in my town there is an ecumenical buddhist commons. it's basically the dharma warehouse-- a space that all buddhist groups in the area can use for practice and teachings. it's populated by various zen, theravadan, vajrayana and "new" buddhist groups like the stephen batchelor types and buddhist peace fellowship. it works well except for the fact that different groups have different ideas of what "ecumenical" means. the "new" buddhist stephen batchelor types believe stripping buddhism of all asian cultural referents is ecumenism, while at the other pole the vajrayana practitioners see all of the other groups in the context of worldly and unworldly dharma and the nine yanas and that is their ecumenism.
on a pragmatic level it works well except for when it comes to notions of stability and growth. the group with the largest amount of members and the largest financial contribution to the support of the commons generally makes the rules. that's a problem in that the dominant group may not necessarily see the purpose of the commons as an incubator for smaller groups, but rather a venue for the players.
The idea of a commons is exactly what I would like to see emerge here.
Thanks for pointing out the pitfalls.
Can you say where this is located?
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