The Buddha wasn’t a Buddhist!

By P.P. Wangchuk (originally posted in the mind’s Blog of Hindustan Times.)

The Buddha wasn’t a mere Buddhist; he was universal and his principles are the pillars of all religions.

And, media makes our mind and mind makes culture. And culture makes a man. And in turn, man makes the media, and then the cycle goes on and on.

These were some of the key points of discussion on the impact of Buddhism on Indian Culture. Organised by the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS), Leh, scholars said if India was seen today as a liberal and multiracial and multicultural society with dozens of castes and creed, existing harmoniously and homogeneously, Buddhism gets a fair share of the credit.

Ven Wangchuk Dorjee Negi, Principal, CIBS, pointed out that Buddhism today had enabled the stressed minds  all over the globe to have an alternate way of life because of its unique qualities like adaptability, scientific  nature and its stress on tolerance. That Buddhism is a highly adaptable way of life and not an orthodox religion has made it one of the factors in maintaining peace all over the world.

Scholars said the Buddhist way of life was one of simplicity, generosity, contentment and liberality. And, therefore, these factors enable man to face life in a manner that the difficulties and sufferings that cripple life are made less hitting. Buddhism makes one see the difficulties of others and hence one may become a “giver” and a “helper” so that your own sufferings are lessened by sharing with those of others. By being generous and loving, one does not lose anything but gets rewards in multifold.

Buddhism, as Nehru had said, “Even as it ceased to be counted as a separate kind of religion except in some pockets of the world, remained ingrained in the culture and minds of the people and thereby as a national way of life in India.”

This sentiment was shared by Gandhi too who had said that Buddhism influenced the Indian life in a hundred ways. Even if you are not a Buddhist, your good ways of life and virtues are a reflection of the Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha. Thus, Buddhism has been able to enrich the very living habits of mankind today by ousting the orthodox and the destructive mindsets of the people.

The writer, P.P. Wangchuk is a senior editor, has seen life at the Hindustan Times for almost three decades, and  is obsessed with writing on issues that make or break life. Having joined the newspaper as an idealist at 23, he has come a long way, and is today a realist and down-to-earth person. In between, he has handled Page 1 and the Edit Page for several years.


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