The Long Way Home, by Sun Shuyun

Buddhism now

Buddha Amida, Lord of the Western Paradise or Pure LandI grew up in China in the 1960s. Many of you will, I am sure, know what a strange time that was in China. Just about everything was turned upside down and Buddhism was very much a synonym for anything that was bad about our society. Buddhism was regarded as feudal, reactionary, and as something that gave China a lot of its evils. In primary school we had compulsory classes on political studies three times a week, during which times we studied Mao’s work, and religion was a target of attack. Communism regarded Buddhism, I would say, as the main competitor for the control for faith, for the control of people’s minds. Indeed, we had a saying, `One more Buddhist, one less Communist.’ Throughout China, even today, the one thing you will definitely see in most villages and cities, big and small, is a temple. It could be as small…

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