|By Sun-keun, Kim
Department of Indian Philosophy,
The old materialistic mechanistic Newtonian conception is in a state of crisis. In his book, The Turning Point, Fritjof Capra says, that we need, then, is a new paradigm a new vision of reality, a fundamental change in our thought and values.?This is change from the mechanistic to the holistic conception of reality, leading to a new economics and technology with ecological bias. Like Gandhi, Alvin Toffler condemns the mad rush towards industrialism because both the capitalist and communist paradigms have failed to solve the basic problems of poverty, hunger, unemployment on the one hand and alienation, dehumanisation, resource exhaustion, environmental pollution, ecological threat, and violence and war on the other hand. Both the systems have brought the world to the brink of a nuclear holocaust and if we want our survival, we have to find out the third wave or a new alternative.
Civilization, in the real sense of the term, consists not in the multiplication but in the deliberate and voluntary reduction of selfish wants. This alone promotes real happiness and contentment. Hence, the human outlook itself must change. I would like to plead for the Spirit of a Bodhisattva?
A Bodhisattva is literally an Enlightenment-being. He is a Buddha-to-be, one who wishes to become a Buddha, that is to say, an Enlightened One.
Therefore, it is time to review the ideology of seeking selfish profits which has been the fundamental mode of human life. Rejuvenating humanity and reforming the spirit are what is necessary now. Instead of living by the principle of competition or by egoism, altruism should be taken as the driving force of life. Unless this reformation can be accomplished, contemporary society will meet its fate inevitably.
Altruism leads to a living not for one's own profit, but for the world and for others. In order to direct oneself toward altruism, the fundamental idea of spiritual reformation should be placed on karuna. The word karuna## has two meanings. Maitri# is one of them, which is a derivation of mitra, meaning an ultimate form of friendship with everyone.
As long as men stand upon the principle of competition, they are wolves to each other. Others exist simply to be used.
In Mahayana Buddhism, those who practice altruism thoroughly are called Bodhisattva. What the Bodhisattva are supposed to practice is sat-paramita which are dana, sila, ksanti, virya, dhyana, and prajna.
1)Dana means offering material, dharma, and fearlessness.
2)Sila means observing the precepts.
3)ksanti means fortitude against persecution and difficulties.
4)Virya means practicing the truth continuously.
5)Dhyana means to concentrate the spirit and stabilize it.
6)Prajna means to get the wisdom of Truth.
Among these sat-paramita each one has its own importance, but in Mahayana Buddhism the first one - dana has been treated as the base of the other five.
Dana is the very essence and principle of Bodhisattva-practice. Practicing Bodhisattva-yana emphasizing its central idea of dana will be pivotal point transforming egotism into altruism. Dana is the fundamental mode of living with which to establish social relationships between those who prefer the principle of generosity as opposed to the principle of competition as their driving force. We have to reform the excessively competitive desire and selfishness in the unconsciousness into the wishes of a Bodhisattva. This is in a sense a spiritual revolution or a reformation of consciousness.
Sun-keun, Kim professor
<저작권자 © 동국포스트, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>