Alistair Shearer once said that one learns do do well the things one practices and that the great relinquishment of the original followers of Buddhism should not be followed literally as a model. It could rather be considered as a metaphor of the will to overcome old disputes and to initiate a journey towards the discovery of ourselves and of the world.
Since Buddhism respects all religions and rejects none of them, it has a privileged position to face the challenge of the future with the scientific and technological revolution. A new world is emerging. Like new wine, it cannot stand the touch of an old wineskin.
The importance contemplation and self-knowledge have in the life of the Buddhist reduces the possibility that personal fantasies get projected as indications of a divine being and provoke the disasters of the religious fundamentalists.
What could have seemed like a trend gets reaffirmed today with reflection and important achievements. Buddhism undergoes a full expansion in the West.
Once the temptation of New Age is overcome, the Buddhist discrimination gained strength through a realism full of naturalness, of adaptation and of a profound experience that opens up unlimited horizons.
The secularism that emerges from the Protestant Reformation supported the individualistic doctrine that gave way to progress, but it also conducted people to an experience of growing solitude in the solidification of an unsustainable social injustice that drowns the future.
Shearer claims that the greatest human resource that hasn’t been exploited yet, his own conscience, has been ignored for a long period of time, as the possibility of diverse levels of reality, other than those related to objectivity, has been ignored. It is no longer possible to keep considering manipulation and the restructuring of the external order –political, social, and economic – as the only possible solution and ignore the accessibility to other levels of reality.
Since knowledge entails action, a change of attitude is perceived in all fields of knowledge fields – medical, ecological, spiritual –, which points towards a wider vision of the possibilities of a human being.
Culture has been determined by perspectives belonging to the first two stages in life: childhood, characterized by dependence, and adolescence, characterized by the reaction towards independence. A stage of maturity, characterized by our own transcendence still awaits us. It wouldn’t be sensible to ignore this path along with other alternatives.
José Carlos García Fajardo
Profesor of Contemporary Social and Political Thought. CCS Director