hungryghost wrote:I think that if we have more teachers of true wisdom, and monastic centers become larger and more entrenched, there will be no need to go and 'recruit' athletes, garbagemen, or hispanic people. True Buddhism doesnt need much proselytising. When people suffer bad enough, and conditions are ripe, they will find it. Trying to spread Buddhism in a contrived way to people that arent exposed to it will result in contrived Buddhism. This is what christianity does, and it hasnt done them any good, except to gain in numbers.
I agree that Buddhism shouldn't be contrived, however different types of people live in different areas and they read and watch different sources of media. How will people find it if they've never heard enough about Buddhism to even want to search for it? A student at an elite university might be lucky enough to have great lama give a lecture at his university and he or she might go to the lecture just out of curiosity, which might spark a life-long fascination with Buddism and perhaps even lead to that student travelling to Asia. Most likely, no lama would come and visit a community college or a homeless shelter. And what about poor people who don't have computers let alone internet access? How will they find Buddhism if no Dharma center is near them and if their local library has no books about Buddhism?
For this reason, Buddhists should be careful that they don't always put their Dharma centers in areas with similar demographics, and Buddhists should also be careful that they don't always create media which only appeals to same old "western Buddhist" demographic (you know, 30-40, white, educated, etc.). Any form of media which is created by somebody reflects that person's personality, and like tends to attract like. Sometimes it's hard for an outsider to become part of tightly knit social circles.
All beings experience suffering, but some types of suffering are more of a concern to some demographics than to others. People who barely have enough to eat will have different concerns than those of us who are sitting comfortably at our computers, and therefore, they might benefit more from different aspects of Buddha's teachings.
Great bodhisattvas want to help even beings in the hell realms, and don't always wait for the beings to come to them.
Here's an older thread on a similar topic:viewtopic.php?f=36&t=311