BUDDHISM IN AMERICA
By Dharma Master Heng Ku'ung
All of us who are treading the path of self realization in accord with the orthodox Buddhist teaching must unite whenever and wherever possible and share the strength of one another. We cannot allow ourselves to become dispersed and yet expect the roots of orthodox Buddhism that have already been planted to flourish and grow and become a true benefit to our culture.
Because death makes no compromises, our Original Teacher Sakyamuni Buddha taught principles for getting out of the net of birth and death that were also uncompromising. Today there are many who believe that these principles can be diluted to accord with the social demands of our modern day society. They say that orthodox principles were for people over two thousand years ago when circumstances were different. But what caused a person to breathe two thousand years ago is still causing him to breathe today. If we endeavor to unite with that cause, can we apply diluted principles to our cultivation and expect it to be effective? Can we dilute the air we breathe and still go on living?
During the Buddha's time small groups put the teachings into actual practice without a great deal of difficulty. In fact, there were many recluses who trod the path alone without becoming distracted by outer conditions. But today, although the path has not changed, the outer conditions certainly have. Today it is most difficult for one person or a small group to withstand the mighty wave of sensual abundance that is so prevalent in today's society.
Whenever possible, opportunities should be CREATED for people to get together and exchange views and investigate true principle. Where views are exchanged, organization develops; and where there is organization, there is strength. Cultivation requires a tremendous amount of discipline, and this discipline is strengthened through organization.
It is not difficult to CREATE situations for people to exchange view. In fact our society demands them. Community service is a most excellent medium for putting principles into practice. As Buddhists, we should not allow opportunities to become involved in social welfare go by. In this way, we can benefit others and give them a chance as well to feel the down to earth quality of genuine Buddhism through direct contact. There service is needed we should serve. Where groups should be formed, we should form them. In this way we can strengthen ourselves and our community.