Who Needs the Ten Commandments?
Comments on JN’s lecture, The Ten Commandments
Last year Jisei Nagasaka issued several degrading remarks on Islam. This year he has pointed his finger at the Ten Commandments.
JN has been claiming in public sermons that religions other than his are “imperfect religions.” In particular he has cited the Ten Commandments, informing his congregants that they must “discard the imperfect precepts of imperfect religions and ideas such as the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments.” According to Mr. Nagasaka, if all people were to join his sect “we won’t need precepts such as the Ten Commandments.”
Christians who are offended by these remarks should be assured that the statements are very offensive to mainstream Buddhists like me. Buddhism is the religion of tolerance. Mr. Nagasaka’s remarks reflect only his fringe sect and are not representative of the beliefs of the vast majority of Buddhists who respect Christianity and other faiths.
The Ten Commandments do not represent some minimal moral standard that must be rejected. They involve hard work! They have been the basis of civilized societies. Janice Crouse, of Concerned Women of America, stated in a recent public forum, “The Ten Commandments provide basic principles for a basic civil society. They describe how people ought to interact with each other with honor and integrity, and they state our relationship with God. The Ten Commandments lay down boundaries for honorable behavior. These commandments acknowledge that there must be accountability. Democracy depends upon honorable behavior among citizens.” Ms. Crouse sees the Ten Commandments from a Christian perspective but that does not invalidate her thinking anymore than the “Ode to Joy” should be eliminated from the music repertory because the composer and lyricist were not Buddhists.
We need to polish ourselves and each other. Eventually we will be able to establish a world in which the hopes and dreams embodied in the Ten Commandments are perfectly realized.