Maybe my titling this as Modern Buddhism was incorrect. Maybe it should be Modern Enlightenment or Modern Spirituality. I agree with what you have said (e-sangha), but how does this teaching apply to modern life? Must one become a monk to call themselves a Buddhist? Is the only way to enlightenment through giving up material goods and telling our loved ones good bye to go live in the remote mountains of Tibet. Can enlightenment be found without those extremes? Would Buddha say that the only path to enlightenment is through his teachings only?
The Middle Pane: Modern Buddhism
Buddhism has been described as a splinter that you use to remove the splinter of suffering. Once you have removed the splinter, don’t leave the splinter of buddhism in the wound.
In other words, all of the teachings of buddhism are necessary until they aren’t. Learn just enough…
1. I would strongly caution anyone against this ‘buffet’ style approach to enlightenment. Picking out elements for ‘spiritual practice’ in a large hodge podge is certainly popular, especially in the New Age movement, but it removes them of their context, which is often MORE important that whatever ‘thing’ was being appropriated in the first place. Buddhism should not be approached as ‘temporary’ or that it poses a limited value. This comes across as being very dismissive. If Buddhism doesn’t work for you, then don’t be a Buddhist.
2. Is enlightenment possible? As a Vajrayana Buddhist, I say so, yes. Is it probable? No.
3. I don’t use a splinter to remove a splinter, I use tweezers.
the first point the commentator raises is so important. when people are interested in Buddhism, they get a very fragmented view based on a microcosm of teachings and philosophy. Buddhism is far deeper than this view. There is mythology, there are gods and realms and unseen supernatural beings. Buddha is described in the oldest texts as having lived thousands of thousands of countless lives before being born to become enlightened. The take home message in many of these texts is that it is HARD to become a Buddha, but that is exactly WHY Buddha’s teachings are so important. His teachings are available to us only because he perfected the ten perfections over countless lives, according to the tradition, and so to pick and choose and fragment the teachings that were that difficult to bring into the world, how can that lead us to enlightenment?
picking and choosing pieces of Buddhism that work for you or make sense is wonderful! they can lead you to a happier life. but does that make you a “buddhist”? I would say no. To be Christian, is it not essential that you first and foremost accept Christ as the savior and the one God as the trinity? So it is in Buddhism.