Buddhism’s Next 40 Years: The Next Generation

In the sixth and final issue in our 40th anniversary series, five young Buddhists look to the future of Buddhism.

Melvin McLeod
4 December 2019
Illustration by Sydney Smith.

Thich Nhat Hanh said that if you want to know the past, look at the present, because everything you see is a product of the past. And if you want to know the future, also look at the present, because the future is being created right now.

As Johnny Edward Dean Jr. says in his essay here, the future of Buddhism is now—you and I are co-creating it through the kind acts and sincere contributions we make today. But the literal truth is also true—the future is in the future. Having just celebrated my sixty-eighth birthday, I know I’m not going to be part of Buddhism’s next forty years (at least not in this body). The future belongs to young Buddhists like the five who share their thoughts, hopes, and ideals here.

I think you’ll be heartened—I know I am—when you read what they have to say. They are thoughtful, engaged, and whole-hearted in their dedication to the well-being of others, qualities I see in so many of their generation. The future of Buddhism—and the world—will be in good hands.

This is the fitting conclusion to our yearlong anniversary series looking at the next forty years of Buddhism. The essays, thirty in all, address some of the key challenges and opportunities that will define Buddhism going forward: message, diversity, deep practice and study, reform, and the next generation. Together, they offer an inspiring roadmap for Buddhism’s future.

We have presented this special series to celebrate Lion’s Roar’s first forty years. I hope we have many more years working together with you to benefit people’s lives, our society, and the development of Buddhism. We don’t even have to wait. Our future is now.

—Melvin McLeod

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Read the rest of the series, “Buddhism: The Next 40 Years”

Melvin McLeod

Melvin McLeod is the Editor-in-Chief of Lion’s Roar magazine and Buddhadharma.