LionelChen wrote:This isn't so much a question when the Dharma was introduced to Europe and America, but rather how or when the orientation for what constitutes perhaps "Adapted" Buddhism emerged?
Again..wanting to avoid debate as to whether that's a right or wrong way to go about thinking about the Buddha's teachings - I would rather like to ask the question about When or How such an interpretation arose?
Was it even really a purely Cultural phenomena? (Located squarely in the West) Or were there already precedents within Buddhist traditions during the East's initial encounter with the forces of modernity?
Ben Yuan wrote:If one distinguishes "Western Buddhism" by the belief in and practice thereof then Ashoka's missions apparently went to Greece and Egypt and may have had some converts. Moreover, for hundreds of years in North West India, Buddhism thrived within Greek Kingdoms. In recent times, scholarship in Buddhism was much earlier than widespread practice, as others point out.
jeeprs wrote:Kushan era, Gandhara, I believe.
LionelChen wrote:Thank you all for your kind responses.
Jeeprs, please put up the links!
And Will, i think the manner in which David McMahan's The Making of Buddhist Modernism (thank you Amazon) that was suggested by Michael structures the subject in a way i'd like to approach it.
It isn't like there's one set of agreed upon elements, but rather ways of adapting the Dharma to the concerns of the person.
Blavatsky and Theosophy went in one direction. Batchelor went in another.
I'm just curious as to where these ideas grew out from? These interpretations of the Dharma didn't just drop out of the sky.
Some people or groups of people when encountering Buddhism decided to push an interpretation.
In the same manner I could say, tag Kukai for Shingon, Saicho for Tendai, Sachen for Sakya, or Nagarjuna for Madhyamaka, i merely wish to see the roots where these various understandings of the Buddha's teachings in a Western context emanated from.
As i said before, i'm not even sure of its completely Western - reform movements in Sri Lanka and Thailand upon encountering Modernity from my cursory understanding seem to have been mostly self-generated (with an exception given to one particularly important person). And then there's the whole DT Suzuki / Modern Soto Zen "current" you might say...
Putting the narrative together has been rather difficult for me.
Kim O'Hara wrote:LionelChen wrote:This isn't so much a question when the Dharma was introduced to Europe and America, but rather how or when the orientation for what constitutes perhaps "Adapted" Buddhism emerged?
I think you have to look at the first half of this to begin to understand the second half. I'm vague on the details but there were several separate channels by which Buddhism entered the west - Theravada from Sri Lanka to England (1880s'?); Zen from Japan to the US (1920s? earlier?) and a German school. Each came to a different culture and was affected by it. In England the teachings were kept (relatively) pure by one group but also taken up enthusiastically by the strangely new-agey mob which included the theosophists. In Germany you got Hesse and Siddhartha. And in the US? I don't know much about its early days.
All this was before 1950.
After 1950 the east-west interaction was much more widespread, and it coincided with Asian Buddhists of different schools having far more contact with each other than they had ever had before.
At the same time, religions everywhere had to deal with the success of science as a way of understanding the world, and either jettison or modify teachings that conflicted with science - or turn their back on science, like the Creationists. I tend to think that that is where the strongest impulse for a modernised, anti-religious Buddhism comes from ... but I could be wrong.
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