SilenceMonkey wrote: ↑Tue Jul 13, 2021 3:35 pm
It’s maybe not as cut and dry as we’d like to make it... I’m just saying that forces of modernity tend to push out traditional practices. Modern people often aren’t interested in making offerings, pujas for the dead, etc... People tend to want to learn meditation and find relief from their mental health issues.
1) Not all traditions emphasize things like making offerings or pujas for the dead, or at least, they do so to greatly varying degrees. In fact, there have always been areas of Buddhist practice more focused on other things - philosophy and meditation for instance, even if prior to modernity no one made a clear, identity-based distinction between them.
2) Buddhism has always been used for "mental health" in some sense as well, so the issue is how it is being used there, and what it presents itself as.. it's not some new thing to do that, it is the formalization of "mental health" as a discrete and sometimes category that is new. Having a healthy, strong and resilient mind has always been an integral part of Buddhism, though (like all these pieces) was emphasized to greater or lesser degrees in different times and places.
Even Mingyur Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche modernized their traditions a great deal to deliver a meditation focused Buddhism for westerners. Even HH the Dalai Lama changed with modernity, though maybe his changes didn’t lead to the Tibet Houses around the world ignoring as many of the traditional practices as Mingyur and Tsoknyi’s groups might have.
Yes, what is relevant to people changes with culture, there are pitfalls there, but it is to be expected. It is also completely unstoppable, so the smart money to my mind is on being critical about how
it changes and really doing our best in our own practice and to prioritize a sense of self-honesty, so that that honesty effects whatever changes come over time. In other words, internalizing the teachings as best we can.
I’m talking about a cultural trend, which is hard to pinpoint with specifics. And it has to do with the preferences of people in the sanghas. So many places I’ve seen in the west don’t even take the five precepts seriously. People choose what aspect of tradition speaks to them and tend to disregard the rest.
That has always been the case, and when it is not the case it can be due to cultural norms, not necessarily due to people taking practice or study seriously. Seriously though, Buddhists not taking the precepts seriously is hardly a ‘Western’ invention.
So as the culture changes, traditional forms of Buddhism fall more and more into the shadows.
Again, I think you are taking one particular expression (it sounds like focus on social and ritual aspects maybe?) and calling it "traditional Buddhism", when in fact traditional Buddhism is quite a wide range of overlapping things. - even within specific traditions, hell, even withing specific lineages within
specific traditions. Buddhism is pretty anarchic across the board, compared to religions which have a big drive towards standardization.
We could spend all day trying to find "traditional Buddhism", I think we would likely get further trying to seek what is Dharma with a capital D, which sometimes might have a ultra-traditional Orthodox package, and other times might be on the opposite end of the spectrum.