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Handbook for Mankind

From Handbook for Mankind by Buddhadasa Bhikku (Bangkok: Supanit Press, 1989):

"Buddhism" means "the teaching of the enlightened one." A buddha is an enlightened individual, one who knows the truth about all things, one who knows just what is what, and so is capable of behaving appropriately with respect to all things. Buddhism is a religion based on intelligence, science, knowledge, whose purpose is the destruction of suffering and the source of suffering. All paying of homage to sacred objects by means of performing rites and rituals, making offerings, or praying is not Buddhism. The Buddha rejected all this as foolish, ridiculous, and unsound....

To attain liberation, we first have to examine things closely, in order to come to know and understand their true nature. Then we have to behave in a way appropriate to that true nature. This is the Buddhist teaching, this we must know and bear in mind. Buddhism has nothing to do with prostrating oneself and deferring to awesome things. It sets no store by rites and ceremonies such as making libations of holy water, or any externals whatsoever, spirits and celestial beings included. On the contrary it depends on reason and insight. Buddhism does not demand conjecture or supposition; it demands that we act in accordance with what our own insight reveals and not take anyone else's word for anything. If someone comes and tells us something, we must not believe him without question. We must listen to his statement and examine it. Then if we find it reasonable, we may accept it provisionally and set about trying to verify it for ourselves. This is a key feature of Buddhism, which distinguishes it sharply from other world religions."

--copied from "Around the World in 304 Days," by the joy family, good friends of mine who have made an inspiring pilgrimage for world peace in the company of an interfaith community. A complete and entertaining account of their journey may be found on Apple's e-world in the "Apple Global Education Forum" under Educational Projects. Or contact:

joy family / global friends school

11044 weeping willow way

nevada city, california 95959

1-916-477-1277 / 1-916-273-2664 or 1-500-484-5697

(tell them the cougar sent you!)

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