Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby palchi » Wed May 25, 2011 8:04 pm

Luke wrote:
palchi wrote:I currently live in Namibia which is a big country with a tiny population (2 million in a country twice as big as Germany) and even this small population is very diverse.

That's cool. If I may ask you a question, are you African or are you from some other part of the world?


No, my job brought me here a year ago. I'm German but haven't lived in Germany for quite a while.....
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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed May 25, 2011 11:43 pm

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... uddhism_in

Several years ago I started an informal online group to see if there would be interest in promoting the Dharma in Africa, specifically in Ethiopia to start.

The group grew a little and I was somewhat surprised to see the interest in Buddhism from some Ethiopians. Labor and materials were pretty cheap, so even considered having a temple / Dharma center built. But there was also resistance from some who saw it as just another white man coming to tell the Africans how to worship. They didn't word it quite like that, but something to that effect. Additionally, I found out the Ethiopian government has a policy of not allowing any "new" religions into the country. They have limited it to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. So I eventually had to drop the plan.

I think the way it may eventually develop is in a similar way it arrived to the U.S. and other Western nations -- through the immigrant-Asian communities. There are immigrant Asian communities in virtually every country, including in the African countries. For the most part, most nations allow them to practice their religions and to build temples for their communities. And then later at some time, the Africans, perhaps out of curiosity or their own studies, may come to the temple.

Another big way it could develop is through monks of African birth (rather than an outsider) such as Venerable Bhante Buddharakkhita who was born and raised in Uganda, Africa.

http://www.ugandabuddhistcenter.org/
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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby mindyourmind » Thu May 26, 2011 6:54 am

David N. Snyder wrote:http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Africa%2C_Buddhism_in

Several years ago I started an informal online group to see if there would be interest in promoting the Dharma in Africa, specifically in Ethiopia to start.

The group grew a little and I was somewhat surprised to see the interest in Buddhism from some Ethiopians. Labor and materials were pretty cheap, so even considered having a temple / Dharma center built. But there was also resistance from some who saw it as just another white man coming to tell the Africans how to worship. They didn't word it quite like that, but something to that effect. Additionally, I found out the Ethiopian government has a policy of not allowing any "new" religions into the country. They have limited it to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. So I eventually had to drop the plan.

I think the way it may eventually develop is in a similar way it arrived to the U.S. and other Western nations -- through the immigrant-Asian communities. There are immigrant Asian communities in virtually every country, including in the African countries. For the most part, most nations allow them to practice their religions and to build temples for their communities. And then later at some time, the Africans, perhaps out of curiosity or their own studies, may come to the temple.

Another big way it could develop is through monks of African birth (rather than an outsider) such as Venerable Bhante Buddharakkhita who was born and raised in Uganda, Africa.

http://www.ugandabuddhistcenter.org/


I have never thought of the growth of the Dharma in Africa that way, David. Thanks for the inspiration.
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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby Astus » Thu May 26, 2011 1:19 pm

I don't remember if there were any country where immigrants could actually spread Buddhism. That's for two reasons: 1. immigrants either form a closed community or assimilate; 2. immigrants lack the social position to be listened to by the hosting population. Christianity and Islam didn't spread in Africa because of immigrating Europeans and Arabs. And if Ethiopia doesn't allow other religions then Buddhism is not a religion.
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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby Luke » Thu May 26, 2011 6:59 pm

Astus wrote:I don't remember if there were any country where immigrants could actually spread Buddhism. That's for two reasons: 1. immigrants either form a closed community or assimilate; 2. immigrants lack the social position to be listened to by the hosting population. Christianity and Islam didn't spread in Africa because of immigrating Europeans and Arabs. And if Ethiopia doesn't allow other religions then Buddhism is not a religion.

But religions do have a history of inspiring prophets and saints who spread their religions, such as Guru Rinpoche and Bodhidharma (who were Indian foreigners in Tibet and China respectively). The locals became inspired to convert after meeting such amazing teachers.

Does anyone know if the Dalai Lama has ever visited Africa?
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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby Astus » Thu May 26, 2011 8:32 pm

Luke wrote:But religions do have a history of inspiring prophets and saints who spread their religions, such as Guru Rinpoche and Bodhidharma (who were Indian foreigners in Tibet and China respectively). The locals became inspired to convert after meeting such amazing teachers.

Does anyone know if the Dalai Lama has ever visited Africa?


