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近期公布的新加坡人口普查2010年报告,明显地指出过去10年来信仰佛教的人数有大幅度的下降,原因是否和印顺导师在他的著作常提到的以下佛教流弊现象有关: 重经忏法会, 喜神秘神通的香火道场,卖素斋,供禄(莲)位, 忽略了讲经弘法的如来事业。婆罗门教化,儒化,道化,神化的佛教。根本佛法的淳朴已被梵化而不存在了。国大的一位社会学副教授在他的评语中指出受高教育的新加坡人比较会选择非宗教仪式化的生活方式。这个趋向是否刚好和时下在新加坡盛行的一般佛教流弊现象相反,导致受高教育的年轻人远离佛教。~ 刘德宣

The recent Singapore population census of 2010 report indicated a rapid decline (first dip in 30 years) of people adopting the Buddhist faith. I wonder if the reason for such decline is linked to the following phenomenon of abuses in Buddhist practices so often cautioned by Venerable Master Yinshun in his various writings: Emphasis on rituals, obsession with the mystical and metaphysical aspects.

Joss-stick temples preoccupied with the business of offering vegetarian dishes and ancestor worship services, but neglected the teaching of the Dharma as a core duty and responsibility. Buddhist practices that embraced and incorporated the practices of Brahmanism, Confucianism, Taoism and the deification of the Buddha. The purity and simplicity of the original teaching of the Buddha has been contaminated by divinization of the teachings.

Sociologist Daniel Goh, an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore, said ‘Higher-educated people are more likely to look to a de-ritualized way of life. “. Has the popular “Buddhist” practices (or malpractices) we see here in today’s Singapore run counter to this trend of the more educated younger generation, therefore causing these younger and more educated Singaporeans to stay away from Buddhism? ~ Low Teck Suan

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6 Responses to “Decline Of Buddhism In Singapore”

  1. “younger and more educated Singaporeans”

    while I do feel the same that some aspects of Buddhism requires some experience/challenges in life to understand better, hence younger ones may not get in touch with nor truly appreciate the depths of Buddhism. (Except those fortunate few who may have known Buddhism in past few lifes)

    I beg to differ that “educated” ones avoid Buddhism. In fact, I do believe there are quite a few well-known “thinkers” who have chosen to embrace Buddhism in the latter part of their lives, especially after being in contact with various studies and religions.
    Thus, what the “educated” ones are staying away from, is not pure Buddhism, but those that have been contaminated and/ mixed with others.

    Yes, I think it is a pity that there is a “decline” of Buddhism in Singapore, but then again, if the large amount of so-called Buddhists earlier on had not had the correct understanding of Buddhism in the first place, then… hey, what does a bunch of numbers tell? It depends on what the person who’s looking at them choose to focus on.

    My concern, though, is that this period is said to be the start/midst of the decline in Buddhism, before it totally disappears on Earth… before, appearing again. of course. I guess, just like birth & death, everything goes through a similar cycle.

  2. While I have no statistical data to support, the recent topic on the decline in the number of Buddhists in Singapore is possibly a more true reflection of the actual number of Buddhist as compared to the Household study conducted 10 years ago.

    Back then, many people do not see the different between in the teaching of Buddhism and Taoism. Thus many tend to stick to or follow the religion that was indicated on their NRIC of that of their parents. This is more so 10 years ago and I believe the majority of “Buddhists” comprised a large proportion of Buddhist and non Buddhist. So, of the over 50% “Buddhist” surveyed back then, Buddhist made up less that the recent % surveyed. This is somewhat like the stock market where you see stock adjustment/ correction.

    With more continuous effort put forward by the various Buddhist temples and communities, such as Buddhism study, meditation, understanding the real meaning of Buddhist ritual for certain tradition (not blind faith), puja, etc. over the years, all these activities reach out to more Buddhists and non Buddhists in general, be it the English or Chinese speaker, be it the youth or old.

    Thus I believe the % of Buddhists now has in fact grown since 10 years ago, and this is the true reflection of the efforts the Buddhist communities have put forward.

  3. What can we do to help Buddhism prosper?
    Answer : Cultivate by holding the Five Precepts, and practicing humaneness, a sense of fairness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. This way, little by little, Buddhism will prosper.

    What is the biggest problem with Buddhism?
    Answer : The biggest problem is greed, exploitation, and selfishness.

    The above was extracted from http://www.cttbusa.org/vajrastrikes/social_issues_3.asp

    Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua, came from China to propagated Buddhist in the United Of States of America. How can a chinese who speaks NO or little english propagate Buddha’s Teachings in USA!

    He had founded the THE SAGLY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHA, Buddhist University Schools, Translation society to translate Buddha’s sutras to English, Polish, Spanish, Vietnamese, French, Dutch and German. His “Ang Mo” (western) disciples now continue to do his work to propagate Buddha’s Teaching through out the west.

    Its really amaze me when i came to learn about how Master Hsuan Hua able to propagate in a predominately Christian country.

    It will be a great disservice to Buddhism if we do not further learn from this Chinese monk, his ways, method, teachings and various means and effort in propagating Buddha Teachings in the western world.

    We should if we are willing to learn and support them by inviting his disciple to Singapore which The Buddhist Union in singapore had already beginning to do so.

    In todays context, majority Singaporean are more english proficient. To propagate buddhist only in profound chinese will turn many away.

    Don’t be selfish but learn from others around the world and just like our government, to attract foreign talents (monks) into singapore!

  4. What can we do to help Buddhism prosper?
    Ans : Cultivate by holding the Five Precepts, and practicing humaneness, a sense of fairness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. This way, little by little, Buddhism will prosper.

    I was amazed by one China Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua who came to United States of America in the 1950s single handedly propagating the Dharma to a predominately Christian country.

    He founded THE SAGELY TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS TEMPLE, and founded Buddhist University, Buddhist Colleges, Buddhist sutra translation society to translate sutras into varies countries languages and etc.

    His “Ang MO” disciples speaks fluently in mandarin and continue to propagate Buddhism in western land.

    If he can do it so well alone and in foreign land, have we ever ponder why our followers are dwindling?

    Perhaps, we should start looking at things in today context and revolutionalize ourselves to suit better in todays world.

  5. Low Teck Suan February 20, 2011

    What about the factor of disillusionment with the discovery that there is a great disparity between the practices of “popular Buddhism” so widespread these days and that of what the Buddha did actually teach as recorded in the Suttas (Nikayas)? For those who are strongly faith-based, they opted for simple straightforward modern theistic religions. For those who are reason-based, they prefer to be free-thinkers. Thus the increase in both Christianity and free-thinkers.

  6. Agree with Jetty and Jackie’s view. Educated young SG nowadays will want to know what they stipulate as their religion. Having a religious awareness benefit everyone on a whole so nothing’s wrong with that! Statistics usually need to be complemented with analysis on society. :loll:

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