Buddhism won “The Best Religion In The World” award
15 Jul 2009, Tribune de Geneve
The Geneva-based International Coalition for the
Advancement of Religious and Spirituality (ICARUS)
has bestowed "The Best Religion In the World" award
this year on the Buddhist Community.
This special award was voted on by an international round
table of more than 200 religious leaders from every part of
the spiritual spectrum. It was fascinating to note that many
religious leaders voted for Buddhism rather than their own
religion although Buddhists actually make up a tiny minority
of ICARUS membership. Here are the comments by four voting members:
Jonna Hult, Director of Research for ICARUS said
"It wasn't a surprise to me that Buddhism won Best Religion
in the World, because we could find literally not one single
instance of a war fought in the name of Buddhism, in
contrast to every other religion that seems to keep a gun
in the closet just in case God makes a mistake.
We were hard pressed to even find a Buddhist that had ever
been in an army. These people practice what they preach to
an extent we simply could not document with any other spiritual tradition."
A Catholic Priest, Father Ted O'Shaughnessy said from
Belfast, "As much as I love the Catholic Church, it has
always bothered me to no end that we preach love in our
scripture yet then claim to know God's will when it comes
to killing other humans. For that reason, I did have to cast
my vote for the Buddhists."
A Muslim Cleric Tal Bin Wassad agreed from Pakistan via
his translator. "While I am a devout Muslim, I can see how
much anger and bloodshed is channeled into religious
expression rather than dealt with on a personal level.
The Buddhists have that figured out."
Bin Wassad, the ICARUS voting member for Pakistan's
Muslim community continued, "In fact, some of my best friends are Buddhist."
And Rabbi Shmuel Wasserstein said from Jerusalem,
"Of course, I love Judaism, and I think it's the greatest
religion in the world. But to be honest, I've been practicing
Vipassana meditation every day before minyan
(daily Jewish prayer) since 1993. So I get it."
However, there was one snag - ICARUS couldn't find
anyone to give the award to. All the Buddhists they called
kept saying they didn't want the award.
When asked why the Burmese Buddhist community refused
the award, Buddhist monk Bhante Ghurata Hanta said from
Burma, "We are grateful for the acknowledgement, but we
give this award to all humanity, for Buddha nature lies within each of us."
Groehlichen went on to say "We're going to keep calling
around until we find a Buddhist who will accept it.
We'll let you know when we do."