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Studies of Religion HSC: Assessment task- The 14th Dalai Lama Analyse the impact of the 14th Dalai Lama on Buddhism The 14th Dalai Lama by being both the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism as well as the political leader of Tibet can be considered as a global catalyst in promoting and expressing the true meaning of Buddhism, in that it is not a religion in the sense in which the word is commonly understood. It is not a system of faith or worship.

In Buddhism, there is no such thing as belief in a body of dogma which must be taken on faith, such as belief in a Supreme Being or creator of the universe who is supposed to carry out the will of the Supreme deity. Buddhism begins as a search for truth. The 14th Dalai Lama is always in search for this truth to reach nirvana. Thus he can be considered as a world figure of modern Buddhism as in him is embedded this true meaning.

Manifesting to the millions of Buddhists and non-Buddhists around the globe through his political acumen and arresting personality the 14th Dalai Lama has become a symbol of this religion, which sets out to use his life as an example. For over 50 years he has made a profound impact on the religion, encountering and making many visits from and to world leaders and through the process modernising, supporting, promoting and leading the religion of Buddhism. The most imperative impact made by the 14th Dalia lama is the supporting and promoting of Buddhism.

The 14th Dalai Lama exiled to India and left Tibet in 1959 due to increased tensions between China and Tibet, and as of that moment, the opportunity arose for him in having the capacity and liberty to advocate and preach Buddhism to the outer humankind. After seeking place of asylum in India where the 14th Dalai Lama created and established a Tibetan educational system in order to teach the Tibetan children the traditional language, history, religion, and culture. He supported the refounding of 200 monasteries and nunneries in an attempt to preserve Tibetan Buddhist teachings, traditions, faith and the Tibetan way of life.

He afterward embarked on exploring the world, travelling since 1969 a total of 63 nations, and encountered and confronted a total of 300 international visits. Here he instituted and raised the profile, image and global awareness of Buddhism, flouting the constraints and boundaries of south East Asia and introducing Buddhism to the western world. In promoting and supporting the Buddhist faith abroad, the Dalai Lama has made Buddhism, a conventional and admired religion in the contemporary world.

He has had the aptitude to expand the conviction in the Buddhist faith to many traditionally Christianity based western countries, even bringing about the interest of high profile personalities such as movie star Orlando Bloom, singer Tina Turner and sports star Tiger Woods. Fundamentally the 14th Dalai Lama almost without any aid popularised the Eastern Philosophy into the equivalent of a religious revival in the secular western societies. Another significant input of the 14th Dalai Lama is his modernization of Buddhism. He has aided in ascertaining a link amid Buddhist philosophy and modern ethical issues.

Through oratory, enunciation and worldly conference such contemporary issues such as abortion, the environment, violence and homosexuality have been addressed and provided a modern opinion. Abortion is a very controversial and debated issue today. Traditional Buddhist believes that life should not be eradicated, but they consider causing death as morally wrong only if the death is caused intentionally or by disregard. But it has been argued by several Buddhists that if the child would be so severely handicapped that it would endure great anguish and suffering, abortion is permitted.

Modern Buddhists encompass this viewpoint about the morality of abortion. The 14th Dalai Lama through a modern Buddhists perspective acknowledges this issue by saying: “Of course, abortion from a Buddhist viewpoint is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on deep circumstances. If an unborn child will be retarded or if the birth will create serious problems for the parent, these are cases where there can be an exception. I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance. ”- [New York Times, 28/11/1993].

The conservation of the environment is an issue of world concern. On assorted occurrences the 14th Dalai Lama has also acknowledged the conservation of the environment, urging Buddhist to factor ecology into their daily lives. Through a modern Buddhists perspective the 14th Dalai Lama has said “Peace and the survival of life on earth as we know it are threatened by human activities that lack a commitment to humanitarian values. Destruction of nature and natural resources results from ignorance, greed and lack of respect for the earth’s living things” and “As people live today, we must consider future generations: a clean environment is a human right like any other. It is therefore part of our responsibility towards others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy, if not healthier, than we found it. ”- [http://hhdl. dharmakara. net/hhdlspeech. html] He recognizes that there is not one day without the news of death and violence and the fact that “violence breeds violence” is incorrect especially in the face of justifications such as capital punishment and killing offenders. Whatever short term benefits these deaths achieve they hinder the long term goal of diminishing violence.

He deems the nurturing of empathy and passivity (non-violent) as an element of his every day practice as “we need others for our very existence”. Through this modern perspective he contributes with us his individual viewpoint that: •Universal Humanitarianism is essential to solve global problems. •Compassion is the pillar of world peace. •All world religions are already for world peace in this way, as are all humanitarians of whatever ideology; •Each individual has a universal responsibility to shape institutions to serve human needs.

The above points provide as a modern elucidation of conceivably the Five Noble Truths of Buddhism. [Modernisation of Buddhism- contributions of the Dalai Lama, pg 117-120, Lella Karunyakara] Lastly although the 14th Dalai Lama remains prohibited in the relations of homosexuals he presents of modern Buddhist perspective by being ardent on the fact that society should tolerate gays and lesbians from a secular outlook. He said “willingness to consider the possibility that some of the teachings may be specific to a particular cultural and historic context” [http://en. ikipedia. org/wiki/14th_Dalai_Lama] Furthermore through being such a humble yet powerful world figure the 14th Dalai Lama has impacted on being a leader and role model to millions of Buddhists and Non Buddhists around the world as well as leading the religion of Buddhism itself. By being the public face of Buddhism to the world he has affected Buddhism in that he has tried to affect the lives of Buddhists by exhibiting living proof of tranquillity, faith and unity through his continual support of world aspects such as freedom, compassion and integration.

Thus by being this visible leader and role model the 14th Dalai Lama sets out to use his life as an example. He knows that what he is doing is truthful and correct from both an individual and communal outlook and presents a way of life that is encouraging to others. For example the five precepts were not only supported as an academic analytical process but he supported them with action and behaviour, despite his belief being very unorthodox from a considerable amount of people who demonstrate hypocrisy in the difference between statement and action. “It takes bravery and resolve to be peaceful and not fight”. It shows courage to manage desires of revenge, mistrust and hatred”. – [Studies of Religion HSC, Buddhism] The 14th Dalai Lama has destroyed these particular desires, which are so ubiquitous in humanity. This allows individual Buddhists to perceive the life of the 14th Dalai Lama and reflect that despite how dreadful the circumstances may be or how strong the power of others might be an individual can always make alterations and go forward in one’s live. The example of the Dalai Lama shows that people require putting belief into action to make it meaningful and valuable.

The Dalai Lama has affected the understanding, attitudes and approaches of the world community to Buddhism by being this leader and role model he presents himself to be. These effects, aspects and qualities of the Dalai Lama’s life are changing Buddhism today and are causing it to spread beyond the small borders of Sangha into the world of the west with its materialism and greed. In conclusion, the 14th Dalai Lama has had a colossal impact on Buddhism through a journey of discovery and exploration of the modern world. He in his own eyes will always just be a monk; he shows that a monk can do great things on this world stage.

By his personality, enthusiasm and travel, he has become a one of the recognised figures in the current world of religion. From establishing this status the 14th Dalai lama has been able to support, promote, modernise and lead the religion of Buddhism. Presenting this not as a religion but a search for truth which attains harmony and peace. The change in Buddhism today is obvious. The Dalai Lama is known around the world and will always be and his face, name and statement are well known for their message of peace and tolerance and renunciation of the desires of anger, mistrust, fear and revenge.

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