Buddha Dharma as panacea to extremism

by Sanghachito Bhikkhu, The Buddhist Channel, March 9, 2006

The number one threat to the world today is extremist thought.  Whether it is Christian extremism, Hindu or Muslim it is a cause of death and deadly suffering.  Similarly our world’s security is threatened by political extremism such as nazism or communism, dictatorships and so on.

The common person such as myself, wishes to do my part to help my world end this suffering, and the causes of it. I believe most rational persons have a similar wish. But what can we do about this? Many times as a monk and through the years as a meditation teacher I am asked ?how can the Dharma help?

In countries such as Thailand or Sri Lanka there are many wondrous meditation teachers. I could grow to have the wisdom and skill they do in my life I would consider my life well lived. There wisdom and the general teachings of the dharma is a cure to extremism. The obstacle of spreading this creative message to the world is there lack of English skills.

No matter how wise a Thai monk/nun becomes if they can only speak Thai there is a limit to there influence. It is also hard for these people, even if they did speak English to travel and obtain visas.

There is something each one of us as Buddhist can do, no matter what tradition, to spread this Dharma medicine around the world. Many persons who are able can become monks/ nuns themselves for a short time in monasteries of Asia. Thailand is an official ally of the United States, and quite safe. Many European countries have a state department that can inform you of the safety of what ever country you wish to go to. If we as English speakers spend even 3 weeks as a monk/nun we can teach English to the monastic populous.

We can inspire creativity, new thought, and wonderful ideas. Most importantly each person will have the chance to deepen there practice, and have there life touched forever in a very special way.

If the person reading this is an in an Asian country they can use the internet, and other resources to advertise monasteries capable of servicing such persons not native to the country. If this idea works, and others are agreeable, the more English is taught the easier it will be to receive such guests in the future.

By giving the Dharma masters of tomorrow English skills they can spread there wisdom across the globe. Also by training an English speaker in the Dharma you create a potential Dharma master as well. I believe if Buddhism is going to shine as a light to the world this is the best strategy.