Yeshe D. wrote:
One of the more disturbing trends in contemporary Mahāyāna circles, specifically amongst some Westerner followers of Tibetan Buddhism, is that it's not uncommon to encounter regression to a pre-rational mythic worldview. This is such a divergence from very important Western values (such as the very important and hard won values of the protestant reformation and the European enlightenment), that any long term regression in this direction prevents a person from ever successfully integrating with modernity. This can also manifest as intellectual inflexibility, which is the complete antithesis of transcendent wisdom. (For example, the inability to reconcile Buddhist faith with world history.) Again, it's worth considering Reggie Ray's wise words:
Buddhism, in its most subtle and sophisticated expression, is not a tradition that seeks to provide answers to life's questions or to dispense "wisdom" to allay our fundamental angst. Rather, it challenges us to look beyond any and all answers that we may have found along the way, to meet ourselves in a naked, direct, and fearless fashion.
All the best,
The question of a western Buddhist orientation towards or away from modernity is not quite so clear cut.
In fact, it is extraordinarily complex, but also extremely fascinating.
How many western practitioners became Buddhists as a reaction against
modernity? Is this automatically problematic as you assume? Why?
And which enlightenment values do you speak of? If I must be honest, I confess that I never venture too far away from the Kantian injunction to saphere aude (dare to use your own understanding)......but I know plenty of practitioners who do just this to squarely reject the instrumental rationality which defines modernity, and who find the political and moral thought of Locke, Rousseau et al far inferior to what can be found in non-European traditions.
Anyway, you've struck upon a question of great interest to me. Another thread perhaps?