Buddhism in the West

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Buddhism in the West

Postby Luke » Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:25 pm

Here's an article by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche called "Buddhism in the West."
http://mindrollinginternational.org/dha ... heWest.cfm

In it, he talks about what needs to happen in order for Buddhism to be established in the West.

Here are some quotes from the article:
...Devotion is challenging to modern people, who are very individually oriented to preserving their own sense of identity and pride. It is challenging to people who want to learn but have no real sense of surrendering ego.

It is going to be important, therefore, to have a culture that really supports devotion—not just a shallow or pop-culture devotion, but something that actually comes to us from the time of the Buddha. In the noble land of India itself, in the vinaya and in all the teachings of the Buddha, there is a tradition of devotion. In all the lands where buddhism spread and practice was genuinely established, there is a culture of devotion and many individual stories of devotion. When there are many individuals who—by being close to the teacher and following the guidance of the teacher with heartfelt devotion—have benefited and transformed their lives, they are an inspiration to others. There is a sense of actual “evidence” that it works!

...Dharma is not a hobby or part-time practice; it is not like going to school or university and getting a degree at the end. Dharma is a lifelong passion that requires a lifelong intention. We need to dedicate our lives to the dharma, and, through practice, seek the meaning of that which we admire as a worthy way of life. Regardless of the challenges that confront us, we must rise to the occasion and face each challenge and go beyond it. Only in this way will there be benefit in the end. If we do retreats and really practice dharma as it was practiced in the past, the fruition will be the same as it was in the past...



What do you think needs to happen so that Buddhism continues to flourish in the West?
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:41 pm

I like the family programs, such as those by Shambhala Mountain in Colorado. That is a good way for the whole family to practice.

Typically in Western nations, Buddhist centers are attended by single people between the ages of 25-45; nothing wrong with that, but if it is to flourish there needs to be a sense of community and not something to just go to for a retreat fix.

There probably needs to be some ordained Sangha members who are born in the country of the Dharma center and not just visiting teachers from far off lands.

More chanting in the country's language (i.e., English in the U.S., UK, etc).

These are just a few ideas I and some others have had.
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby sraddha » Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:53 am

Luke wrote:Here's an article by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche called "Buddhism in the West."


Here are some quotes from the article:
[i]...Devotion is challenging to modern people, who are very individually oriented to preserving their own sense of identity and pride. It is challenging to people who want to learn but have no real sense of surrendering ego.

It is going to be important, therefore, to have a culture that really supports devotion—not just a shallow or pop-culture devotion, but something that actually comes to us from the time of the Buddha. In the noble land of India itself, in the vinaya and in all the teachings of the Buddha, there is a tradition of devotion. In all the lands where buddhism spread and practice was genuinely established, there is a culture of devotion and many individual stories of devotion. When there are many individuals who—by being close to the teacher and following the guidance of the teacher with heartfelt devotion—have benefited and transformed their lives, they are an inspiration to others. There is a sense of actual “evidence” that it works!






I definately agree with this, I'm not so sure that being "modern" is necessarily out of line with devotion, though -- I think it's a misreading the average person in the west that people in the west are "modern and without devotion"...Christianity is devotional --

However, many people think of their religion in terms of a culture, history, family tradition -- to change religion is difficult--- until they see that something really does work --

In all the places that Buddhism took root, Buddhism had real stories of legendary saints and producing lineages of saints in those traditions -- in the west too, that will be necessary -- NEEDED: Buddhist saints from the west :anjali:
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby thornbush » Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:32 am

