Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:21 pm

Malcolm wrote: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?


Because Buddhism is a very human religion subject to the same corruption and opportunism you find in any other human organization. If you look at the history of Buddhism you can constantly see the eight worldly dharmas at work in the development of institutions, policies and even doctrine. The more I travel, research and experience, especially around Buddhist Asia, the more I see how Buddhists, even those we put on pedestals, are generally quite fallible regardless of their ideals and practice. There are a few pearls among the fish eyes, sure, but they're rare and usually behind the scenes.

I have a lot of faith in the Buddhadharma, which I think is not the same as the organized human religion(s) we call Buddhism.

I don't put much faith in ordinary people, and the vast majority of Buddhists are ordinary people. Hence the bias.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:42 pm

Indrajala wrote:
I don't put much faith in ordinary people, and the vast majority of Buddhists are ordinary people. Hence the bias.


So it seems misplaced to me that you would specifically single out Buddhists for bias.

Also, it must mean you are biased against yourself, since one presumes you regard yourself as an ordinary person.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:15 pm

Malcolm wrote:Also, it must mean you are biased against yourself, since one presumes you regard yourself as an ordinary person.


As I said, I'm a fallible sinner like most men. :anjali:
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Kunga Lhadzom » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:27 pm

Ordinary is not ordinary....that's why they call it ordinary :spy:
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Qing Tian » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:44 pm

In an oddly slanted perspective I am beginning to see Tibetan Buddhism as the Catholic Church of the Buddhist world. The ritual, the pomp, the secrecy, being in the 'in-crowd', the money associated with the organisations etc.

Specific people aside, I cannot help but feel that exposure to the West is having a growing negative impact on Tibetan Buddhism.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:39 am

There is big money associated with Chinese Buddhist organuzations too, think of the Foyr Mountains in Taiwan. I cannot think of a single TB organizTion with similar resources and reach. And in the Theravada world there is Wat Dhammakaya. It seems unfair to target Tibetan Buddhism as wealthy in the current situation, though a hundred years ago I would have been more inclined to agree.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Qing Tian » Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:56 am

Unfair? Perhaps. All I meant is that when I consider TB today it seems to have the same kind of flavour that I associate with the Catholic Church (not that I am a member of either, I hasten to add!).

The above is said in relation to the OP. It often seems to me that some people are simply drawn in by the ritual of TB and do not take their practice outside of the temple or group.

Apologies to those who may find this a little offensive, I am not intending to be so, however this is the impression that TB in the West (particularly) is giving me - and I am getting this from both monastics and lay people by the way.
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby plwk » Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:09 am

And in the Theravada world there is Wat Dhammakaya.
I am unsure if the more informed Theravadins would want to associate themselves with this group... but yes, they are phenomenal...
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Luke » Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:18 am

Adamantine wrote:actually I don't think TB is any more popular in the U.S. at least than Zen Buddhism.

Okay, in America, perhaps Zen is at least as popular as TB in terms of the number of people practicing it, but isn't TB more popular than Zen in the media?

(And I'm not trying to imply that this is bad. I'm happy about any media attention that Tibet gets because of the ongoing urgency to free Tibet from oppression.)

TB is probably more interesting to film because of all its elaborate rituals and decorations. There are probably a lot more possibilities when filming a Tara puja than when filming a group of people doing shikantaza! lol
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby philji » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:23 pm

If we practiced the Dharma with as much conviction as we post opinions and junde others here we would be well on our way to Enlightenment...myself included..
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Re: Why is Tibetan Buddhism more popular?

Postby Alfredo » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:17 pm

A lot of good points have already been made. One more aspect that I would highlight is the prominence of purplish black, blood-drooling devils, many of them straddled by females half their size. The implicit contrast with Judaism and Christianity is a big part of TB's appeal, just as it is with other "alternative" religions such as Wicca. That is, Westerners join "alternative" religions in part as a kind of protest against their traditional religions, and this causes them to select forms or aspects of the new religion which contrast most strongly with how they see their old ones.

One strand of Buddhist apologetic discourse has been a modernist one emphasizing its atheistic, rational, and/or scientific qualities. Another would be the antinomian, perennialist-mystical strain familiar from popular presentations of Zen. Pure Land practices, which resemble Western religions more closely (with their heavens to which one aspires to go after death, and deities to whom prayers are addressed), seem to attract a different type of follower.

Also, the sheer phantasmagoria and color of TB iconography has a certain appeal. It's like being a fan of the Grateful Dead!
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