JKhedrup wrote:Another reason for the popularity of Tibetan Buddhism is I think the high-quality translations available of many of the essential materials.
JKhedrup wrote:That is interesting to note! Perhaps HHDL's books are the exception.
Most of the people I know in Buddhism are voracious readers of dharma stuff but I suppose that Sanghas vary widely and many might emphasize a formal sitting practice more than study.
I still think if you look at the Buddhist section of your average bookstore, though, more than half is usually coming from the Tibetan tradition or inspired by it.
But if you are talking about the more scholarly things I think you are probably 100% right. To me it is amazing that there is enough funding to get things like the Tsadra series and Lam Rim Chenmo published. I am very grateful for the work of the translators as well as the generosity of the benefactors.
kirtu wrote:Masters Sheng-yen and Hsuan Hua devoted their lives to this transmission. It did work but after their parinirvanas not much has been done.
Humanistic Buddhism is needed in a place like the US where the poor are relegated to the trash heap and public education has totally failed.
Kaji wrote:For some reason, a lot of Chinese Buddhists I've met do not have a strong intention to break away from samsara... forget about achieving buddhahood. Buddhism to them is a religion that gives them blessings, a way of life, spiritual guidance, ritualised practice, etc., and not so much what Buddhism is ultimately for... sad but true...
anjali wrote:Although, I have to say, DDRC is a very nice retreat facility and will feel more like Asian Buddhism has adapted to the West, rather than Asian Buddhism has be transplanted in the West.
JKhedrup wrote:The Chinese temples on the other hand often function as cultural centres for the Chinese diaspora. The cultural aspects can be overwhelming for people with no knowledge of Chinese language and customs. Many Westerners who I met at a Chinese temple where I stayed in Canada for a time specifically mentioned the dharma functions (fa hue??? forgetting...) as particularly alienating. Bowing in unison, trying to put the sash on the haiqing perfectly, and a very stern formal atmosphere are difficult for many to take. People feel uneasy and afraid to make a mistake (afraid to fart, as one man said).
Another thing to mention is that many Westerners like to study in a linear, progressive fashion- similar to how they studies in school. In many of the Gelug centres (perhaps this is the case in other centres too), this is quite possible. One can begin foundational studies on progressive text like the Lam Rim or Bodhisattvacaryavatara to get a firm basis, and then seek teachings on tougher topics like Madhyamika, and take classes on tantric practices.
With the exception of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, none of the Chinese temples I have visited offer a complete, in-depth study program with qualified teachers in English, other than very brief introductory courses. Even for the Western born Chinese kids, many of them told my they found the sutra lectures interesting but felt they were very piecemeal, and it was hard to develop a firm knowledge.
Tibetan lamas are in general more casual and approachable than Chinese masters. While a Chinese bhikshu or bhikshuni might consider it inappropriate to appear in photos holding babies with an arm around the student, for most Tibetan lamas this would not be a problem. The emphasis on being "chuangyen" or dignified is what allows the Sangha to be respected in the Chinese community, but ironically to many Westerners it seems stiff and unwelcoming.
passel wrote:Probably Chinese Buddhists will be importing Western teachers pretty soon; it's already happening from time to time.
Generally the quality of the translations is quite high. Many of the translators of the classical texts (rather than books based on oral teachings) are university educated scholars, with English as their first language. There are also many scholar-practitioners, which means that the works are often quite fresh and readable rather than try university-level analysis.
In the Chinese tradition often not enough care has been put into producing publications (sorry, I am not trying to offend).
The quality of the grammar is as poor as that of my posts on Dharma Wheel, and there are many spelling mistakes. That labeled as "practical" or "humanistic" is often very relevant to those coming from Chinese cultures but very foreign and confusing to Westerners.In short, they are for the most part not books or translations that people would read or buy.
The 84,000 Project to translate the Kangyur is amazing and though I have heard those in the Chinese Buddhist community express a wish to do this with the Chinese canon, I do not see anything as concrete.
Huseng wrote:passel wrote:Probably Chinese Buddhists will be importing Western teachers pretty soon; it's already happening from time to time.
Instructors of various scholarly subjects, yes, but not on any institutional level. In other words they don't have any power to make decisions or reform things.
Astus wrote:Another thing is that here if you mention Buddhism, people think it exists in India - Buddha was Indian, right? - and then the Dalai Lama and Tibet. That Buddhism is a major religion in China, that's not common knowledge at all.
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