Buddhism represents one of the great religious traditions of the Eastern World. However, the religion is not only a part of the Eastern culture today. Many individuals practice Buddhism worldwide. Due to its importance as a dominant form of religion, it is a well-known religion throughout the Western World, as well as the Eastern World. It appeals to many individuals in the Western World. This appeal may stem from its focus on inner peace and simplification in an increasingly complex world. As the modern world demands greater and greater multi-tasking to live, the desire to focus on spiritual oneness likely appeals to many. It is now a mainstream religion in the West with many practitioners in the United States.
The modern world has many interactions with Buddhism. Many individuals are familiar with the concept of reincarnation. Whether they believe in it or not, the term and idea behind reincarnation is a well-known concept throughout modern society. Another term that many individuals know is mindfulness. A very interesting aspect of how Buddhism has become more well-known in the modern world is through therapy. Psychologists and psychiatrists may utilize on patients a method of therapy called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. This modern form of therapy utilizes the principles of Buddhism to assist individuals with psychological and physical issues. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may be used to deal with depression or chronic pain. It is also used to learn acceptance of difficult situations, such as living with a chronic medical condition or living in chronic pain. It is currently one of the most widely-used therapies in the modern world. Buddhist psychology has been shown to be an effective method of psychotherapy through various studies.
However, since Buddhism is recognized as a religion, some therapists have distanced the practice of mindfulness in therapy from its Buddhist roots. However, “according to Buddhist traditions, respectfully acknowledging the origins of practices helps to provide confidence and credibility in teaching these practices. Patients need not have heard about Buddhism to benefit from mindfulness” (Huxter, 2007, p. 45). However, many psychologists who utilize this method do have a greater level of understanding regarding Buddhist teachings and practices. Through this, they bring Buddhism to a greater modern audience and assist these individuals in overcoming personal difficulties.
Even individuals who do not practice or follow Buddhism are likely familiar with the Dalia Lama. The Dalia Lama is the head monk in Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalia Lama, the 14th, actually is a well-known public figure and author. Because of his writings, he influences the spirituality of many who do not practice Buddhism. There is also a political aspect of the Dalai Lama since he was exiled from Tibet in 1959. Many individuals question the legality and ethicality of the Chinese occupation of Tibet. For these individuals, the Dalai Lama represents the human face of the Chinese oppression of Tibet. The Dalia Lama currently travels the world and teaches individuals about the principles and practices of Buddhism. His speeches traditionally sell-out and many individuals who are not Buddhist attend. He is an extremely well-respected public figure and has led a number of peace initiatives. His presented his plan for peace for Tibet to the United States Congress. For his work, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. He is referred to as His Holiness. The Dalia Lama’s popularity, both as a leader and as an author, has stimulated worldwide interest in Buddhism. Despite this, he considers himself just a simple monk. The figure of the Dalia Lama has inspired many individuals to seek out Buddhism and its principles. His strength as a leader and his importance in spreading Buddhism in the modern world cannot be underestimated (His Holiness, the 14th Dalia Lama of Tibet, n.d.)
Buddhism actually has a tremendous impact on the modern world. Many individuals may not realize how often they interact with Buddhist principles and teachings. An obvious example of this is the move toward including it in psychotherapy. Also, one of the most beloved figures of the modern world is the head monk of Tibet. His influence on the world has been tremendous.