The Rinpoche has spoken well and I must add that the term 'Dharma Lite' comes to mind.
A Western practitioner once told me that he has been to so many centres where the Dharma has been diluted to unrecognizable levels and it seems that getting more butts on the seats ala 'Vegas' style were more important to some of these places than teaching and practicing the proper Dharma. If i have to earn the term 'fundamentalist' when it comes to defending the Proper Dharma, so be it. The Buddha taught the fundamentals on suffering and its cessation, so in that way....I am a 'fundamentalist' :rolling:
I cringe when encountering stuff like "Yes, Jesus is a Bodhisattva!", "Buddha was Christ's Dharmakaya", "Kalama Sutta says 'Go do whatever you see fit'", 'Dona Sutta has the Buddha declaring "I am the Awakened Brahman"', "It's all the same, no need for Refuge...", "Go to Church and you find Buddha, Go to Temple and you find Christ" and the list is endless with all these dangerous and syncretist generalisations.
I guess for some it's cool to be seen toying around with a couple of belief systems and making themselves look like a Plato or walking 'Parliament of Religions' and in the end like the saying goes, "A rolling stone gathers no moss' or "Jack of all trades, master of none".
I think this is what the late Ven Master Hsuan Hua has described in his talk once:
http://www.gbm-online.com/dharma/demons_words.html
Buddhist disciples must be complete with the Dharma-selecting Eye in order to understand what is proper Dharma and what is deviant dharma. Buddhas speak proper Dharma; demons speak deviant dharma. Simply put, proper Dharma is public-oriented and selfless; deviant dharma is selfish and self-serving.
Only when you have the wisdom to distinguish the Dharma will you possess proper knowledge and views. Regardless of the situation you face, you will see and understand that circumstance clearly. You should use true principles to differentiate right from wrong, to judge between good and evil. You're stupid when you act muddled and confused, heedlessly repeating whatever everyone else says. If you believe whatever everyone else says, lacking any ability to differentiate, you are just "drinking others' saliva." How is that meaningful? You must investigate dhyana and meditate, because with wisdom comes the Dharma-selecting Eye. That way you will know the difference between proper Dharma and deviant dharma; otherwise you will simply drift with the filthy current and ride the polluted waves. If others rush toward the hells, you run along to the hells too. Others jump into the toilet; you follow suit. You're practically a shadow. How sad! With no wisdom of your own, you mistake fish eyes for pearls. You are incapable of distinguishing between truth and falsehood, black and white, authenticity and inauthenticity. Such behavior is laughable.

When you're stupid to this degree, you mistake a robber for your son. Without your realizing it, the robber steals all your money and jewelry from right under your nose. We cultivators must recognize what is proper Dharma and what is deviant dharma. Mistaking deviant dharma for proper Dharma is as disastrous as embracing a robber as your child. This kind of behavior not only harms yourself, but also harms others. In this fashion, you cheat yourself and others. For instance, you claim that you have spiritual penetrations when you don't have any. Or you dare to say that you have attained enlightenment when in fact you haven't. In planting the causes of such big lies, you will definitely receive the retribution of falling into the Tongue-plucking Hell. All those who lie fall into this type of hell, from which there is no escape.

For example, consider the cultivator who refuses to draw near bright-eyed good advisors. Instead of asking for instructions, he shuts the door and tries to build a vehicle on his own, believing that his knowledge and views are correct. He blindly cultivates and practices alone. Without the benefit of strategic guidance, he wastes his time and enters a demonic state. This is as dangerous as a blind person riding a sightless horse along the ledge of a cliff in the middle of the night. Such foolish behavior is pitiful indeed. Furthermore, this cultivator not only refuses to repent and reform, but he even makes shameless proclamations such as: "I have obtained the mind-seal Dharma of a sage; I will become a patriarch in the future"; "I am already enlightened; I've certified to great wisdom"; "I have already attained the position of non-study"; "I am a reincarnation of Guan-yin Bodhisattva"; "I am Manjushri Bodhisattva reincarnated." He may even claim to be a reincarnation of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, Earth Store Bodhisattva, or some other great Bodhisattva, and say, "Did you all know that?" Or he may say, "I am a great sage equal to the gods who has descended on the human realm; you should prostrate to me." He fabricates, "I've already attained the Buddha fruit and certified to annuttarasamyak-sambodhi. Shakyamuni Buddha is my Dharma brother, and Bodhidharma prostrates to me." That's absolute and laughable folly All the above lies are deviant knowledge and deviant views; there are many such examples, but I've given only a few here.

