By Prof Laksiri Jayasuriya
The spirited revival of interest in Buddhism in the West1 is due to a variety of reasons, and foremost among these are the contradictions arising from the juxtaposition of present day scientific achievements such as the genome project or the new science of cosmology), and the conventional religious systems, fractured with cults, sects, and fundamentalism; and, the profound disenchantment with the new cultural ethos of unfettered greed and selfishness pronounced in the post-industrial globalised world. The new social ethic of these societies represents an attitude of mind born out of perverse forms of selfishness, ruthless competition and an excessive and unmitigated ideology of individualism. These are clearly defining features of many old and new societies driven by the twin forces of a Wellsian godless scientific ethos (Wells 1921) and a market dominated neo-liberal social and economic ideology. A dominant response in the West to this cultural and social malaise has been a renewed interest in the scientific humanism inherent in Buddhism in confronting meaningfully within the acceptable realms of scientific discourse, the challenges presented by contemporary culture of selfishness and greed characteristic of capitalism in postmodern societies. Read more ......about an evolving Buddhist social philosophy.