Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

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Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:10 pm

Keisuke Matsumoto is creating a management model to help Buddhist temples in Japan attract Gen Y based on his learnings from the Hyderabad B-school, reports Kala Vijayraghavan

A year ago, a 32-year-old Buddhist monk completed a post-graduate programme from the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, the B-school that's known to have everyone from dancers to scuba divers as students. Keisuke Matsumoto from the Komyoji temple in Japan is now busy putting to practice his learnings by creating a new management model for modern Buddhist temples in Japan. His focus is to attract more members of the millennial generation to these places of worship.

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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:44 pm

Matsumoto is working on updating Buddhist temples to meet the modern needs of people without disturbing their religious traditions.


Taiwanese Buddhism has being doing this for several decades now. Some operate on more or less corporate models complete with department heads.

Reading this article I get the feeling this is another pathetic attempt in Japan at attempting to revive Buddhism without actually doing what they need to do which is actually practice.

If you're out getting a MBA degree, married, having kids, driving a nice car, drinking liquor, etc., then you might be able to "relate to the people" and "live a normal life" as it was explained to me in Japan, though in the end people will just see such priests as being the same as them, so why bother investing emotionally or spiritually in them or their organization? If, on the other hand, people encounter spiritual teachers who know Buddhadharma, have gone into lengthy retreats and live a very different lifestyle of renunciation, while displaying that they've risen above a lot of mundane suffering and desires, then people will see something worthy of their time and energies.

The reason Buddhism is rapidly dying in Japan is because you have the blind leading the blind, and those being led are quickly realizing it is a big waste of time and not terribly rewarding.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:57 pm

Huseng wrote:If, on the other hand, people encounter spiritual teachers who know Buddhadharma, have gone into lengthy retreats and live a very different lifestyle of renunciation, while displaying that they've risen above a lot of mundane suffering and desires, then people will see something worthy of their time and energies.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Dodatsu » Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:08 pm

Rev Matsumoto is a Shin Buddhist priest, so we don't do all the "practices, long retreats" and the like. Every culture and country has its own way of propagating Buddhism, so please, don't try using "Taiwanese Buddhism" to run down or say that Japanese Buddhist are this-and-that. I've met Taiwanese Buddhists who are unhappy with the state of Buddhism in their own country, even though it also paints a rosy picture. Rather than running down, why not give the respect instead?
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Mr. G » Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:16 pm

You're right Dodatsu. I think one of the gists of the article was how to efficiently run a large Buddhist organization while drawing new members in. Nothing wrong with that.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Indrajala » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:18 pm

Mr. G wrote:You're right Dodatsu. I think one of the gists of the article was how to efficiently run a large Buddhist organization while drawing new members in. Nothing wrong with that.


I'm saying their methods are clearly not working and that this new innovation will likely end in failure to achieve the desired aims.

Criticism is a good thing.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Mr. G » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:21 pm

Huseng wrote:
Mr. G wrote:You're right Dodatsu. I think one of the gists of the article was how to efficiently run a large Buddhist organization while drawing new members in. Nothing wrong with that.


I'm saying their methods are clearly not working and that this new innovation will likely end in failure to achieve the desired aims.


I understood what you were saying in your first post.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Indrajala » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:31 pm

Dodatsu wrote:Rev Matsumoto is a Shin Buddhist priest, so we don't do all the "practices, long retreats" and the like.


Well, without living above mundane concerns, mundane people of our present day will see little reason to invest emotionally and spiritually in you or your organizations.

The reason Tibetan Buddhism is generally flourishing and growing overseas is because you have charismatic renunciates who do lengthy retreats and practices over many long years, the results of which speak for themselves.

The reason why Taiwanese Buddhism is likewise growing and thriving is because the venerables walk the walk and talk the talk.

In Japan you have priests who fulfil social roles and might speak of Buddhadharma, but without actual dedicated practice of it, they will just be ordinary people leading ordinary people rather than wise people leading ordinary people. Much of Buddhism in Japan in the present day is just leftover archaic traditions that common people feel compelled to shell out money for and the hereditary priesthood makes a living off these social customs. There might be attempts at fostering communities, and I have personally seen this in person in Japan, but such groups are small and their influence minimal in the greater scope.


Every culture and country has its own way of propagating Buddhism, so please, don't try using "Taiwanese Buddhism" to run down or say that Japanese Buddhist are this-and-that.


Comparisons between different traditions, particularly comparing Taiwanese and Japanese Buddhisms as they are closely related, is important so we can understand what works and why.


I've met Taiwanese Buddhists who are unhappy with the state of Buddhism in their own country, even though it also paints a rosy picture. Rather than running down, why not give the respect instead?


I respect Japanese Buddhism. I studied at Komazawa University for two years after all and earned a MA degree from said institution. I greatly respect those few Japanese Buddhists who engage in actual practice of Buddhadharma -- those who not only study it, but digest and utilize it for benevolent purposes.

However, to point out problems and erroneous ways is not disrespectful. It is helpful. It is compassionate to point out erroneous ways.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Astus » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:30 pm

There is no guarantee for what will actually work in the long run. So they have to try. Chan Buddhism started as a marginal movement of a handful of monastics. 700 years later it was the dominant Buddhist school. Nobody could have foretold that, neither the changes it needed to become the ruling doctrine.

