An Intelligent Man’s Guide to Buddhism - Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan
Buddhism-A rational representation
Question. 1 Is religion obligatory for Everybody?
Answer. The answer to this question depends upon another
question, as to what we understand by the word "religion". We should use this word in its wider sense. The way, in which a man thinks and acts, is his ‘religion’. According to this definition, even Communism enlisted as one, for these traditional religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam also are just gross classifications of men, according to their specific way of thinking and acting.
Q. 2 If so, then who can be termed a Buddhist, who a Hindu, Who a Christian and who a Muslim?
A. Any individual, if he has taken refuge in the three gems, i.e. Buddha, Dhamma & Singh, and tries to conduct his life according to the teaching of the Blessed one, is termed a "Buddhist". It is not easy to say who a "Hindoo" is? Ina general sense, we can say, any Indian, Who is neither a "Buddhist", nor a "Muslim", nor a "Christian", nor perhaps a Jain and Sikh also, is a Hindu. One who believes in GOD and his Messenger is a "Muslim", and one, who believes in GOD & his son, is a "Christian".
Q. 5 it is believed that Buddhist does not believe in any Bhagavan (the creator), then what do they mean, when they say Bhagavan Buddha?
A. Buddhist does not believe in any men-made creator, about, whom, it is believed by some, that HE made men. Buddhist uses the application ‘Bhagavan’, only for one or those that according to them was or was "greatest and best amongst men".
Q. 6 It is the contention of the Muslims, that Prophet Mohammad was the "Messenger of God" no human being can become messenger of God, it is the contention of the"Christianity" that Jesus Christ was the "Son of God", no human being can aspire to become the "Son of God", it is the contention of some "Hindoos," that Rama and Krishna, along with such several others were the "Incarnation of God", is it so, that according to "Buddhism" also no man can become can become a "Buddha"?
A. According to Buddhism, every body is a potential Buddha, i.e. can become a Buddha, provided he fulfils the necessary conditions or attain the requisites of that sublime stage.
Q.96 One can suffer due to internal disturbances, and as well as due to external causes, Mental unrest, caused by passion, hatred and ignorance, can be said to have come into existence due to internal-disturbances, and pain caused by the non-availability of food and dress, or due to excessive cold or heat can be said to have come into existence, as a result of external causes. What treatment has the Lord prescribed for the ailment caused by internal disturbances?
A. The Lord has prescribedthe contemplation of the body, the contemplation of sensations, contemplation of mind and the contemplation of mind-objects as the only way that leads to the attainment of purity, to the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, to the end of pain and grief, to the attainment of knowledge, and to the realisation of Nibbana.
Q.256 What are the chances of the revival of Buddhism in India?
A. Total eradication of Buddhism has never taken place in India. In areas such as Kashmir and Lahul in the North and in Districts such as Chittagong (till recently a district of Bengal, but now in Bangla Desh) Buddhism has all along been a living religion. As a result of the sincere efforts made by Indian monks such as Bodhanand Mahasthauir, and Mahabir swamy; and of Burmese monks such as Chandramani Mahasthauir and Kittimaji and also due to the endless endeavor of the well known "Buddhist Missionary Anagarika Dharmapala, Buddhism again got foot-hold in other parts of India also. After the conversion of a vast number of Indians, mainly in Maharshtra following the leadership of Late Dr.Bheem Rao Ambedkar, in the words of Late Mahapandit Rahula Sankrityayan, such a strong pillar of Buddhism has been errected that none may dare to eradicate again.
Q.257 What would be the total strength of Buddhists in India at present?
A. There are two kinds of Buddhists in India. There are those, who though intensely devoted towards Lord Buddha, yet for reasons best known to them avoid getting them introduced as Buddhists. There are others, who consider it an honor to be introduced as Buddhists. The number of this later kind of Buddhists should definitely exceed ten million. But in the last census they have enumerated as only thirty-seven lakhs.
Q.258 Why has this number been shown to be less than it actually is?
A. Most probably, it happens so, because amongst the people who gathered statistics, no one was a "Buddhist" himself. Even after the last census quite a large number of people have embraced Buddhism. Hence the number is sure to be more than shown in the last census.