I know it's hard to believe, but someone still likes Americans!!!! :phttp://www.blpusa.com/download/bies02.pdf
While I was traveling in the United States
spreading the Dharma, I felt that, although America is
not a Buddhist country, Americans possess the character
of Humanistic Buddhism and the spirit of the
bodhisattva. Take giving as an example. Americans
are very willing to give. Many willingly provide
donations to their church. When a social problem
arises, everyone happily does all he or she can to help.
No matter where you are, Americans often smile and
greet you warmly saying, “Hello! How are you?”
This, too, is giving. A simple smile, a short greeting—
these are the ways of practicing giving through
one’s expression and speech. These are examples of
how Americans have integrated giving into their
As for upholding the precepts, Americans are
very law-abiding people. Upholding the precepts
means observing the rules of the law. America is a
country in which people follow the rules of the law.
One need not go to a court of law to see how laws are
observed. When Americans come to a red light, even
if there are no other cars or police officers around,
they still do not run the light. If there is a stop sign,
they will not immediately go through the intersection,
but instead stop for a moment before continuing on.
People also line up in an orderly manner. Once when
I was in Hawaii, a large tour group of people, including
several of us monastics who were also in the
group, went to watch a hula dance. When the attendant
saw us, he asked a group of people to move away
from the shade of a large tree so that we monastics
could sit there. Without any protest, everyone did as
they were told. Why? Because religion is respected in
America, as are laws and rules; likewise, those in
positions of authority are respected and obeyed.
When it becomes too crowded for attendants to direct
everyone, they simply use a rope to regulate where
people may sit. Everyone stays within the confines of
the rope, whether they are kings, state officials, gov23
ernors, or senators. Why? Because the rope symbolizes
the law, and no one is above it. The solemn sacredness
of the law is fully integrated into the daily
life and mind-set of Americans. Because everyone is
compliant, it is naturally a country that follows the
rules of the law.
On the contrary, what is the situation in developing
countries? Do not mention ropes. Even if there
is a wall, everyone tries to think of a way to climb
over it. Hence, to follow laws is to keep precepts and
regulations. Whether or not a country’s populace
obeys its laws will affect its image, its development,
and its prosperity. Humanistic Buddhism is built
upon the principles of laws and regulations.
Americans are also very patient. Patience does
not mean staying silent when being yelled at, or
turning the other cheek when struck. These are not
examples of patience. Patience means taking responsibility;
patience means being strong. To be patient
is to be proactive, progressive, willing to make
sacrifices, and able to shoulder burdens. Americans
work hard, don’t they? When lining up, they don’t
skip ahead. This, too, requires patience. So, when
everyone is patient with each other, society can be
orderly and without chaos.
Everyone knows about how diligent Americans
are. Americans are ambitious, dedicated, and hardworking.
Some people fantasize that America is a
heaven where everyone is automatically well provided
for. In reality, Americans are very industrious
and conscientious; they work hard and have a lot of
pride in the quality of their work. Their work ethic is
very much like the Buddhist notion of diligence.
Buddhism speaks of diligence as the Four Right Efforts
of bringing forth goodness, developing the existing
goodness, ending the existing harm, and preventing
the arising of new harm. Americans are
well-known for their dedication to research, developing
breakthroughs, and striving to be the very best.
This is why their country has become a world power.
We can also find examples of meditative concentration
in the American lifestyle. Instead of running
about the streets after work or school, adults and
children often spend their time at home. And when
they speak, they usually do so in a soft voice so as not
to disturb anyone. When using public transportation,
they are often relaxed and at ease, as if in meditation.
As far as wisdom is concerned, some people say
that Americans are lacking in this area. They say that
if you sell them six things that cost two dollars each,
(the total is, of course, twelve dollars), the Americans
take quite a bit of time to figure out what the total
should be. Instead of multiplying six things at two
dollars each, they will add two plus two, plus two,
plus two, so on and so forth to get to twelve. We
should not, however, think that Americans are slower
in doing these mental calculations; it is just that the
Chinese are shrewd, sometimes too shrewd for their
own good. Americans are very methodical in calculating
figures. They may appear slower in dealing
with numbers, but actually Americans go by the rules
so that one is one and two is two. They are very
precise in their scientific and technological research
and are very reliable in all they do.
By pointing out the above it may seem that this
is just another case of the grass is always greener on
the other side of the fence. This is not the case. Taiwan
is a country that promotes and practices Mahayana
Buddhism, so why is it that some people here
are miserly, snobbish, selfish, irresponsible, and unkind?
Why do they only look out for themselves? The
ideals of Humanistic Buddhism must be spread in
Taiwan. In practicing the Four Means of giving,
using amiable speech, performing conduct beneficial
to others, and cooperating, Buddhism again becomes
relevant to the needs of contemporary society. Indeed,
the Five Precepts can provide a stabilizing effect on
society, the Six Paramitas can serve as a good foundation
on which to build a country, and the Four
Means of Embracing can be a fountain of goodness
for us all.