Buddhist Lay People in the West

Ven. Piseth Sek, Ven. Ratanak keo

Abstract


People in the West, where Christianity is the main religion, seemed to hear little - if not nothing - of it. Today, more and more western people know about Buddhism. Some become ordinary Buddhists like those who come from Asean Buddhist Countries. Some have become well-known Buddhist teachers and/or authors.
Buddhist lay people are equally important for the sustainability of Buddhism. In the West, where there is a shortage of monks, Buddhist lay people play an even more important role as main disciples of Buddha are Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis, Upasikas, Upasikaas. Upasikas and Upasikaas are the lay disciples who respect the teachings of the Buddha. They are the disciples of the Buddha and are considered the pillar of Buddhism. They are interdependent: Monks cannot live and practice the dhamma easily without the support of lay people. On the other hand, lay people who are very busy with housekeeping and earning a living - having no time studying the teachings - find it hard to understand the teachings without the guidance of the monks. Nevertheless lay people in the west perform their duties such as learning and teaching, writing and publishing, doing meditation, charity work, supporting monks, preserving precepts (silas) and donating money to help sustain monasteries (temples).
Thus is the role of Buddhist lay people in promoting Buddhism in the West.
The article also informs the readers how Buddhism came to the West.
In addition, it provides a piece of advice for being a good lay Buddhist in the West.

Keywords


Buddhist, Lay People, in the West

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