I would just base my reflections on three ways of sharing Dharma, how we could continue to protect the authenticity of Dharma and spread the teachings of Dharma in future.
First, based on the spirit of Buddhism. Buddhism has evolved into a religion with different traditions, belief systems, rites and rituals. For those who are faithful and inclined to Buddhism, they will be ready to accept the teachings. As they embrace Buddhism, a common question asked next is, “Which tradition should I follow?” So some may go round searching and comparing one tradition to another. Some may even be more confused by different views, while a few may give up the religion totally. Remember – Buddha was often approached by people with different views. He would advise them to put aside differences, find similarities, focus on common understanding and put it into practice.
Dharma is a simple and direct realization. The outer form may look different but the inner core is the same. In this case, the emphasis on One Dharma is crucial. Second, based on the spirit of universal religion. As we can see, there are so many conflicts and violence in this world in the name of religion. And there is so much focus on converting people from one religion to another.
No matter what we believe, we should convert people from evil to good and bring them from suffering to happiness. We should not let religion separate people and set us apart. All founders of great religions in the world have the same ideology of goodness and non-violence. We should find peace and happiness in the purpose of religion. We could redefine religion and focus on non-sectarian teachings, great compassion and unconditional love. If we could strive to cultivate purity in our heart so that our speech and action can be pure, then everyone will accept this true law of nature as the universal religion.
Third, based on the spirit of science. Since 3 decades ago when I studied Buddhism in secondary school, there were many research and experiments done to draw parallels between Buddhism and Science. It is common to hear comments like “Buddha is the greatest Scientist” and “Buddhism is very scientific”, etc. It is confirmed that concepts like rebirth, impermanence, selflessness are true phenomena of the nature beyond the three dimensions and traditional science. Yet what modern science has been discovering now, had been known to Buddha since 2500 years ago. This proves that the law of nature taught by Buddha is valid and applicable at all times and under all conditions. And we know the solutions to current world problems lie in this true law of nature.
In recent years we are seeing interesting advertisements, books and businesses offering mindfulness meditation to individuals and organizations. And now in the United States, mindfulness meditation has been used even in the military as a mental training. It is used as a tool in the military training to reduce stress and improve accuracy in performance. In the near future, mindfulness training will be as popular as sports and taught in schools, hospitals and organizations. It will be sold as a secular, highly motivated, research and scientifically proven mental training. The commercialization of meditation into a product and fashion is the aspect that we should be concerned about. One may argue that meditation does not belong just to the Buddhists. Regardless, meditation requires basic morality and right understanding in any spiritual path. As it becomes more pervasive, it is timely to promote the other aspects of mindfulness training which is mindfulness of loving kindness and compassion. This is for the betterment of society and to improve peace and harmony in the world.
In fact, the future of Buddhism lies in each of us here and now. It is a great blessing to be born in this aeon when there was the Buddha and Dharma still exists. There is no higher purpose than setting oneself in the Dharma, in the pursuit of ultimate truth. This is the purpose of our rare and precious human life. In gratitude for all the causes and conditions in the world that enabled our existence, the more we should diligently practice Dharma in life.
Then there will be hope for the future of Buddhism.