These people are all children and grandchildren of the demon king ; the retinue of Papiyan. Such egomaniacs and arrogant frauds are losers who wreck the Sangha and rebels who destroy the Buddhadharma. To guard and protect the Proper Dharma, we must expand justice, eradicate deviant theories, and knock down heresy. We must strike up our spirits and straighten up, vigorously cultivating precepts, samadhi and wisdom. Those who cultivate precepts won't strike up false thoughts; further-more, they won't go around promoting themselves. They never praise themselves or show off their cultivation so that others will respect and revere them. Genuine cultivators are not tempted by the sight of gold or beauty. In their state, ten thousand things do not obstruct them. They are said to be "thus, thus unmoving, constantly bright with understanding." People who cultivate wisdom emit a light of wisdom that illuminates every place, turning ignorance into brightness. Without afflictions, worries and bitterness, you attain a sense of ease and liberation. When you perfect these three studies of non-outflow, naturally all three poisonous fires of greed, hatred and stupidity are completely extinguished. Thus, the demon king's deviant knowledge and deviant views, his ridiculous assertions and inexplicable statement s will naturally be expelled and destroyed without attacks or arguments.

So, my question is: as Buddhists, are we clear on the Buddha's Path? Or have we allowed ourselves into a spinning confusion? Personally, I do try not to mix my own personal opinions with that of the Dharma. I may state all I want and as how I want, but it does not mean that that is the stand taken by the Buddha Dharma.
Somehow, Right View is sitting on top of the Noble Eightfold Path totem for a good reason.
If one's Right View is skewed, what is there left to speak of our practice?
The Buddha wasn't merely another moral or 'feel good' teacher.
He was intent on procuring the Path of Final Liberation and when He got it, He taught it to those who were keen on walking the same Path. Of course, if Final liberation and Bodhicitta wasn't on one's mind, by all means, any path is feasible.
But that is not what the Buddha intended. Sure, one may spend another aeon or aeons going round it but why all the pain and hardwork when the Path is already shown to you now?
This excerpt is interesting:
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/yin_kuang.pdf
…on the true goal of all Buddhist practice:
In the West, the need for some guidance in mind-development was made acute... by a sudden spate of books which were, whatever the motive of their authors, dangerous in the extreme.
No word was said in them of the sole right motive for mind-development, the enlightenment of the meditator for the benefit of all mankind, and the reader was led to believe that it was quite legitimate to study and practice mindfulness, and the higher stages which ensue, for the benefit of business efficiency and the advancement of personal prestige.
In these circumstances, Concentration and Meditation, ... was compiled and published by the [British] Buddhist Society, with constant stress on the importance of right motive, and ample warning of the dangers, from a headache to insanity, which lie in wait for those who trifle with the greatest force on earth, the human mind.(Christmas Humphreys, The Buddhist Way of Life, p. 100.)
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby dumb bonbu » Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:36 pm

I'm not so sure that being "modern" is necessarily out of line with devotion, though -- I think it's a misreading the average person in the west that people in the west are "modern and without devotion"...Christianity is devotional


while i'm in agreement with you here sraddha, i think that a significant number of people in the west coming to Dharma, do so having left behind the religion they were culturally raised in - in this case, usually christianity and as such, it is often Dharma they feel drawn to as they (wrongly in my view) see the abscense of any devotionalism or similar aspects of what may constitute they feel, a 'religion'. there is a tendency, the other, opposite extreme of what thorny mentions (seeing 'all as one'), of viewing Buddhism through distinctly materialist, physicalist goggles.
while ofcourse the Buddha encouraged the spirit of personal enquiry and investigation, i sometimes feel almost as if people are embarrased by the mention of things such as devas, asuras etc in the sutras/suttas. and see rituals of observance and devotion as somehow cultural accritions of 'primitive' cultures that have little to do with the Dharma and must be cast aside. it's a very post-colonial arrogance and one that runs deep in our society i'm afraid.

imo, we need to be open and upfront about these aspects, and clear in explaining why they are there, what purpose they serve in our practice and understanding and how they may fit with the spirit of enquiry and investigation encouraged by the Tathagata. and we need to put down the Steven Batchelor lol.
Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and
illumines me always.
- Shinran


Namu Amida Butsu
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby Luke » Wed Jun 24, 2009 7:31 pm

TheDhamma wrote:Typically in Western nations, Buddhist centers are attended by single people between the ages of 25-45...

Yes, but we can be even more descriptive: Typically in Western nations, Buddhist centers are attended by single, educated, white people between the ages of 25-45.

I think more needs to be done to teach the Dharma to other ethnic groups and social classes. Great lamas have spoken at Harvard and MIT, but has a great lama ever spoken at a historically black college? Has one ever lectured at a community college? Has one ever lectured at a homeless shelter?

