Religion and Development Report
Developed countries that have advanced technologies don’t face frequent scenarios of natural disasters like the underdeveloped states. This makes it hard for people from developed countries to realize how those from underdeveloped countries live. When majority of us mighty has been lucky to be from stable socioeconomic backgrounds that live happily, there are millions of individuals around the world who struggle to thrive daily. There has unequal distribution of resources that is clearly found in the developing countries that experience disease, poverty, and hunger frequently. Buddhism educates us that the whole world has interrelated causes and effects of natural disasters. People don’t have to play a part in the natural causation of disasters necessarily. It does not matter how good or a bad one is but on the various factors in the world acting on each other. In this report, I will discuss the rebuilding of the poor Leveque village in Haiti. Adoption of Buddhist empathetic and perspective way of life helps in the rebuilding of this poor village that was stricken by a terrible natural disaster. The path of the Buddhist for redeveloping such a problem is not a religious one because it is more of value and culture system that is aided by a philosophy. This report will explain how the Buddhist religious perspective and empathetic will be used to enhance the further development of the poor Leveque village.
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Development is applied to address and terminate suffering, and most specifically in the developing countries that are prone to poverty. Development in the third world countries can be examined in different aspects, including self-sufficiency, quality of community life, peace, sustainability, and freedom (Sirvaraksa, 286). The occurrence of natural disaster in a third world country, it has advanced outcomes compared to the developed states like North America. Such serious effects on this state can be associated with a lack of government support as well as financial resources (Sivaraksa, 289). The village was hit by an earthquake that seriously affected the many and left the poor village with severe casualties and damages. These effects had advanced effects on the members of the village due to the lack of enough financial resources and the necessary support from the government. The horrible natural attack washed away residential homes of many with a lot of their loved ones dying. All these impacts of the natural disaster left the Leveque impoverished and demolished. Despite the effects of the disaster on the village, according to Buddhist philosophical, the condition can be developed. It helps the villages’ inhabitants live a moral life, be aware of actions and thoughts and mindful, and develop apprehension and wisdom. The Buddhist teachings educate village inhabitants that true happiness is not concerned with the richness of being poor but about who is awaken and mindful to its philosophy. Buddhist religion, unlike the majority of the religions across the universe, lacks highlighted leaders to direct dogmas on social justice for the believers. Scientifically, religion has not been proven to assist in the redevelopment activities after any horrible disaster because it lacks measurable variables. This eliminates it from the use as an option for the redevelopment. Sulak Sivaraksa, an expert in the area of Buddhist development, said that “the heart of Buddhist teaching has much to do with social skills. The crux of Buddha’s teachings transcends the notion of individual salvation and is concerned with the whole realm of sentient beings” (Sirvaraksa, 90). This had implied that Buddhism theories and teachings could assist with religious enlightenment, but also lead to economic, social, and political goals. This report will examine three of the Buddhist religious teachings and broad development and look at how they can help in the redeveloping of the Leveque village. These teachings include the Sila, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path (Sirvaraksa, 287).
The first Buddhist teaching the village of Leveque will apply for its redevelopment is the Sila. The Sila represents a Buddhist rulebook that consists of ethical and moral values that can be used in creating sustainable and better societies (Sirvaraksa, 80). These are rules of abstinence and include abstaining from sexual misconduct, stealing, killing, intoxicants that cause heedlessness, and false speech (King, 2017). The book states that for one to be able to abide by all the Buddhist rules, he or she has to be endowed with five virtues, including sincerity and truthfulness, compassion and loving-kindness, helpfulness and mindfulness, generosity and right means of livelihood, and sexual restraint. These principles should be followed to ensure that people within a society live just lives that will help them realize effective human and community development. They give room to the growth of morally and socially upright society that pays attention to the needs of the less fortunate members. The traditional Sila looks at sufferings and misery that are influenced by social systems. The village of Leveque needs to work on its political and economic systems to ensure that the society lives in peace, freedom, and happiness for its development. This includes considering the living statuses of everyone within the village. This teaching educates village members to ensure there are compassion and cooperation and rid themselves from sensual desires.
