Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:09 pm

flavio81 wrote:What i mean is that it encompasses different levels and different teachings, and each one of it is of more appeal (and benefits best) a certain type of person and/or a certain circumstance in life. This is what i meant with "all colors and sizes".


I think the marketing and merchandise are what really get people in rather than the diversity of teachings.

On top of that if you get involved in the Tibet Independence movement, your spirituality is connected with social activism, i.e., social activism that is religiously charged, to be beneficial in this and future lifetimes. To be politically active for the Tibetan causes translates into action for the True Dharma. Tibetan nationalism aligned with Tibetan Buddhism as a religion means your political endeavours are meritorious and count towards enlightenment.

I think this appeals to a lot of westerners who feel obligated to participate in social movements. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem, they say. So you get your activism religiously vindicated.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:22 pm

I have to say though most people at the centre here, and the centres I know in Canada with the exception of one, are not interested in the Tibetan issue. At a rally last year that Geshe la and I were requested to attend at Dam Square on March 10th, only one person from our rather large centre came. In toronto you also see rather few practitioners at such demonstrations. The exception is the French, but they like a good protest anyways. I think you are overreaching when youcstate the Tibet cause is part of the appeal. I think this is true only in a few cases, and most of the hard core Western free Tibet people are not interested in Buddhist practice.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby deff » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:27 pm

yeah the tibetan buddhists i know aren't really interested in the tibetan freedom movement either

i'm not sure why tibetan buddhism is more popular really, other than the simplistic explanation that it's based on beings' karmic inclinations :smile:

also, i think tibetan buddhist teachers might have done more in terms of reaching out to western audiences than other strands of buddhism have done
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby flavio81 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:05 pm

Indrajala wrote:
flavio81 wrote:What i mean is that it encompasses different levels and different teachings, and each one of it is of more appeal (and benefits best) a certain type of person and/or a certain circumstance in life. This is what i meant with "all colors and sizes".


I think the marketing and merchandise are what really get people in rather than the diversity of teachings.

On top of that if you get involved in the Tibet Independence movement(...)


Maybe where you live. In my city (Lima, Peru), i wish i could find some Tibetan Buddhism merchandise!!; there isn't any. In fact i will soon get desperate because i don't know where i placed my old vajra and bell, and it won't be easy to get another one.

Nor there isn't any pro-Tibetan independence activism around here.

Yet we have at least 4 solid and enduring TB sanghas here; one belonging to the Dzogchen Community (Chogyal Namkhai Norbu), another for Diamond Way Buddhism (Ole Nydahl), another one for followers of the Gyalwang Drukpa, another one for disciples of Lama Karma Chötso... All of these TB masters have been here more than once.

In any case, is it popular here? Not at all, it is not popular. But my point is that the people around here that practice TB does not do it because of the nice little things to buy nor because of any activism.

Maybe where you live, people get into TB because "marketing and merchandise". Or maybe you think it is that way because of some slight personal bias against TB...
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Luke » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:41 pm

deff wrote:yeah the tibetan buddhists i know aren't really interested in the tibetan freedom movement either

Yeah, I find this to be the general trend, as well.

However, the shocking story of the Chinese invading Tibet does make Tibetan Buddhism look a bit more exciting--and it provides something emotionally intense to make movies about. At least the Tibetans got a lot of attention as a result of their suffering.

It's too bad that the popularity of Tibetan Buddhism in the west hasn't helped improve the situation in Tibet much. Perhaps this is because most western Tibetan Buddhists don't have much political power, so they really can't do much about it.

Now if the US had a Tibetan Buddhist president... that would really be something! :twothumbsup:
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby yegyal » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:21 am

Perhaps many of the Tibetans that died during the last generation, due to the merit accrued practicing Dharma, were reborn in affluent ,or at least more stable circumstances, and that when they came of age many of them unconsciously flocked back to their religion as soon as they became aware of it. This is not the only reason, but I'm sure it accounts for a few of the more dedicated among us.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:59 am

yegyal wrote:Perhaps many of the Tibetans that died during the last generation, due to the merit accrued practicing Dharma, were reborn in affluent ,or at least more stable circumstances, and that when they came of age many of them unconsciously flocked back to their religion as soon as they became aware of it. This is not the only reason, but I'm sure it accounts for a few of the more dedicated among us.
I have thought the same.
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"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:46 pm

flavio81 wrote:Maybe where you live, people get into TB because "marketing and merchandise".


TB is normally well marketed it seems. Here in Singapore they take out whole magazine pages to advertise such and such a Rinpoche is giving such and such a rare empowerment.

The merchandise aspect of TB can be seen in India and Nepal where I usually kick around. Also in China, Taiwan and Singapore the Buddhist shops sell tons of Tibetan paraphernalia.

Or maybe you think it is that way because of some slight personal bias against TB...


I have a slight personal bias against Buddhists in general.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby flavio81 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:13 pm

Indrajala wrote:
flavio81 wrote:Maybe where you live, people get into TB because "marketing and merchandise".


