Guam Buddhist Sangha

American Humanistic Buddhism

FAQ: What is Humanistic Buddhism? April 18, 2010

Filed under: FAQ — memeandbojo @ 7:38 am

Humanistic Buddhism is the integration of our spiritual practice into all aspects of our daily lives. Humanistic Buddhism has the following six characteristics:

  • Humanism/altruism
  • Emphasis on daily life as spiritual practice
  • Joyfulness
  • Timeliness
  • Universality of wanting to save all beings

It is difficult for people to see the relevance of Buddhism in their modern daily lives and how it adapts to the trends of the present age. Most merely follow traditions blindly. Though Buddhism speaks of the past, present and future, it particularly highlights the universal welfare of the beings of this world and although Buddhism speaks of all beings of the ten Dharma worlds, it reserves the most emphasis for humans and sentient beings of this world. Through training and cultivating ourselves in this human world, enlightenment can be achieved. Therefore, we should cherish our lives and integrate the Buddhist practices in our daily lives.

Humanistic Buddhism encompasses all the Buddhist teachings from the time of the Buddha to the present whether or not they are derived from the three traditions. The goal of humanist Buddhism is the Bodhisattva way; to be energetic, enlightened, and an endearing person who strives to help all sentient beings liberate themselves. Transforming our planet into a pure land of peace and bliss is also an objective. Instead of committing all our energies in pursuing something in the future, we direct our efforts toward purifying our minds and bodies in the present moment.

Humanistic Buddhism must focus more on issues of the world rather than on how to leave the world behind; on caring for the living rather than for the dead; on benefiting others rather than benefiting ourselves; and on universal salvation rather than cultivation for oneself only.

There are five points that help us to apply Humanistic Buddhism:

  • The practice of the five basic moral ethics (five precepts) and ten virtues
  • To develop the four boundless vows of kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
  • Applying the six paramitas and the four great Bodhisattva virtues-generosity, amiable speech, conduct beneficial to others and cooperation.
  • The understanding of cause, condition, effect, and consequence; and
  • Encompass the teachings of Ch’an, Pure land, and the Middle path.

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