Buddhism and The Youths

For a long time, most Vietnamese people have perceived Buddhism as a religion of the following types of people: old people who need mental support, people who have been hurt, people with unsuccessful goals in life, people who are homeless, and people with physical limitations. This type of thought has engraved deeply in their mind, therefore, when they see a young adult renounce or attend a temple, they say he/she is tired of life, pessimistic, or running away from the society. But they have never thought that Buddhism is a "religion of the youths, who are energetic and passionate about life." I am saying so to make Buddhism be closer to the youths because it is true that Buddhism is quite appropriate for them. The appropriation bases on the following factors:


One of Buddhism's goals is to train people with a pure mind. Therefore, it strongly opposes greed, hatred, and resentment that are hidden in their mind. When becoming adults, they have to leave their parents to struggle with life and compete with others. As time goes by, those negative behaviors become so accustomed to delude their mind. At their old age, it's difficult to clear these negative behaviors. It is like a white shirt with a stain. It is not easy to get rid of it. The youths are pure, but of course with some minor negative behaviors. If they are awakened soon enough, it would be easier for them to terminate any bad behavior. It is like we can easily get rid of a stain on a white shirt right after it has been stained. Hence, the youths would be the appropriate generation to practice the virtue of purification.


Buddhism is a religion of truth. Practitioners should detach themselves from unreal matters to return to the truth. The Buddha prohibited lying and taught us the contemplation of impermanence, contemplation of impurification, and contemplation of sufferings because he wanted us to return to the truth. The youths are innocent as they say of what they think. Therefore, they are not mischievous. But when they become adults, their habitual socialization or living circumstance would make them get used to cunning and take them far away from the truth. It's harder to return when they are far away from the start. Therefore, because the youths are honest and truthful, they are closer to Buddhism.


Buddhism is a religion of compassion that would relieve beings from sufferings through all possible ways and forms. Buddhist practitioners are the people who sacrifice their life to bring happiness to sentient beings and open their impartial mind of generosity to all beings. Could a humpbacked hollow cheeked person have that mind of generosity and sacrifice? Could an ill person do it? Is the person who could accomplish it pessimistic and weak? Indeed, he/she should be strong with an energetic body and ability to share and take over the hardships of sentient beings. In addition, the youths are at the age with broad views and a desire of holding all beings in. But when they are tied with the responsibilities of a wife, husband, father, or mother, their goals are enclosed within the boundary of the family. Eventually, those goals will diminish like dewdrops vanishing in the sun. Isn't it a tremendous happiness when they could arise unlimited compassionate love at young age?


Buddha is at the supreme level. To attain this fruition, one should undergo much difficulty in a long period of time. It's impossible for the youths to attain it in a short time, except Bodhisattvas. The process of practicing is like climbing on a high mountain. In order to get to the peak, the person has to go through many thorny or gravel roads and through many dangerous hills and abysses. At the end, he/she would be able to relax to view the sceneries. Thus, to accomplish the practice of perseverance, it requires a person with strong legs, sharp eyes, good health, and determination. The youths would be able to do this task because they are energetic and have a long life to go. If the Buddha postponed his practice until the age of 70 or 80, we now would not know his dharmas.


Buddha was enlightened. Buddhist practitioners are following the clear path that he had gone through to get to enlightenment. To be enlightened, it requires wisdom because wisdom is the light that clears up the dark and makes all objects visible so that their identities are revealed. Though, in order to have wisdom, we should have a healthy body like it said, "A clear mind in a healthy body." Conversely, it means the same. It's easy for the youths to attain wisdom, while it's difficult for the elders. In fact, with a same lesson, young people would learn it quicker, while old people would take more time to learn. Therefore, youngsters are ideal candidates to Buddhism.

Even though Buddhism is the best fit for youngsters, it's still appropriate for elders, unfortunate people, and those who are tired of life. It is because Buddhism is a religion of equality and its dharmas spread widely. If young people could get close to Buddhism through virtue of purification, then the elders could attain the happiness through their belief. If youngsters could open their heart by practicing the virtue of compassion, then unfortunate people could be comforted by their compassion. When the youths enter Buddhism with the goal of attaining emancipation and Buddhahood, it would be beneficial for tired of life people to have the sound of chanting and the resounding of the bells and gongs awaken them and diminish their resentment.

In conclusion, Buddhism is a religion of everyone, especially for the youths because they have all means to practice the Buddhist dharmas and the determination to walk on the path of self-realization and to awaken others regardless of how much danger and suffering they have to face. That's why to attain wisdom, the Buddha had taught us the four virtues of purification, truthfulness, compassion, and perseverance. If youngsters are devout in practicing Buddhism, they would have fulfilled those virtues. The youths are the best fit to Buddhism, therefore, as a young adult, you should waste no time. It is too late to regret when you are in senior age. The Buddha had said, "You said 'I am still young, therefore, I have to enjoy. I will practice when I get old. But the death is no different from a robber watching you (his good prey) with a sharp knife in his hand. How could you be sure that you could wait until you're old to morally transform your mind?"