I've recently been studying and practicing Theravada with a local Sri Lankan lineage temple & Bhante. Over the years I've noticed that some Westerners within Buddhism (in all the traditions) tend to shy away from the full aspects of the Buddhist/Theravada tradition. For instance, engaging in devotional practices such as chanting suttas, offering puja, and observance of holy days to focus on practice. I've noticed this in some Westerners who want only meditation
and reduce Buddhism to psychology and self-help, but I would like to engage it as a real,living and vibrant tradition. Dare I say it... as a religion. I want to participate in all of the aforementioned practices and really root my life in the Dhamma as a lay person. I am not disregarding people who only meditate, but I don't find that to be enough for me.
I don't mean to make sweeping generalizations of Westerners ( heck, I'm one), but I sometimes I don't seem to find the same desire in others to practice in a holistic manner. I am not talking about being a fundamentalist, or acting in a strident manner at all. I am very open to textual criticism, debate and intellectual engagement of Buddhism. But I want to live in a way that is more of where the Dhamma is present in many facets of our lives instead of just meditation. My husband and I, for instance, chant portions of the Sigalovada Sutta together and refer to the Buddha's teachings on marriage as a way to live. I don't share this with other Westerners because I'm not sure how they would act. The Bhante has encouraged us to do this and also gave us a few others suttas to use as well.
So, I wonder are there other Westerners who practice a full Theravada way, or am I an outlier here
I am also newly rediscovering Theravada, so any advice or personal anecdote too would be great!