At Borobudur, unlike the Acropolis, the landscape and the architecture are not contending with one another; they are in harmony. At Borobudur the builder has completely hidden the hill, from its flanks to its crown, but in hiding it he has reproduced it in a man-made medium. The masonry is as luxuriant as the jungle-clad mountain that rises above the platform on which the stupa stands, and as abundant as the rice fields in the valley toward which the ground falls away on the opposite side. But is “masonry” an adequate word? The hill at Borobudur has been made into a building that is also a piece of sculpture.At Borobudur sculpture, masonry, and hill are all one. ….
Rising in a series of terraces and circular platforms, the over a thousand year old shrine of Borobudar in Java forms nearly three miles of sculptured stone pathways for the Buddhist pilgrims to ascend. It could take a pilgrim years to study all the stone sculpture on this terraced mountain of Buddhist art in Java.
… The sculpture is overwhelming in its profusion. It extends in banks, tier upon tier, and the question to pose is whether this is a myriad of separate pieces of sculpture, or a single piece with myriad facets? This second way of describing it may be nearer to the truth. There is a unity in the multiplicity, and this unity is both visual and representational. This gigantic piece of sculpture that is also a building and a hill is at the same time a drama. It is the drama of Buddhism; previous incarnations of he Buddha- all present a cosmic drama whose acts are aeons.
Religious art is the at of illiteracy. The three great missionary religions-Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam all have their scriptures, but of the three, Islam alone has relied solely on the written and spoken word for making its beliefs and its story known to mankind in the mass. All three religions have been propagated among populations in which only a tiny minority could read and write at the same time when they were converted, and Buddhism and Christianity have therefore used representational art to expound themselves to people who could not easily be reached through any other medium.
This is the key to the stupa at Borobudur. It is a sermon in stone; and the unity of the sculpture that is part and parcel of the architecture and of the stone-incased hill is not only an artistic unity for the eye; it is a mental unity for the mind and for the heart. When once the pilgrim enters the labyrinth, it is apparently hard for him to tear himself away. They are drawn onward and upward by figure after figure, scene after scene, terrace after terrace; and on leaving they cannot take their eyes off this lovely fruit of harmonious cooperation with nature.
When the same pilgrim leaves Athens, the Acropolis, crowned by the Parthenon, stands out clearly until it is suddenly blotted out by the intervention of the spur of the mountain; when the pilgrim leaves Borobudur, the stupa gradually fades away into the landscape like a grove of stone trees between forest and field. Whether we can generalize this as a metaphor for the two religions and their relationship to nature, to “material” is possible, particularly the mainstream western consumerist version that is deeply entrenched, though Buddhism itself appears to have some widely varying strands….
John Weldon: The emphasis on materialism and the element of personal power are the most obvious attractions of Nichiren
Shoshu. Chanting is believed to bring “benefits” (answered “prayer”) in the form of acquiring possessions, money,
health, and control over one’s own personal circumstances and perhaps even those of others. By chanting, one can
allegedly acquire anything one desires: “Through faith in the Gohonzon he can fulfill any wish and control his
…According to Daishonin, the cause of all unhappiness is evil religion, which, more or less, constituted all other religious interpretations apart from his own. Shakubuku (to break and subdue) is one NS term descriptive of his attitude toward other religions. Shakubuku is the forceful method of conversion, whereas shoju is the more moderate approach. According to Harry Thomsen, author of The New Religions of Japan, “Nichiren maintained that to kill heretics is not murder, and that it is the duty of the government to extirpate heresy with the sword.”
