Siddartha Guatama In Modern Day North America

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, January 1997

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For over 2000 years Buddhism has existed as an organized religion. By

religion we mean that it has a concept of the profane, the sacred, and approaches to

the sacred. It has been established in India, China, Japan and other eastern cultures

for almost 2000 years and has gained a strong foothold in North America and

Europe in the past few centuries. However, one might ask; what fate would

Buddhism face had Siddartha Guatama been born in modern times; or more

specifically in modern day North America? Would his new found enlightenment

be accepted now as it was thousands of years ago? Would it be shunned by society

as another "cult" movement? What conflicts or similarities would it find with

modern science; physics in particular? The answers to these questions are the aim

of this paper, as well as a deeper understanding of modern Buddhism.

Although I will stick with traditional ideas raised by Buddhism, one detail in

the story of Siddartha Guatama must be addressed in order for it to be relevant to

the main question being asked: What obstacles would Siddartha Guatama face had

he been born in modern day North America.

Primarily, it must be recognized that

rather than being born into the Hindu religion (which in itself is mystical),

Siddartha would have most likely been born into a Christian family. This in itself

presents the first obstacle, that being that Christianity is a strictly monotheistic and

non-mystical faith. Hence from the outset, although in the traditional story

Siddartha faced a conflict with his father (Ludwig 137), in the North American

scenario the conflict would have been heightened by the fact that his search for

enlightenment was not even closely similar to the Christian faith.

As with science, changes in religious thought are often met with...