I think Western Buddhism needs to be less elitist. Buddha never said, "My religion is only for people of certain races and social classes." If our mission is to liberate all sentient beings (which obviously includes all human beings), then we need to start acting like it.

TheDhamma wrote:...but if it is to flourish there needs to be a sense of community and not something to just go to for a retreat fix.

Well said! I agree that "community" is the key word. Other people are our teachers and our true source of happiness on the Buddhist path. People who feel isolated often miss out on many things. Also, Buddhism needs to become part of the culture among the sangha members. If people are closet Buddhists who don't tell their family and friends, then their impact on society is much less. Perhaps, we need several generations of Buddhist families in the West.

So, in addition to "community," I would say that there also needs to be "continuity," which you address later.

TheDhamma wrote:There probably needs to be some ordained Sangha members who are born in the country of the Dharma center and not just visiting teachers from far off lands.


I agree, and I also think that we need more high quality western Buddhist teachers to carry on the Buddhist lineages and keep them alive and authentic in the West.
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby sraddha » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:08 am

dumb bonbu wrote:
I'm not so sure that being "modern" is necessarily out of line with devotion, though -- I think it's a misreading the average person in the west that people in the west are "modern and without devotion"...Christianity is devotional


while i'm in agreement with you here sraddha, i think that a significant number of people in the west coming to Dharma, do so having left behind the religion they were culturally raised in - in this case, usually christianity and as such, it is often Dharma they feel drawn to as they (wrongly in my view) see the abscense of any devotionalism or similar aspects of what may constitute they feel, a 'religion'. there is a tendency, the other, opposite extreme of what thorny mentions (seeing 'all as one'), of viewing Buddhism through distinctly materialist, physicalist goggles.
while ofcourse the Buddha encouraged the spirit of personal enquiry and investigation, i sometimes feel almost as if people are embarrased by the mention of things such as devas, asuras etc in the sutras/suttas. and see rituals of observance and devotion as somehow cultural accritions of 'primitive' cultures that have little to do with the Dharma and must be cast aside. it's a very post-colonial arrogance and one that runs deep in our society i'm afraid.

imo, we need to be open and upfront about these aspects, and clear in explaining why they are there, what purpose they serve in our practice and understanding and how they may fit with the spirit of enquiry and investigation encouraged by the Tathagata. and we need to put down the Steven Batchelor lol.


I definately agree with you that the kinds of people coming into Buddhism are currently intellectual types, who don't like the supernatural...hey, Buddhism welcomes them -- BUT, but I do agree with Luke --where is the common Buddhism? Where are Buddhist monks in the ghettos? Buddhism is for EVERYONE who is searching -- we must be easily accessible.

I do know there are some -- I know my Shaolin temple has a couple of Buddhists from African/American backgrounds teaching in ghetos-- but martial arts is still a long way from teaching Buddhism.

The ground work of real Buddhism does lay on Buddhists teaching to the common guy/poor guy/rich guy/happy guy/sad guy who is searching -- we as Buddhists have to answer, and perhaps make people who haven't asked questions to start to ask questions.

:anjali:
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby Luke » Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:42 pm

I wasn't sure whether I should start a new thread or not, but here's another excellent article about Buddhism in America titled "Buddhism Comes to Main Street." The article divides Buddhism in America into three categories: import ("elite"), export ("evangelical"), and baggage ("ethnic).

http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma/mainstreet.html

Here are some excerpts:
To begin with the import type, consider a hypothetical example: a college student living in the Midwest in the 1950s finds a book on Zen Buddhism in the public library and thinks it's the greatest thing he's ever heard of. So he buys a plane ticket, heads off to Japan, and begins to study meditation in a Zen temple. After several years of practice and some firsthand experience of Buddhist "awakening," he returns to the United States and establishes a Zen center, where he begins to teach this form of Buddhism to other Americans.

