Is everyone Buddhist in a Buddhist country?

Myanmar or Thailand give people the impression that it is a Buddhist country.

Buddhist temples and buddhist monks are common sight there. People pray at Buddhist temple all year round.

It would be wishful thinking if we believe that everyone there is a practising buddhist.

For a start, a practising buddhist there would have to take refuge in the Triple Gems. Then they will have to observe the 5 precepts. Which means, they shouldn’t kill or harm another being, cannot steal, cannot lie, cannot commit adultery and cannot consume intoxicants or drink alcoholic beverages.

However, the news is not free from crimes relating to robbery, theft, intoxicated behaviour, violence, sex and cheating.

Shouldn’t a Buddhist country be a paradise on earth?

Yes it should be, rightfully. Provided, everyone is a practicing Buddhist.

According to a respected monk, most people do not know the Buddha’s teaching there. Just go around asking people about the 5 precepts and 4 noble truths. Few can really answer your questions. In fact, foreigners who are interested in Buddhism would know more than the local.

Majority of the population goes to temple on special occasion to pray for material needs. They are of no difference to worshippers. To them Buddha is similar to a wish granting god. Something which Buddha did not teach.

Their practice is centred on Dana (charity). However, it is not based on the noble desire to sponsor the livelihood of monks and nuns. Instead they believe that charity is good karma and therefore will attract fortune in the future. In this respect, the noble act of dana is reduced to nothing but mere spiritual transactions.

In addition to the above, being a practicing Buddhist does not immediately turn a person into a Buddha. Again it is wishful thinking on our part to believe that all practising buddhist possess the epitome of virtues such as patience, tolerance, calmness etc.

Practising Buddhist are still human. Just go and ask them whether they are enlightened if you are doubtful. Most will say no. Try pushing all the wrong buttons and I will not be surprise if you receive wrath in return.

While the representation of enlightenment is a super serene man sitting in meditation with a charming smile, most people are miles away from that goal.

So we have to be realistic when we look at the world. Otherwise, we are just being ignorant.

However, there is one ounce of wisdom for people who reacted with disbelief and incredulous gasp when they hear crime being committed in a Buddhist country. For deep within you. You know that the world will be a better place if everyone is a practising Buddhist.

So why not help make that a reality, starting with yourself. Buddhism is not a religion, strictly speaking. Buddha just taught us enlightened living. You can choose to accept his advice and live your life accordingly, anytime you want, regardless of which god or goddess you choose to have faith in.

May all be well and happy.

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