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Buddhism Today Essay, Research Paper

One of the lasting strengths of Buddhism has been its ability to adapt to changing conditions and to many different cultures. Unlike other religions Buddhism does not conflict with modern science. Instead it holds that Buddha applied the experimental approach to questions of ultimate truth. In Thailand and Myanmar, Buddhism remains strong. It reacts to charges of being socially unconcerned, its monks have become involved in various social welfare projects. Although Buddhism in India largely died out between the 8th and 12th centuries AD, it again became more commonly practiced when 3.5 million former members of the untouchable caste, under the leadership of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, switched back to Buddhism in 1956. A similar thing happened in Sri Lanka in the 19th century.

In China Buddhism continues to exist under strict government regulation and supervision. Many monasteries and temples have been converted to schools, dispensaries and other public use. Monks and nuns have been required to undertake employment in addition to their religious functions. In Tibet, the Chinese, after their takeover and the escape of the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist officials into India in 1959, attempted to undercut Buddhist influence.

Only in Japan since World War II have truly new Buddhist movements arisen. Buddhism has also grown into the United States, they have more than a dozen meditation centers and a number of actual monasteries. Interest in Buddhism in the United States has increased noticeably. As Buddhism?s influence on the west slowly grows, it is once again beginning to undergo a process of adapting into its new environment. Its influence on the west is still small, but it continues to grow and develop.

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