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I've been researching about Buddhism and their pursuit for peace and i have some questions.

  • Do you believe that Buddhism has shaped society today. If so how?
  • How has Buddhism influenced your life?
  • Where in Buddhism does it say that you have to live your life in peace?
  • Do you believe that a pursuit of peace is necessary in today's society?
  • As a Buddhist, how does a pursuit of peace begin? (How do you pursue it, what does a "pursuit" of peace entail and when does your pursuit end?)
  • Do you believe that all people should follow a life of peace?
  • As a Buddhist, do you think that Buddhism has the idea of changing the world?
  • If Buddhism values finding peace within yourself, how is each person finding peace among themselves going to help change the world? Thank you.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Robin111, Lanka, Andrei Volkov, Crab Bucket Aug 9 '15 at 14:35

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I agree that this question reads as "primarily opinion-based". I also already closed this question once as "too broad", but then decided to reverse my close-vote and to try to answer it instead, based on the Moderation policies for Questions: which says that we will try to answer questions instead of closing them. But you can vote to close, if you think this question ought to be closed instead. – ChrisW Aug 9 '15 at 10:41
  • Given that this question could get answers which are "primarily opinion-based", if you do want to answer it then I recommend you read Good Subjective, Bad Subjective before you write an answer: and in your answer, either explain experience (and not just opinion), or 'back it up' with a reference. – ChrisW Aug 9 '15 at 10:54
  • @ChrisW maybe we could just make these sort of questions wiki? – yuttadhammo Aug 9 '15 at 16:52
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    @ChrisW, we definitely do try to answer everything and our stats show a 99% answer rate which is great. My reason for casting a close vote was because this is less a question and more an "interview" about personal experience and perceptions of Buddhism and accepting this type of interview style of question might lead to more of the same. Perhaps the idea of making these questions a community wiki (as suggested by Ven. Yuttadhammo above) makes sense? I'll open a meta thread to get feedback. :) – Robin111 Aug 9 '15 at 19:24
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    Hi Lewis and welcome to Buddhism.SE. Here is a new user guide to help explain how questions are best asked on the site. There's also a new topic on the meta site where we say why we think this question shouldn't be answered. If you want to ask this question again, please edit it to simplify or explain it, or to add some context about why or what you're asking: preferably to re-ask it as a single question. Thank you. – Robin111 Aug 10 '15 at 3:10
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I think the questions are very broad (too broad), so this answer will be correspondingly (too) shallow.

It's 'community wiki' in case you want to edit (add to) it.

Do you believe that Buddhism has shaped society today. If so how?

Yes.

It does so by providing an alternative. If your question is like, "Do you believe 'that door over there' (Buddhism) has shaped 'prison' (society) today?", then Buddhism might be about freedom.

There's an article titled The Taste of Freedom which includes,

"Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline (dhammavinaya) there is but one taste — the taste of freedom": with these words the Buddha vouches for the emancipating quality of His doctrine.

How has Buddhism influenced your life?

I don't think that's on-topic on this site, because that isn't common/shared experience.

Where in Buddhism does it say that you have to live your life in peace?

There's a general concept called non-violence or Ahimsa.

More specifically there are rules of ethics which are called e.g. five precepts: which include "peaceful" rules like "don't kill" and "don't steal" and "don't lie".

Do you believe that a pursuit of peace is necessary in today's society?

I think that people (in society) find stress unpleasant, and that too much stress (or greed) can lead to war and destruction of society. Even if there weren't inter-personal or international problems, there are still personal problems: for example your friends and family (and you) getting sick and old and dying.

So, yes, some alternative to or relief from stress, some peace, is necessary to society.

Various members of society (i.e. people) learn about Buddhism when they feel motivated to.

As a Buddhist, how does a pursuit of peace begin? (How do you pursue it, what does a "pursuit" of peace entail and when does your pursuit end?)

I think it begins with stress. When you experience stress then you pursue peace.

A way to pursue it by following the Buddhist "noble eightfold way" a.k.a. "three-fold training".

The pursuit ends when it's successful.

This is summarized in the Four Noble Truths:

  1. Stress exists
  2. Stress has a cause
  3. There is a way to end stress
  4. The way to end stress is the "noble eightfold way"

There is more than one school of Buddhism though. In this answer, with the "four noble truths", I'm trying to summarize the earliest school, but see also e.g. the last paragraph of this answer which suggests that the pursuit ends when one is, also, liberated from the stress of (or perhaps peaceful even within the constraints of) Buddhism. This answer suggests there some real difference in the end-stage of different Buddhist schools (but that's probably Too Much Information i.e. more detail than you were looking for).

Do you believe that all people should follow a life of peace?

Yes and no. I don't expect lions to stop hunting. I think people people might be happier and hurt each other less if they were more Buddhist.

As a Buddhist, do you think that Buddhism has the idea of changing the world?

Yes and no. Buddhism is mostly or originally about changing yourself.

Buddhists also have an effect on each other:

Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie."[1]

"Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.

Buddhists may also have an effect on society at large (see for example Did the Buddha try to effect social change?) and includes advice for laypeople who continue to live within society.

Furthermore, Mahayana Buddhism includes the concept of not only liberating yourself but also "changing the word" (e.g. liberating "all other sentient beings").

If Buddhism values finding peace within yourself, how is each person finding peace among themselves going to help change the world?

For the better, presumably.

One way is that the purpose of "virtue" is "lack of remorse". In order to find peace, people may find they need to become more effective (e.g. so they can fulfill their social duties).

The Dalai Lama says that happiness comes from making other people happy.

  • Thank you for taking your time and effort to provide an answer. – Lanka Aug 9 '15 at 23:47
  • It's such a broad question (many possible definitions of "peace" and "society") that I don't think that this a "one true answer"; it's one way to approach one of many possible answers, and it does include some links to references if the OP wants to research that further. It is a bit of an introduction to Buddhism, but it says almost nothing about peace movements or society in the modern world. I suspect that the OP copied those questions from somewhere without explaining the context i.e. why they're being asked, so it's hard to know what they're asking. – ChrisW Aug 10 '15 at 7:34

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