Shakubuku is considered an act of great love and mercy, because it breaks the evil religion of the person being converted. The second president, Josei Toda, stated on May 3, 1951: “Kosenrufu [mass conversion] of today can be attained only when all of you take on evil religions and convert everyone in the country and let him accept a Gohonzon.” …In essence, being a Christian brings “bad karma.” Relying upon Jesus Christ for salvation will “ultimately lead to confusion.” Christian teachings are “destructive of people’s happiness.” And, referring to the Christian concepts of God and salvation, we are told there is no need to seek salvation outside ourselves in the Christian God, nor is there any reason to believe in Him, nor is there any need for the concept of God’s grace. As professor N. S. Brannen observed, “Christianity is the universal non-Buddhist religion singled out for attack.”…The biblical concept of atonement (John 3:16; 1 John 2:22) is rejected on multiple grounds. First, Christianity’s God is held to be a myth and so its teaching on the atoning death of Christ — God’s Son— is also held to be a myth. There is no Christian God who exists; so he could not, in fact, have a Son to give. Thus, as NS acknowledges, “faith in the saving power of Christ is fundamental to every Christian teaching….Buddhism paints a vastly different picture.”
…Second, the concept of the miraculous is rejected. The idea of a divine incarnation or of a God who intervenes in history is seen as “irrational, unscientific nonsense.”45 Yet salvation in Christianity is miraculous from start to finish as can be seen in the doctrines of Christ’s miraculous birth, ministry, death and resurrection, ascension, intercession, and Second Coming. Third, the concept of substitutionary death for man’s sins violates the heart of major Buddhist doctrine, such as the law of karma — the relationship between cause and effect, and the necessity to atone for one’s own misdeeds by repayment. Read More: http://www.equip.org/PDF/DN095.pdf
Fourth, the idea of the Christian atonement is innately repugnant to Buddhists since it implies that ultimate reality is somehow linked to suffering, the very thing Buddhists work so diligently to eradicate. In the Buddhist universe, suffering is an illusion to be dispensed with— forever vanquished by absorption into the ultimate reality of a blissful, if impersonal, Nirvana. It is not something that can be related to ultimate reality (“God”) in any way.
In conclusion, Nichiren Shoshu clearly offers a system of salvation by merit and personal effort. God is an entirely irrelevant consideration. By chanting, one removes karma, becomes happy, and, finally, attains Buddhahood…Third, I have talked with NS members who have attempted to utilize chanting to bring about evil: to obtain drugs, commit crimes, or to magically control other people’s decisions. They have told me that “chanting works as well for these things as for any others.” But even when NS members chant for “good” things, the emphasis is far too materialistic. NS maintains that those who chant properly “will surely become rich” and, “Let’s make money and build health and enjoy life to our heart’s content before we die!”50 Many more examples of such a materialistic attitude could be cited if space permitted. In NS it becomes all too easy to replace spiritual integrity with a goal of
personal indulgence. Read More: http://www.equip.org/PDF/DN095.pdf
Read More: http://www.earthlight.org/earthsaint25.html
…In Ecology and Religion, David Kinsely (1995: 188) addresses what he understands as the deep ecological argument that “the rights of the individual must be subordinate to the well-being of the whole, because the whole is prior to the individual, and without the whole no individual could exist.” For Kinsley, such deep ecological reasoning is in contrast with the (stereo)typical Western
atomistic reading of the environment that prioritizes human beings and separates them not only from other beings, but also from their surroundings. Western societies are characterized by Kinsley as idealizing individuality and attributing success and merit outside of external environmental factors. According to a deep ecological understanding of life and of the environment, he
says, this reasoning is faulty.
At the same time, in keeping with our discussion of divisions constructed between human/nonhuman, sentience/non-sentience,
we hold that Kinsley’s (1995) way of phrasing this issue is problematic because to subordinate the rights of the individual to
the rights of the whole is to relate them hierarchically. Instead, a non-hierarchical relation would suggest that our thoughts and
actions must ensure that we prioritize neither the individual nor the whole. This is in keeping with the deep ecological position
discussed above, which understands that without individuals the whole would also be unable to exist, insofar as deep ecologists
believe that there is an intimate relationship to be uncovered between all life forms, without exception….( Gregory, Sabra)