Although Buddhism is most predominant in Asia, it is also now widely embraced in the US. Its emergence in America can be traced back several generations to the first Chinese and Japanese immigrants in the mid-1800s, popularized by influencers such as D. T. Suzuki and the poets of the Beat generation in the fifties and sixties taking refuge in the Buddha Dharma Sangha. It’s fairly common for many present-day celebrities and other Americans to embrace a few elements of Buddhist teachings. Many American converts to Buddhism choose to forgo the more mythical methodologies of the religion in favor of private meditation and study of philosophy.

Modern Buddhism can be said to be the next realm of The Buddhas original teachings and perfectly suited for inspiring those seeking solutions within Buddhism to problems of everyday life, as well as for encouraging practitioners of all faiths to deepen their understanding and practice of the spiritual path. It still relies on the amazingly timeless teachings of The Buddha, but accepts and often encourages practitioners to adopt and apply the traditional teachings to the problems of the 21st century. It is a beautiful blending of all practices that remains grounded in The Buddhas fundamental perspective to question and think through what he taught. He declared –  “Believe nothing until you have experienced it and found it to be true. Accept my words only after you have examined them for yourselves; do not accept them simply because of the reverence you have for me.”

Modern Buddhism is nontheistic, nondogmatic, nonviolent, emphasizing individual practice rather than institutional membership or obligations, the Buddhism expounded by the Dalai Lama fits nicely with a modern, largely Western world view based on science and respect for the individual. This may explain why it seems to attract so many physicists and psychotherapists in modern day times.In any case the teachings and philosophies of Buddhism are timeless and available to all who wish to have greater understanding, compassion and grace in todays world. I would personally say these values are timeless and worth honoring regardless of your practice or beliefs.

Peace and Love, Jim

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