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If we do good things, it gets better in the next life

A sign at a country road in Rosersberg, north of Stockholm, and shows the way to buddisttemplet.

the Two lions guarding a red port. It leads into a yellow entréportal which is a part of a gray industrial building. The lions symbolize strength, courage, happiness, and success.

– It is not just my faith that lead me here but I feel at home when I'm here. When I am in temple, it feels like I'm in Taiwan, " says Chia-Chun Lu, 22, who shows me in through a sidoentré.

The taiwanese-buddhist temple in Rosersberg outside Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Samuelson

in a buddhist environment and moved four years ago to his father in Sweden. There are different buddhist temple in Stockholm and she came to the temple in Rosersberg because they practice so-called humanistic buddhism, which she is accustomed.

the Temple is run by the International buddhist progress society, the IBPS, one of the worldwide klosterorganisation from Taiwan.

Humanistic buddhism focuses on two concepts: to do three good deeds and four good givanden. It's about speaking good words, do good things and have a good heart. And to give others faith, give others hope, give others joy and give others support and help.

" For us it is not so important to meditate as it is for other buddhists. It doesn't matter how much you meditate, if you have a bad heart. We believe that it is more important to have a good heart and practicing by making things. I meditate two times a month, " says Chia-Chun.

Chia-Chun Lu from Taiwan. She's reading at the community college and have applied to the college she wants to study it. Photo: Fredrik Samuelson

man, just as in hinduism, the rebirth. But there is no soul, as the upanishads, which hindus believe. It is deeds, our karma, who is seeking a new existence.

We punish ourselves by getting bad karma. It will determine the mode of existence we are reborn to and if it gets on earth, in the heavens or in the hells. All of these are genomgångsstadier where we live out our past karma and then be reincarnated at a higher or lower level.

" You don't know what happens, but if we do good things, it gets better in the next life. I'm not too worried about it. In humanistic buddhism, we believe that we should live the best life that we can live in the here and now. If I do the things that I think are good and things that I should do so I will have a better next life, " says Chia-Chun.

the Goal is to eventually stop reborn and achieve nirvana. According to buddhism it is the enlightened state, a form of eternal rest beyond all återfödelsevärldar where all suffering ceases.

Buddha statue at the front of the temple. Photo: Fredrik Samuelson

the buddhism of Siddhartha Gautama more than 2,500 years ago in India. He is considered to have reached nirvana after his death and saw his wisdom as entirely human, without any creator god involved.

By not living his life in luxury and abundance, but also not too simple and poor, we can reach the knowledge and insight needed for liberation. The Buddha called it the golden mean.

Buddhism is not a religion for me but a combination of philosophy, culture and history. In buddhism we talk about non-egoism, to get away from the self. We must think of others and not on ourselves. Then I build also on my karma, " says Chia-Chun.

– It is about living simply. Money and materialism is not important. For everything is changing, nothing is definitive. Therefore, you should not be attached to things, because it can make us greedy. The more you own, the more problems you get.

A buddhist should not intentionally kill , or damage any living beings. But how we behave, we kill animals, but that we are aware of it. When we eat plant we get the vegetables and grains that been sprayed to kill the pests and the ploughing and harvesting kill animals unintentionally.

Many buddhists are vegetarians, others eat meat. There is no general prohibition against the eating of meat, " says Chia-Chun. She believes that it is the intention that counts. If the animal is killed for a specific person it becomes bad karma but if it is for the people, it is considered as food.

" I'm not a vegetarian, but in the temple we eat vegetarian.

She tries to be observant so that she did not deliberately kill insects or bugs. If a mosquito settles down on her arm to avoid her hitting the.

" I'm just trying to remove it and drop it off.

the Temple is located in the middle of an industrial area in Rosersberg and has two protective lions in front of a red chinese port. Photo: Fredrik Samuelson

buddhist influences. With mindfulness and some forms of cognitive behavioural therapy, we have been inspired by buddhism to consciously take in the moment to be able to go on. The interior design shops are enigmatic smiling buddha statues and people are buying herbal remedies and acupuncture, meditate, go to yoga and acupuncture or the feel of ”qi-flow” when they practice qigong.

But being a buddhist can be difficult, think Chia-Chun.

– Despite the fact that Sweden is a multireligiöst country, there are few buddhists here. I also think that there is a lack of knowledge about buddhism. It feels as if people are a little suspicious and perhaps think that buddhism is something strange that you do away in Asia. But buddhism is for all people, regardless of where you come from.

" Sweden has freedom of religion but it is a sensitive topic. I have friends who say they are buddhists because it is perceived as something a bit weird and some may think it is a little dorky. If you say that you are a buddhist in Sweden you will be direct very special.

When I ask what she thinks would have happened if she had grown up in a different context that was not buddhist, she says:

" of course, my family influenced my religion and I had grown up in a different family with a different religion so I had maybe thought of it.

I was born in a family where all were buddhists. But my mother is a person who is open-minded about religions and when I was little she took with me to both the temple and the church. There, we sang songs and listened to sermons and stories about Jesus. So I've got a bit of both.

On the altar are lit candles and flower vases. A golden Buddha looks down. Photo: Fredrik Samuelson

also received a different connotation in the western world.

the Dalai Lama, leader of tibetan buddhism, has been criticised for vague statements about whether buddhists may live out homosexual acts. In an interview in 2014 he put out in favour of same-sex marriage but pointed out that people should follow their religion rules.

Critics have also pointed out that there are strict buddhist Tibet was a hierarchical society with large class differences and poverty before China's invasion in the 1950s.

In Burma and Sri Lanka have an extreme buddhist nationalism excluded and persecuted ethnic and religious minorities, particularly muslims who have been identified as a threat to buddismens dominant position.

Buddhism is a religion that clears people's concerns and creating a free and humane life for people. The criticism of buddhism comes from people's lack of understanding about buddhism or other religions. Tolerance and understanding is important to create a safe and harmonious society, " says Chia-Chun.

– There are many reasons in the world to unrest and conflict is created, not only on Burma and Sri Lanka. Conflict comes from selfishness. If a person, a group or a country just thinks of itself creates conflicts, absolutely. Humanistic buddhism is talking about getting away from egoism, away from the self and help the community with tolerance and peace.

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