable, my 10 years of “struggle” is reflected in my blog below. Yes, I am very “attached” to my friends and to Buddhism. Maybe ironically afraid that I too will loose my faith in religion like my once devoted father and friends.
Maybe, I am “gullible” or “hopeful” to believe that those friends (who converted) might have taken a different path had they been exposed to Amitabha Buddha or Avalokiteśvara after all, they indeed feel they can no longer help themselves and thus need higher power of salvation (something I feel too as I recognise my vulnerabilities). While certainly I am in no position to prove the existence of Amitabha Buddha or Avalokiteśvara. The various testimonies of 预知时至 (knowing the time of death) and the huge amount of devotees of Kwan Im Thong, certainly led me to put my faith in Pure Land’s teachings. Many people also didn’t know that even a large monastery like KMS has to write to the “quiet” and smaller “Kwan Im Thong” for financial assistance. Certainly Kwan Im thong cannot survive for so long if it cannot “help” its devotees, Just my humble sentiments. With respect. 合十
Interesting… I see the theme of a good thing covering up a bad thing frequently.
Like you said that the Buddhist parents who don’t bring their children to the temple say that they want to let their children have freedom of choice.
And nowadays, it is not that people come out of their mother’s womb rejecting Buddhism straight away. It is that there seem to be other things they can take refuge in. Things like science and google. However, we all know those things are limited.
The illusion of something better (freedom of choice for children? Emipirical evidence and the convenience of google searches?) covering up for more important things with far-reaching consequences (lifelong happiness, peace of mind and well-being)