The important point to note here is that the importer (in this case, the college student) deliberately seeks out the product and takes the initiative to bring it home. But for this to happen, two crucial resources are required: money and leisure time. Buddhist groups of the import variety, in other words, can be launched only by those who have a certain degree of economic privilege. And not surprisingly, in these groups (as in other voluntary associations), like attracts like. Thus, the upper-middle-class status of the founders tends to be reflected in their followers, with such communities drawing a mostly well-educated, financially comfortable, and overwhelmingly European-American constituency.
...A convenient label for the groups formed by the import process, then, would be "Elite Buddhism." ...On the level of practice, then, the most striking feature of Elite Buddhism in America is its emphasis on meditation.
**********************
The "export" process of transmission has produced American Buddhist groups of a strikingly different type. Because the transmission itself is underwritten by the home church, the potential convert does not need money, power, or time to come into contact with Buddhism of this sort, only a willingness to listen. Encounters with a missionary may take place on a street corner, in the subway, or even in one's home. Export religion is thus something of a wild card: it can attract a wide range of adherents, or it may appeal to no one at all.
...Since what fuels the formation of Buddhist groups of this type is energetic proseletyzing, an appropriate label for such groups is "Evangelical Buddhism."

Both the simplicity of the practice and the fact that this form of Buddhism addresses economic as well as spiritual needs has meant that the Soka Gakkai, from the time of its arrival in the United States during the 1950s, has had the potential to appeal to a very different, and far less privileged, audience than the Elite Buddhist traditions. Unlike the latter--most of whose members are college educated, with many holding graduate degrees--only about half of Soka Gakkai members have attended college, and barely a quarter hold bachelor's degrees. Statistics compiled by the Soka Gakkai itself show a wide range of educational levels and occupations; my own observations suggest a center of gravity in the lower-middle class.
...But it is in the ethnicity of its members that the distinctiveness of the Soka Gakkai is most obvious, for it has attracted a following that includes large numbers of Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans...
*********
Ironically, it is the Buddhists we hear the most about in the American media--the Elite Buddhists--who have so far attracted the least diverse membership, and thus have the greatest challenges to overcome if they are to survive into the next generation. Yet each of the main branches of American Buddhism clearly has much to learn from the others if all three hope to continue to flourish on American soil.

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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:01 pm

Luke wrote:I think more needs to be done to teach the Dharma to other ethnic groups and social classes. Great lamas have spoken at Harvard and MIT, but has a great lama ever spoken at a historically black college? Has one ever lectured at a community college? Has one ever lectured at a homeless shelter?

I think Western Buddhism needs to be less elitist. Buddha never said, "My religion is only for people of certain races and social classes." If our mission is to liberate all sentient beings (which obviously includes all human beings), then we need to start acting like it.


:thumbsup:

There have been a few Black / African-American monks and nuns, but far and in-between, unfortunately.

I think the culture has really deep roots into Christianity, which can be somewhat surprising considering it was forced upon the slaves (at least in the U.S.). But now with the information age and the internet, I think more people will hear about the Dharma from various sources and some may acquire interest.
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:18 pm

TheDhamma wrote:
Luke wrote:I think more needs to be done to teach the Dharma to other ethnic groups and social classes. Great lamas have spoken at Harvard and MIT, but has a great lama ever spoken at a historically black college? Has one ever lectured at a community college? Has one ever lectured at a homeless shelter?

I think Western Buddhism needs to be less elitist. Buddha never said, "My religion is only for people of certain races and social classes." If our mission is to liberate all sentient beings (which obviously includes all human beings), then we need to start acting like it.


:thumbsup:

There have been a few Black / African-American monks and nuns, but far and in-between, unfortunately.

I think the culture has really deep roots into Christianity, which can be somewhat surprising considering it was forced upon the slaves (at least in the U.S.). But now with the information age and the internet, I think more people will hear about the Dharma from various sources and some may acquire interest.




http://www.ugandabuddhistcentre.org/lea ... harakkhita
Those who are lust-infatuated fall back to the swirling current (of samsara) like a spider on its self-spun web. This too the wise cut off. Without any longing, they abandon all dukkha and renounce the world

Dhammapada - Verse 347
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby sraddha » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:09 am

I think the most popular Buddhism with African Americans is the Nichiren school.

http://www.proudblackbuddhist.org/
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:08 am



A great monk, I have heard, but although African, not from the typically "Western" nations of U.S., Canada, UK, etc.
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:11 am

sraddha wrote:I think the most popular Buddhism with African Americans is the Nichiren school.

