Interest in Dhamma - growing or slowing ?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Re: Interest in Dhamma - growing or slowing ?

Post by AgarikaJ » Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:26 pm

From what I have observed from my years in Thailand, at least in the far rural areas, there was a strong tradition of visiting temples and making merit even within the young generation. It would have been extremely rare to see young people without their little cords from the temple around the wrist; this, of course, says maybe not overly much about their faith, but I see this as a symptom of at least actively interacting with Buddhist tradition.

If one goes to Isan nowadays, at least to the provinces I know, such outward signs of having visited a temple have become increasingly rare on young people. Outside temple fairs, sitting in on the morning prayer has become an activity for only those of old age (a little bit like the Christian churches I could visit, if I were so inclined, in my current place of living in a western country).
Now that I am removed in years from the Thai 'youth', it is a lot more difficult to find out their true thoughts on such issues (even though I am quite fluent), but consumerism is obviously something very strong in the minds of the younger generation. I know many people who have not been in a temple for many, many years.
However, it is without doubt, there have never been that many temples built or 'beautified' as in recent years: are they just an expression of a more sophisticated, wealthy consumerism (in this case, the buying of merit)? I do not know.

To whom this reads slightly gloomy: I am wise enough to know, that every generation will live in contradiction to what their parents believed; so I am sure there will be a backlash against unmitigated consumerism, just as this generation celebrates the breaking free from strict traditions, from being hopelessly poor and bound to be never more than a subsistence farmer. Maybe superficial visits of the temple by nowadays parents will translate to a new spiritualism in their children in turn...
At least in the here and now, Buddhism is still alive and found at every corner in Thailand, so there is every chance that this is one of the possible futures.
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

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Re: Interest in Dhamma - growing or slowing ?

Post by DNS » Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:57 pm

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:43 am
In my country it's growing very very slowly, mostly due to immigration.
Now it is 1.5% and in 30 years it should reach 2% if trends continue. So basically Insignificant!
On a personal level the interest is growing.
But I see the young people around me, in my class, are less interested in any sort of spiritual things. They love their phones and snapchat and clothes and pointless gossip. This is a well known trend in NZ, and is supported by the census results.
Same here in the U.S. The numbers are going up, but it is mostly due to immigration from Southeast Asia.

In general, religion is on the decline. Church attendance is down and religious identification is also down.



Of the people who are still interested in religion, I think the Dhamma is doing okay and getting some increased interest, but that's if you don't count the droves of people leaving religion altogether.

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Re: Interest in Dhamma - growing or slowing ?

Post by dharmacorps » Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:20 pm

You also have to ask yourself what difference it makes to your practice whether the dhamma grows or slows. I do see that if the dhamma flourishes it would be wonderful, and if it fell away that would be most unfortunate. But the dhamma is always against the stream of society, and we don't evangelize. We aren't trying to "win souls" or convert people. There will be those few with little dust in their eyes, but mostly the dhamma is hard to see and difficult to comprehend. :anjali:

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Re: Interest in Dhamma - growing or slowing ?

Post by Nwad » Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:25 pm

Good question Dharmacorps ! :anjali:

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Re: Interest in Dhamma - growing or slowing ?

Post by DooDoot » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:51 pm

Most of the "Buddhists" I know don't follow the five precepts.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Re: Interest in Dhamma - growing or slowing ?

Post by pilgrim » Tue Nov 20, 2018 6:48 am

There are a number of suttas where the Buddha criticises killing, stealing, lying and sexual misconduct for they lead to rebirth in the lower worlds. For eg.
Sigalovada sutta
"The destruction of life, householder, is a vice and so are stealing, sexual misconduct, and lying."

Sankha sutta
"He, in various ways, criticizes & censures the taking of life, and says, 'Abstain from taking life.' He criticizes & censures stealing, and says, 'Abstain from stealing.' He criticizes & censures indulging in illicit sex, and says, 'Abstain from indulging in illicit sex.' He criticizes & censures the telling of lies, and says, 'Abstain from the telling of lies.' "

Kalama sutta
“A greedy individual, overcome by greed, kills living creatures, steals, commits adultery, lies, and encourages others to do the same. "

The value of the fifth precept, the only precept without a victim, is that it prevents one from breaking the first four precepts.

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