A Buddhist Charter
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(FOREWORD by the Dhamma Study and Practice Group)
This book, A Buddhist Charter, which consists of 136 proposed items, results from the 50 anniversary commemoration of Suan Mokkh on the Visakha Puja Day of 1982. The Venerable Than Achan Buddhadasa of Suan Mokkh drafted and presented motions to the Buddhist assembly there so that they would consider them and reach a common agreement which would become a practical guideline for Buddhists in general. The assembly consisted of two committees, one scripture or theory-oriented and the other proper social practice-oriented. The two committees joined forces in considering and refining the motions until they reached mutual satisfaction. Then they declared the motions as a Buddhist charter.
The charter is divided into 10 groups, namely, (a) general; (b) practical principles that should be considered and put to rest; (c) different views that should be eliminated; (d) interpretation of the terms; (e) problems between religions; (f) international problems of the present world; (g) things that deserve to be understood and written down as rules; (h) culture of the present-day Buddhists; (i) the ultimate dhammas that everybody should know; (j) miscellaneous problems. It can be seen that these cover almost all aspects; and the charter should be used as a guide in tackling problems properly and in accordance with the Buddha-dhamma principle.
The Dhamma Study & Practice Group realizes the importance and indispensability of this Buddhist charter. Therefore, we have it translated into English and publish it together with the Thai version. This is for dual study and dissemination to the whole world. We hope this would help create a more correct understanding and the right view, which in turn would create peace for the world and happiness for those who abide by the charter.
The translators and the publishers humbly dedicate this work to Venerable Than Achan Buddhadasa in commemoration of his 84th birthday on May 27, 1990. We also take this opportunity to suggest that the readers try to follow the charter in order to live righteously and to create a righteous society.