http://www.proudblackbuddhist.org/


And it's probably no coincidence that SGI is the form of Buddhism that is most like Christianity, with full emphasis on chanting (like prayer) and no meditation. Other Buddhist traditions chant, but SGI chants for possessions, success, etc., more like praying to a deity.
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:15 am

Here is an example of an African-American who became a successful monastic:

http://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=B ... _Pannavati

but unfortunately, the examples like this are rare and notice even she came from a Christian pastor background.
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby Luke » Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:00 pm

And let's not forget that there are other races besides white and black Americans. I think Buddhists should also make an effort to spread the Dharma to Latino communities. A Buddhist teacher who speaks both English and Spanish could have a big impact on the future of Buddhism in America. I have the feeling that most Latinos are Catholic, but some of them might be looking for something new. I have also read about some Native Americans taking an interest in Tibetan Buddhism.

Refering to the second article I posted a link to above, I have some of the stereotypical characteristics of "Elite Buddhists": I'm only really interested meditation-intensive styles of Buddhism, I'm educated, and I'm a nerdy white guy. However, in some ways I'm not so stereotypical: I've basically always been poor and I have been homeless at times. I'm not a yuppie or an aristocrat by any means, although I've met many of those types.

I think one of the reasons I never joined a Buddhist sangha in America was that I was so disgusted by the elitism in Buddhism there. I found my lama across the Atlantic in Europe. I think my sangha here is very special because we have many ordinary people as our members, and our members are truly kind people who are not snobs. It doesn't simply feel like some Ivy League after school club. Our members are extremely dedicated to their practices and do not care about shallow things like trying to impress people with how many empowerments they have received.

Of course, the exception to this elitism in Buddism in America seems to be the devotional styles of Buddhism like Nichiren. I think we "Elite Buddhists" can learn a great deal about kindness and inclusiveness from these sanghas.
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby sraddha » Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:04 am

Here are some interesting articles on these two communities (African American and Latino)

NEWS FEATURE: Hispanic Buddhists a small but growing trend

http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/rnspremiumtext/news_feature_hispanic_buddhists_a_small_but_growing_trend/

Here's a wonderful article by "Shambala Sun" on African American Buddhists:

http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1741
"There are far too few people of color in Buddhist centers and retreats, in part because of the nature of where the retreats are and the fact that they cost money," says Willis, now one of the nation's leading Buddhist academics. "It's about class. Working class people can't take a month off to go on retreat.

"Buddhism is a commodity like everything else in the States," the Wesleyan University professor of religion adds. "Trungpa Rinpoche talked about 'spiritual materialism.' You can choose among hundreds of different traditions and lineages in the spiritual supermarket, and then you pay.
"That's part of why Soka Gakkai has had success," she says of the Japanese Pure Land organization, which counts many blacks among its members. "They're in the cities, they've tried so hard to bend over backwards to assimilate with American holidays and they have a simple ritual." The same, Willis continues, is true of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, the group she met with in Britain. But in the American sanghas of the more traditional Buddhist lineages, blacks are largely absent.
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby Dodatsu » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:00 pm

Soka Gakkai, by the way, is NOT Japanese Pure Land Buddhism, as errorly reported in the last post.
Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) is, and there is one Hispanic priest at Los Angeles Betsuin, and a few white/hispanic/black Minister Assistants at various BCA temples and churches.
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin
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Re: Buddhism in the West

Postby sraddha » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:34 am

Hi Dodatsu,

By "Pureland Buddhism" do you mean those who study the Amitabha Sutras as primary?

Nichiren severely criticized the "Pure Land School" in Japan, however, they seemed to posit a pure land in the heart:

http://www.sokaspirit.org/resource/justice/lands-are-not-pure-or-impure-in-themselves
Ultimately, to transform our environment into a Buddha land, we must first become Buddhas ourselves. As the Daishonin states: Neither the pure land nor hell exists outside oneself; both lie only within one's own heart. Awakened to this, one is called a Buddha; deluded about it, one is called an ordinary person. The Lotus Sutra reveals this truth, and one who embraces the Lotus Sutra will realize that hell is itself the Land of Tranquil Light (WND, 456). What matters most is not where we are, but what state of life we build within our lives.
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