I’m just back from Surabaya, where I was honored to take part in an amazing Buddhist Festival. Oh, and they had this:
There was heaps of great stuff there, including a detailed history of Buddhism in Indonesia (I never realized that there has actually been a continuous presence of Buddhism there since the 2nd century); plenty of celebrity endorsements of Buddhism (!); lots of quotes from all kinds of Buddhist texts, including some that I’ve never heard of; and even a Thai forest tradition monk making tooth sticks and jackfruit-tree dye.
I had the chance to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones. But the real thing is not the displays and artwork, but the kindness of the people. I spoke on a panel on the Triyana (Three vehicles), and the emphasis on harmony was very much present. So many people from so many traditions, all co-operating and working together. It is very inspiring and wonderful to see.
As so often in Asian Buddhist communities, I heard many times the concern over aggressive Christian evangelizing and conversion of Buddhist youth. I must admit, I don’t really think it is such a problem. We shouldn’t worry about what other religions do, but about how we as Buddhists live. If we live in harmony, in kindness, and find creative and imaginative ways of communicating the Dhamma, things will work out. The Dhamma has its own persuasive power, we should just trust that. It is only when Buddhists fall apart into bickering and backbiting, tearing each other to pieces over nothing at all, that we have a problem. But that is our problem, not the Christians’.