I would suggest that all we have is the distinct flavours of orthodoxy, from Vajrayana to Zen, from Therevadan to Nichiren. All these started as soups.
It is inevitable that the Dharma Centres of Africa begin to include and adopt as Dharma protecters indigenous and perhaps (but unlikely) originating forms.
You're absolutely right. That's syncretism in action, though: inevitable wherever the Dharma (and all other faiths) make landfall in an unfamiliar culture. That's how we got Vajrayana. What I was ranting about -
- is the seemingly inexhaustible drive to see everything in everything else. The Victorians did it with the Lost Tribes of Israel, for instance. I'm sure every culture has done it, but essentially it's just a parlour game. And in a way it smacks of cultural imperialism.Because one identifies strongly with a certain group, one wishes to see that group at work everywhere. Buddhists in West Africa. Lost Israelites in Albion. Aliens in the Nile Delta. It's often a validation of a dominant or subjectively desirable culture, not uncommonly (at least in recent history) to the detriment of a culture seen as backward or less capable.
Why not give the Egyptians credit for the Pyramids? Why not allow Voodoo to be the original creation of the Yoruba etc?
Whereas syncretism is great. It's inevitable, it's life. It's about us as human beings.