The Four Noble Truths ideas assist in a community to transcend the misery and suffering that appears inevitable to our lives (Sirvaraksa, 290). It plays an essential role in helping people with both emotional and psychical pains. The Truths are that the suffering exists; it has a cause; it has an end; and that it has an Eightfold path to terminate the suffering. According to the Noble Truths, suffering does not occur to portray the bad side of the universe, but rather, a pragmatic view that handles the universe the way it is and tries to rectify it. The attitude of pleasure is not forbidden but stated as fleeting. Deep reflection on the Four Noble Truths that one cannot escape the sufferings and misery that are there in life; suffering results from material desires; escaping suffering and misery needs one to forgo material desires; and desires can be solved by complying with the Eightfold Path (Sivaraksa, 92). The deep reflection on these ideas will help the village of Leveque to overcome its desires and understand their suffering. This will, in turn, help them to understand how to tackle the suffering and start to redevelop their village. Close observation of the Eightfold Path taught by Buddha that are right views, right mindfulness, right speech, right intent, right conduct, right effort, and right livelihood helps one to exclude their desires (Seneviratne, 286). One can view the causes of suffering through deep reflection on the basis of Buddhism’s three key basic causes of evil, hatred, greed, and ignorance. This concept can be applied to solve the sufferings in Leveque as it will direct it on a path of uncovering and awakening their awareness of their desires and the current situation. According to the Buddhist perspective, inhabitants must adapt their living standards to the moderate way as the village starts to redevelop. The exclusion of the evil of the disaster and adoption of compassionate action directed by wisdom will help the village redevelop from the suffering. They should accept the disaster as an act of nature that has a path to its ending and start working on it.
The last Buddhist teaching is the Eightfold Path that attempts to assist inhabitants in avoiding the sensual desires and lustful cravings (Sirvaraksa, 284). The eight steps, as mentioned earlier, they all incorporate teamwork. Inhabitants of Leveque should be displaying empathy and consider other people’s needs before theirs instead of seeking for individual sensual desires (Seneviratne, 78). This concept teaches inhabitants to make sure that their friends have all necessities for living and interact with people who will encourage themselves to do what is right, allowing them to observe, serve, and imbibe their spirit of compassion and love. Buddhist teachings, as stated by Sivaraksa, emphasizes on the benefit of getting rid greed from the community to deal with suffering. This implies that the village inhabitants had to practice compassion and cooperation. They had to look for better ways of getting rid of desires and start sharing resources to help meet everyone’s needs. According to Buddhist teachings, the village inhabitants had the responsibility of changing from their old ways by eliminating their expectations and desires, and concentrate on building a better place with happiness.
Redevelopment has been known to be consisting of the political and economic gains. They have been considered as the main solutions of sufferings and misery. People only consider faith and religion because of the belief that they have that it can only be applied to tackle conditions related to the soul. They only apply religion and faith when their souls have problems. Buddhist teachings attempt to change the traditional view of development by concentrating on a wide range of ideas like peace, freedom, compassion, and happiness other than economic gain. The Sila offers moral and ethical principles motivating cooperation and compassion between village members. It helps village inhabitants develop a sense of cooperation and compassion that leads to the creation of a better society. It also strengthens their quality of life. They teach people on ways of assisting themselves from suffering by first concentrating on their fundamental needs and those of their friends. For example, the use of The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path helps societies redevelop by focusing on the basic needs other than material desires (Sivaraksa, 89). They help societies to come up with an environment that is free, safe, and not dependent on any social or economic systems. Generally, even though political and economic consideration can best result in redevelopment efforts, Buddhism concentrates mostly on the human sufferings by encouraging values of happiness, freedom, and peace through sustainability and self-sufficiency.
- King, S. B. (2017). of Karma from an engaged Buddhist perspective. A Mirror Is for Reflection: Understanding Buddhist Ethics, 166.
- Sulak Sivaraksa, “A Buddhist Reponse to Globalization”. Mindful Politics Guide to Making the World a Better Place. Wisdom Publications. 284-290.
- Sulak Sivaraksa, “Engaged Buddhism: Liberation from a Buddhist Perspective”. World Religions and Human Liberation, ed. Dan Cohn-Sherbok, 78-92.
- Huston Smith, “Buddhism,” in The World’s Religions, 82-119.