Japanese Buddhism is still a living religion with diverse sects and communities. Maybe some schools will disappear in a few hundred years while new sects turn out to be major institutions eventually. The so called widespread "corruption of the Sangha" is not a new phenomenon at all but a necessary consequence of large churches.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby pueraeternus » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:04 am

It's rather difficult for Japanese Buddhism to flourish without reviving the Vinaya. Without it, the foundational base for a proper Sangha is missing. I am surprised it lasted that long and that there are powerful lines of transmission still alive. But it might not last another 2-3 generations.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:40 am

pueraeternus wrote:It's rather difficult for Japanese Buddhism to flourish without reviving the Vinaya. Without it, the foundational base for a proper Sangha is missing. I am surprised it lasted that long and that there are powerful lines of transmission still alive. But it might not last another 2-3 generations.


It is rapidly wasting away. There are far less priests now than in previous decades, even with a higher population compared to then. A lot of country temples have no resident priest and probably never will again.

The money is still there. This I imagine is what keeps the whole skeleton in motion. They still have heaps of untaxable wealth. Any income generated is likewise not taxed.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby rory » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:53 am

It's Mappo what else do you expect? The state got hold of Buddhism centuries ago....When religion becomes the servant of the state the life is sucked out of it.
And I entirely disagree with Huseng. My sensei Rev. Tsuchiya has a regular day job, no temple; he's a priest out of deep faith and every year travels to Indian and Cambodia to spread the teachings and distributes free Lotus Sutras . He gives dharma talks & teaches his international members. All for free, all out of his spare time. I find that so inspiring and it's behavior I can emulate.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:05 am

pueraeternus wrote:It's rather difficult for Japanese Buddhism to flourish without reviving the Vinaya. Without it, the foundational base for a proper Sangha is missing. I am surprised it lasted that long and that there are powerful lines of transmission still alive. But it might not last another 2-3 generations.


I don't find it a definitive source of problems. Shinshu survived just fine throughout the centuries to become the biggest school in Japan. Japanese Zen could spread in the West quite well. It looks like that while there are parish priests everywhere who serve the community, there are a couple of monasteries with strict rules and training. Thus it became more stratified then a single group of ordained monks.
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“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby catmoon » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:46 am

This is strangely reminiscent of a speaker who came to our church to promote something he called "Corporate Dynamic Prayer". I immediately smelled a rat, never did attend and the whole program fell flat on its face as predicted.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Mr. G » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:36 pm

I thought meditation was still practiced in Zen in Japan?

I don't think "meditation" is practiced at all in Jodo-Shu or Shinshu in Japan.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:08 pm

rory wrote:It's Mappo what else do you expect? The state got hold of Buddhism centuries ago....When religion becomes the servant of the state the life is sucked out of it.


Right, but Japanese Buddhism now is not directly serving the state.

It wasn't the state that killed Buddhism in Japan. It was their ideas of modernity.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby rory » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:50 am

Huseng;
where are the facts for your contention? The Meiji govt tied local people to a local temple, irrespective of sect, it's that kind of enforced bureaucratization that is soul-killing for any religion. Additionally there are Soto Shu nuns who are celibate and live ascetic lives; is Soto Shu huge? Jodo Shu had a nunnery; it closed a couple of years ago..I do know there were movements to introduce Vinaya back into Tendai, some monk went and got the full dharmagupta ordination & came back to Mt. Hiei but it never turned into a movement.
As Astus pointed out Shinshu grew rapidly and today the biggest neo-Buddhist movement is the prosperity cult Sokka Gakkai, almost entirely lay and all over the world. And on a firm business model, they make plenty of money.

I'd say you are keen on a top down religion whilst I and others prefer a bottom up.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Kai » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:31 am

Huseng wrote:The reason Buddhism is rapidly dying in Japan is because you have the blind leading the blind, and those being led are quickly realizing it is a big waste of time and not terribly rewarding.


Aren't that true in all Asian countries with huge Buddhist population, perhaps with the exception of maybe said, Bhutan and Burma? Buddhism is rising in West but is also dropping in the East.
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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Huifeng » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:49 am

Kai wrote:
Huseng wrote:The reason Buddhism is rapidly dying in Japan is because you have the blind leading the blind, and those being led are quickly realizing it is a big waste of time and not terribly rewarding.


Aren't that true in all Asian countries with huge Buddhist population, perhaps with the exception of maybe said, Bhutan and Burma? Buddhism is rising in West but is also dropping in the East.


No, I don't think so.
Buddhism is having a massive resurgence in China (+ Taiwan, HK, Macau).
That's about 1.3b people to start with...

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Re: Japanese creating management model to attract Buddhists

Postby Kai » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:34 pm

Huifeng wrote:Buddhism is having a massive resurgence in China (+ Taiwan, HK, Macau).


From the reports I heard, its Christianity that is soaring in China and Taiwan. Maybe both are increasing at the same time or one of the party is making false report.
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