Japanese way of thinking
Japanese way of thinking
Buddhism is not religion.
Am I Buddhist?
We Japanese live in the culture influenced by Buddhism. Some Japanese believe Christianity, Islam, Shinto or other religions. But many Japanese may say "I don't believe any religion." That sounds strange. There are so many temples in Japan. Japan is regarded as the country of Buddhism. Why are there few Buddhist?
To tell the truth, there is a secret of Buddhism about that, I think.
We live in Buddhism.
Buddhism have been everywhere in Japanese life, culture and society. We don't know how influenced we are. The influence of Buddhism is so large in Japan. Japanese words, foods, events, management of society, health, and every factor or phase or scene. We are unconscious of that. Nonetheless many of us don't think "I am not Buddhist."
Buddhist has no non-Buddhist.
If we are not Buddhist, what do we believe? Perhaps we say, "I believe nothing." What do you think? Are we savage? Japanese live on a principle. I think it is the law of cause and effect. It is not a religion. Because it is merely a law.
By the way, what is Buddhist? There is no qualification of Buddhist. There may not be a Buddhist, and there may not be a non-Buddhist. Because there is no way to be Buddhist, we cannot be non-Buddhist.
Is a Christian out of Buddhism? A Christian may think so. But Buddhism may think not. There is no reason why a person is out of Buddhism.
Sutras are not Japanese.
Christianity read the Bible, Islam read the Koran. Buddhism use the sutras, Kyo in Japanese. Sutras had written in Sanskrit at first, translated in Chinese. Japanese Buddhism use the sutras in Chinese. That's too strange. We can not understand Chinese. Japanese read Chinese sutras without thinking of the meaning.
Aren't the sutras important? No. The sutras are thought as the words of Buddha. They are sacred. Perhaps Japanese think the sutras are too sacred to translate, even if we can't know the meaning.
What means about diversity of Buddha?
Buddhism have many Buddha. Each Buddha has his cause, and has his mission. Buddha is a human, for example Gotama Siddhattha. Another Buddha is the sun. Another Buddha is cosmos. There are so diverse Buddha. Do they conflict? No. Diversity brings "everything is all right."
Buddhism has commandments originally. Ten commandments for all people, 250 commandments for male priests, 500 commandments for female priests. Old India looked down females. Buddhism starts at Indian culture.
Japan accepted Buddhism, learned Buddhism and transformed Buddhism. About 800 years ago, many kinds of Japanese Buddhism began. Many of them got off commandments. Nowadays Japanese Buddhism has no commandments.
Then shouldn't we keep any goodness? Buddhism say the right or wrong. But they are relative. Goodness is changeable by time or occasion. Do you understand? That is the typical thought of Japanese. People say, "If you do such thing, a bad future will come to you."
Buddhism is a perspective.
Buddhism don't look like a religion which you know. By the way, what is a religion? Does a religion give us better life or better society? If so, Buddhism is a religion.
But Buddhism is not easy to understand as a religion with a definite context. I say Buddhism is a perspective rather than a religion. Buddhism require us nothing. We use Buddhism to live better life.