TB is normally well marketed it seems. Here in Singapore they take out whole magazine pages to advertise such and such a Rinpoche is giving such and such a rare empowerment.

The merchandise aspect of TB can be seen in India and Nepal where I usually kick around. Also in China, Taiwan and Singapore the Buddhist shops sell tons of Tibetan paraphernalia.


I would say this is a good, lucky situation for you. Of course, we don't know about the quality of the masters that are being advertised, but this increases the chance for the regular guy in Singapure to find the right teacher for him.

Indrajala wrote:
Or maybe you think it is that way because of some slight personal bias against TB...


I have a slight personal bias against Buddhists in general.


:rolling: That sounds fair then...
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Vidyaraja » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:29 pm

I think a lot of the posts in this thread probably cover it. I just thought I'd add why I am attracted to Tibetan Buddhism and esoteric Buddhism in general. Primarily it is the same reason I am attracted to Zen: the possibility of enlightenment in this life rather than as some far away evanescent goal.

While I also can appreciate the stereotyped bare minimalism of Zen, I am also attracted to Tibetan Buddhism (and Shingon) for their aesthetics and iconography. I'm also interested in the throat singing tantric choirs . However probably the biggest reasons is that I am attracted to sadhana such as mantra, mudra, mandala and yoga.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby philji » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:37 pm

My personal opinion is because there such an abundance of good teachers available. Also has has been said elsewhere there is a lot of activity in TB re translating texts.
But fir me it comes down to the lineages...i have been through the whistles and bells phase and now am content to work with 1-2 practices under the guidance of a good teacher who i can speak to clearly and honestly about my practice...... i dont think the Free Tibet issue comes into it...although thereagain it may be a reason that people get acquainted with TB and then depending on karma move into the practices......
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Adamantine » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:38 pm

Vidyaraja wrote:I think a lot of the posts in this thread probably cover it. I just thought I'd add why I am attracted to Tibetan Buddhism and esoteric Buddhism in general. Primarily it is the same reason I am attracted to Zen: the possibility of enlightenment in this life rather than as some far away evanescent goal.

While I also can appreciate the stereotyped bare minimalism of Zen, I am also attracted to Tibetan Buddhism (and Shingon) for their aesthetics and iconography. I'm also interested in the throat singing tantric choirs . However probably the biggest reasons is that I am attracted to sadhana such as mantra, mudra, mandala and yoga.


I was going to propose the same: actually I don't think TB is any more popular in the U.S. at least than Zen Buddhism. Both have the allure, especially within a fast-tracked give-it-to-me-now culture, of the immediate (potential) result of Buddhahood. When you contrast that with Aeons of diligent practice to get any substantial result which the other expressions of Buddhism propose, is there any wonder that in a culture of speed and instant coffee that we would gravitate towards the faster paths?
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:56 pm

Adamantine wrote: When you contrast that with Aeons of diligent practice to get any substantial result which the other expressions of Buddhism propose, is there any wonder that in a culture of speed and instant coffee that we would gravitate towards the faster paths?



As a Bonpo Dzogchen logic text puts it -- effortless buddhahood is a desiderata.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:46 pm

Adamantine wrote:I was going to propose the same: actually I don't think TB is any more popular in the U.S. at least than Zen Buddhism. Both have the allure, especially within a fast-tracked give-it-to-me-now culture, of the immediate (potential) result of Buddhahood. When you contrast that with Aeons of diligent practice to get any substantial result which the other expressions of Buddhism propose, is there any wonder that in a culture of speed and instant coffee that we would gravitate towards the faster paths?
Lama Yeshe said much the same thing.

"Tantra is particularly well-suited to the Western mentality; being the quickest of all paths it should appeal strongly to the West's love of instant results."
-Introduction to Tantra pg. 14
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:50 am

Indrajala wrote:I have a slight personal bias against Buddhists in general.

I understand.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby M.G. » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:01 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Indrajala wrote:I have a slight personal bias against Buddhists in general.

I understand.



Really? I think that Buddhist sanghas rank overall as being the nicest and most open spiritual communities around.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:32 am

M.G. wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Indrajala wrote:I have a slight personal bias against Buddhists in general.

I understand.

Really?

108 percent.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:49 am

Indrajala wrote:
I have a slight personal bias against Buddhists in general.


Sad you have a bias against anyone.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:47 am

Malcolm wrote:
Indrajala wrote:
I have a slight personal bias against Buddhists in general.


Sad you have a bias against anyone.


Sadly I'm a fallible sinner like most men.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:43 pm

Indrajala wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Indrajala wrote:
I have a slight personal bias against Buddhists in general.


Sad you have a bias against anyone.


Sadly I'm a fallible sinner like most men.



Seems a little strange to be biased against those whom one would consider your coreligionists. So why do you have a slight bias against Buddhists and what is it?
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