Modern Trends in World Religions

By A. Eustace Haydon | Go to book overview

VIII
BUDDHISM AND MODERN SOCIAL- ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

By Y. Y. Tsu

THE response of any religion to the impact of a new age usually takes the course of internal reformation, the development of a new apologetic and the formulation of a social creed, in the order named. Self- preservation requires that it spread its energy first in adjusting its own organized life to the new social environment in which it must live and from which it must derive its nourishment. Then comes the intellectual task of restating or justifying its doctrines in terms of the new ideas that sway the thinking of the age, and finally it develops a social gospel, that is to say, it becomes aware of its social mission. This has been the course taken by Christianity in the last century of modern progress, and indications are that Buddhism in Japan and China is following the same course.

Let us take into consideration Buddhism in Japan first. In regard to internal reorganization much progress has been made. It is well known that in reorganizing itself Buddhism in Japan has consciously made the Christian church its model, so that there are Y.M.B.A., Y.W.B.A., Sunday Schools, hymn singing, and even a Salvation Army. All sects report larger memberships, at least statistically, though it is difficult to tell whether larger figures indicate greater fervor or much better bookkeeping. The Buddhist Year Book of Japan presents an imposing array of statistics.

Fifty-six main and sub-sects are registered with the government. Each sect has a "kancho," or "bishop," at

-71-

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