What's an American Buddhist?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
Post Reply
Posts: 1464
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:14 am

What's an American Buddhist?

Post by plwk » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:59 pm


Why is a faith founded under a Bodhi tree in India 2,500 years ago enjoying a newfound popularity in America today?

Read all about it here

Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: What's an American Buddhist?

Post by Buckwheat » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:26 pm

I think it's is both unavoidable and enriching that America (and the west in general) will develop a style of Buddhism that is distinct from older traditions. Will it boil down to one or two main threads of tradition, or be a rich tapestry of traditions? My hunch is the latter, as we can already see western-Thai, wester-Burmese, western-Zen, wester-Vajrayana, etc.

But this raises a concern for me. It seems that Buddhism in America is easily perverted by our society. I met somebody who seemed to have the idea that Buddhism is cushions, bells, and $700 retreats. Other's think it's simply a rational explanation for consciousness.

Can Buddhism walk the tightrope between overly centralized dogma and overly diluted pollution by the masses? I am optimistic, as Buddhism has previously had rough times in other cultures (Thailand pre-Forest traditions) there is always the ability for a group to sit down and touch the Buddha-dhamma directly and then share it with everybody else. As long as we keep the suttas circulating, it seems there will be the possibility for individuals to get to the heart of the matter and get things back on track.

I do not claim to have any idea what American or western Buddhism will look like in 200 years, but it is a fascinating idea that distracts me from the breath.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 4:41 am
Location: Gone Bush

Re: What's an American Buddhist?

Post by dharmagoat » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:42 am

I am confident that there will always be practitioners that are able to authentically experience buddha nature, and so keep the spirit of the Buddhadhamma alive, no matter how degenerate mainstream Buddhism becomes. I expect that future forms of Buddhism will rely less and less on the suttas, as is already evident in the later developments of Buddhism.

User avatar
Posts: 1959
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: What's an American Buddhist?

Post by kirk5a » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:57 am

Whatever it is, get it while it's still hot! I'm reminded of what Ajahn Amaro says in Small Boat, Great Mountain:
We are extremely lucky that Buddhism is so new in the West.
Many people have reflected on the notion that “these are the
good ol’ days.” In 100 years, we will have a Buddhist president,
there will be big grants from philanthropists, and Buddhism will
have become institutionalized. People will become Buddhist to
climb the social ladder, and the glory days will all be over. So we
are lucky to be practicing before Buddhism becomes part of the
social norm.
http://www.abhayagiri.org/main/book/138/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

User avatar
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: What's an American Buddhist?

Post by Wesley1982 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:48 pm

An American who has imported Buddhism from some strange exotic land?....

Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: What's an American Buddhist?

Post by danieLion » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:06 am

I suppose I'm one--on account of being American and Buddhist.

I just don't like American Buddhism being equated with the popular mindfulness movement.



Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests