What modern conditions are contributing to the growing practice of Buddhism in the West today?

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Have you ever seen the beautiful image of the Buddha in Kamakura, Japan? It is a magnificent and ancient structure, set among the verdant natural scenery of Japan. That statue exemplifies the contentment and serenity that Buddhism offers its practitioners.

Today, that fulfillment remains elusive for most Westerners. They frequently multitask. They constantly check their smartphones. They drive too fast because they are in a hurry. Buddhism offers these harried individuals the contentment they need and a way to simplify their lives.

A pandemic has struck the West, along with other parts of the world. The health emergency has forced people to slow down and consider what is really important in their lives. As a young man, Buddha learned that sickness was a part of life. Some anxious Westerners may turn to Buddhism as they confront the pandemic.

In the United States, it is widely believed that hard work will propel you to the top. This belief, the Horatio Alger tale, causes discontentment as Americans realize that working long hours does not bring happiness. Moreover, Buddha, who was born into wealth, taught that material goods do not lead to happiness.

One of the great attractions of Buddhism is the fact that it is both a religion and a philosophy. Traditional religions are preoccupied with life after death. Buddhism offers nirvana in this life to those who faithfully follow its precepts.

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