Good point, there are outstanding teachers, although the two you mentioned are mostly legendary figures (Chan definitely didn't become famous because of Bodhidharma). There are well known and widely respected teachers in the West among whom the Dalai Lama is the number one. However, we shouldn't forget the optimal conditions for such teachers to appear. The Dalai Lama is famous because he was the leader of Tibet, D. T. Suzuki became famous because there were people hungry for knowledge about the mystical East, and so on with other notable masters. If there are some groups in Africa looking for inner changes instead of outer rituals Buddhism has a chance of spreading.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby mindyourmind » Fri May 27, 2011 6:01 am

Luke wrote:
Astus wrote:I don't remember if there were any country where immigrants could actually spread Buddhism. That's for two reasons: 1. immigrants either form a closed community or assimilate; 2. immigrants lack the social position to be listened to by the hosting population. Christianity and Islam didn't spread in Africa because of immigrating Europeans and Arabs. And if Ethiopia doesn't allow other religions then Buddhism is not a religion.

But religions do have a history of inspiring prophets and saints who spread their religions, such as Guru Rinpoche and Bodhidharma (who were Indian foreigners in Tibet and China respectively). The locals became inspired to convert after meeting such amazing teachers.

Does anyone know if the Dalai Lama has ever visited Africa?



Yes, Luke, as far as I can remember HHDL has visited SA twice. I will have to look up the dates though. The last visit was not that long ago - some five years or so, I would guess without Googling.

I cannot say whether he has visited any other African countries.
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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby daelm » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:41 pm

Luke wrote:
Does anyone know if the Dalai Lama has ever visited Africa?


last time was in late 2004, to consecrate the Lam Rim center in Johannesburg, if i remember right. At the time it was under the guidance of Geshe Phende, who had contacts in high places - i had just come out of retreat and was taken there for the day by some of the monks from Nan Hua, who were all agog to see him. so i remember :)


d
Last edited by daelm on Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby DharmaKitty » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:05 pm

Yes that is correct!

He gave some wonderful teaching both at the Centre and in Durban. Geshe Phende told marvellous stories of that visit. Unfortunately for reason / excuses only really known to the powers that be, (!) the Dalai Lama was refused a visit to SA in 2009. I do hear talk (this morning actually) that he is wanting to visit SA in October for Archbishop Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday, though he is unsure as to whether that would be possible.

It would be marvellous though!

(and with, or without that visit, the Dharma grows here in South Africa, the path may be rocky at times and the journey slow, but grow it does!)

http://news.iafrica.com/sa/739570.html
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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby JohnJigmeHeimrShmidt » Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:33 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Africa is a very big place.

I like the original post to this thread, but I hope some day we can get beyond thinking that the human realm is actually made up of different 'races'.

here are links to centers in south africa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_in_South_Africa
and in Uganda
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Uganda_Buddhist_Centre


Hey, I'm practicing the Dharma here in Uganda. Anyone else here?

I'm looking forward to checking out The Uganda Buddhist Centre, but don't live in Kampala so haven't made it there yet.
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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby mindyourmind » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:15 am

JohnJigmeHeimrShmidt wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Africa is a very big place.

I like the original post to this thread, but I hope some day we can get beyond thinking that the human realm is actually made up of different 'races'.

here are links to centers in south africa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_in_South_Africa
and in Uganda
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Uganda_Buddhist_Centre


Hey, I'm practicing the Dharma here in Uganda. Anyone else here?

I'm looking forward to checking out The Uganda Buddhist Centre, but don't live in Kampala so haven't made it there yet.


Good luck, John

We are just around the corner from you, here in SA :twothumbsup:
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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby JohnJigmeHeimrShmidt » Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:59 pm

mindyourmind wrote:
JohnJigmeHeimrShmidt wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Africa is a very big place.

I like the original post to this thread, but I hope some day we can get beyond thinking that the human realm is actually made up of different 'races'.

here are links to centers in south africa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_in_South_Africa
and in Uganda
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Uganda_Buddhist_Centre


Hey, I'm practicing the Dharma here in Uganda. Anyone else here?

I'm looking forward to checking out The Uganda Buddhist Centre, but don't live in Kampala so haven't made it there yet.


Good luck, John

We are just around the corner from you, here in SA :twothumbsup:


Thank you! It's a long way, but I'm hoping to make it down to SA next year!

All the best,

John
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Re: Spreading the Dharma in Africa?

Postby mindyourmind » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:28 am

JohnJigmeHeimrShmidt wrote:
Thank you! It's a long way, but I'm hoping to make it down to SA next year!

All the best,

John


Let me know when you are here :twothumbsup:
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