2. Lack of democracy
I didn't ignore these at all, in fact I spoke about how the women having the Geshe degree came due to changes demanded by many within the TB community, including Westerners. Thinks of the Tibetan Nuns' project of Elisabeth Napper (http://tnp.org/
) for example. I also mentioned Sravasti Abbey (sravasti.org) and its Dharmagupta bhikshuni ordination as an example of a community still connected with the "Tibetan establishment" but functioning according to Western and feminist aspirations. I mentioned Gampo Abbey (gampoabbey.org) in Nova Scotia under Ven. Pema Chodron.
I talked about how the extensive full-time study programs of the FPMT (http://fpmt.org/education/programs/masters-program/
)are producing Western- trained qualified teachers and the teaching positions at the various centres are increasingly being filled by Westerners (with about a half/half balance between monastic and lay) rather than Tibetan Geshes. There are also other interesting programs that can trained qualified teachers in a university setting in the West, such as Naropa University (naropa.edu). And retreat facilities such as Samye Ling in Scotland (http://www.samyeling.org/
), which have produced Western retreat lamas such as the resident teacher at their large London branch, Nun Gelongma Zangmo (http://www.london.samye.org/about-us/te ... ma-zangmo/
I can only assume that you didn't read those responses, or your opinions are so entrenched that even if I do put the time into formulating responses and giving examples they won't be considered. Perhaps you should not base your opinions completely on an hour long encounter you had as a 17 year old at a centre that was running when Buddhism was just first coming to the West.
I also responded to your broad generalization here:
What I find deeply funny is the Western male love & devotion for his ever wise Asian teacher-mentor, which probably comes of viewing the "Karate Kid" too many times or watching kung fu flicks.
By stating the obvious, that the vast majority of Westerners who approach Tibetan Buddhism (according to a research paper I read 70%) with its emphasis on the teacher-mentor are women. The people who attend courses at all the Western centres I've translated in reflect the fact that it is mostly women.
I also mentioned 2 positive traditions:
1. Jodo Shinshu - democratic, Westernized
2. Dzogchen Community - future model?, lay-oriented, non-monastic
Here you reveal your preference for non-monastic traditions, which is fine. I would dare say it is probably a preference of a majority of people who post here. But my experience of Jodo Shinshu in Canada is rather different than yours- it is overwhelmingly Japanese. Yes, there are pews in the Buddha Hall and Christian style hymns (which will appeal to some), but I think this may have more to do with the racism Japanese Canadians suffered in the WW2 period and the pressure to appear more "Western" it would be an interesting discussion.
I don't think for most Westerners interested in Buddhism the Jodo Shinshu will offer broad appeal- and we can see that this is the case- despite good financial support and a lay orientation it is not as popular as TB, Theravada or the various Zen Schools. Personally, I think this is due to the emphasis on "other-power" and the fact it is pretty close to the theistic upbringing than many Western Buddhists seek to distance themselves from, but I will not comment further as I mentioned my knowledge of Pure Land theology, especially Japanese Pure Land is pretty limited.
In terms of DC I agree the lay approach is attractive and ChNN is a fine teacher, I have enjoyed listening to him online and reading his books. However it remains to be seen how the DC will fare once he passes on (indeed this holds true for FPMT and Lama Zopa as well). While I appreciate more resources go to Western branches, the model of leadership itself is connected to the tulku institution and the the lama is Tibetan and the present successor candidate half Tibetan, so I don't really know how revolutionary the leadership style is. The teaching style is definitely something fresh.
In the future Rory, please read my previous posts in the thread before making the assertion I didn't respond to your points. I actually did elsewhere if you go back a page or so, I just didn't repost everything to respond to the questions since I had already provided answers in thread. But now I have