Taking Root in North America

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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theravada_guy
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Taking Root in North America

Post by theravada_guy » Mon May 02, 2016 6:37 pm

Greetings all,

This is a two part question:

1. What are the criteria for determining whether or not Buddhism has taken root in a country?

2. Has Theravada Buddhism fully taken root in North America, or is there still work to be done?

Thank you.
With mettā,

TG

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Goofaholix
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Re: Taking Root in North America

Post by Goofaholix » Mon May 02, 2016 8:23 pm

theravada_guy wrote:Greetings all,

This is a two part question:

1. What are the criteria for determining whether or not Buddhism has taken root in a country?

2. Has Theravada Buddhism fully taken root in North America, or is there still work to be done?

Thank you.
A plant has taken root when it is able to hold itself in the soil and continue growing with minimal or no outside support.

Even if we exclude the insight meditation/vipassana movements (I think it should be included) I would say Theravada Buddhism took root in north America about 30 years ago.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

chownah
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Re: Taking Root in North America

Post by chownah » Tue May 03, 2016 4:19 am

In this context "taken root" just means "established"....and established can be judged by different people differently. The opposite would be a situation where some religion sends out missionaries to northamerica and they thrash around a bit and then leave with no one being converted....one would say that it did not take root.

It is just a statement of someone's judgement and has no important meaning or clear definition.

chownah

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pilgrim
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Re: Taking Root in North America

Post by pilgrim » Tue May 03, 2016 4:38 am

When the Dhamma was introduced to Sri Lanka, the king said that the Sasana can only be said to have taken root when "native born sons ordain native born sons". I think that's a fair criteria.

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_anicca_
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Re: Taking Root in North America

Post by _anicca_ » Wed May 04, 2016 3:14 am

I would say that Theravada has taken root in North America. I can see it growing more in some ways, but for the most part it can stand on its own.
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."

:buddha1:

http://vipassanameditation.asia

paul
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Re: Taking Root in North America

Post by paul » Wed May 04, 2016 7:08 am

Taken root in West North America, what the US looks like without Christians:
http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/americ ... -northeast" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Mkoll
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Re: Taking Root in North America

Post by Mkoll » Wed May 04, 2016 4:48 pm

pilgrim wrote:When the Dhamma was introduced to Sri Lanka, the king said that the Sasana can only be said to have taken root when "native born sons ordain native born sons". I think that's a fair criteria.
I agree. And it is so in North America. So :thumbsup:

~~~
paul wrote:Taken root in West North America, what the US looks like without Christians:
http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/americ ... -northeast
That is really cool. I wonder what it would look like if they included the "22.8% for the unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics, 'spiritual but not religious')." They'd probably dominate every state.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

schakma94
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Re: Taking Root in North America

Post by schakma94 » Fri May 06, 2016 2:53 am

theravada_guy wrote:Greetings all,

This is a two part question:

1. What are the criteria for determining whether or not Buddhism has taken root in a country?

2. Has Theravada Buddhism fully taken root in North America, or is there still work to be done?

Thank you.
This is a very intriguing question, which has a very clear answer in the parajika commentary (samantapasadika, bahira nidana katha). I am quoting the pali passage here,
atha rājā “sace, bhante, mayhaṃ nattā karissati, kataṃyeva mayā”ti dvādasahatthaṃ pāsāṇatthambhaṃ āharāpetvā “devānampiyatissassa rañño nattā duṭṭhagāmaṇī abhayo nāma imasmiṃ padese thūpaṃ karotū”ti akkharāni likhāpetvā patiṭṭhāpetvā vanditvā theraṃ pucchi — “patiṭṭhitaṃ nu kho, bhante, tambapaṇṇidīpe sāsanan”ti? “patiṭṭhitaṃ, mahārāja, sāsanaṃ; mūlāni panassa na tāva otarantī”ti. “kadā pana, bhante mūlāni otiṇṇāni nāma bhavissantī”ti? “yadā, mahārāja, tambapaṇṇidīpakānaṃ mātāpitūnaṃ tambapaṇṇidīpe jāto dārako tambapaṇṇidīpe pabbajitvā tambapaṇṇidīpamhiyeva vinayaṃ uggahetvā tambapaṇṇidīpe vācessati, tadā sāsanassa mūlāni otiṇṇāni nāma bhavissantī”ti...

Then the king said, "Bhante, if my grandson will do it, it is as if done by me." So he ordered to bring a 12 cubit long stone pillar, on which he made it written this message, "The grandson of the king Devanampiyatissa (The king Tissa, the Favorite to the Devas), named as Dutthagamani Abhaya will erect a stupa shrine at this place." He installed the pillar and bowed to it. Then he asked the Thero, "Bhante, Is The Doctrine established?" The Thero answered,"The Doctrine is established, O Great King. But it has not yet taken root." "When will it take root?" "O great king, When a boy [not indicating to a particular boy anyway] born from the parents of Tambapanni island (Srilanka), born in the Tambapanni island (Srilanka), will go forth in the Tambapanni island, and learn the vinaya (monastic code) in the Tambapanni island, and recite it in Tambapanni island, then the Doctrine will take its root."

I think now you know both answers. According to the Theravada tradition, when a boy from a native parents, born and raised in that native country, goes forth in that country, learns the Vinaya (It includes the five books of vinaya pitaka), and recites it in that country, only then we say that the Dhamma has taken its roots in that country. As the Texts say, the long lasting of the dispensation fully depends on the monks, not on the lay people, no matter how devoted the lay people may be, without well-behaved monks, the dispensation cannot last, will not last. Ideally, monks abandon all types of worldly pursuits, follow a simple monastic life, and devote themselves in meditation and spiritual pursuit. They may be rare in most of the countries, but they are not rare in Buddhist countries, and people still revere and honor them. As long as they roam in the secluded forests, true Buddhism will remain intact, I can tell. And along with it, the roots of the Dispensation will also be intact.

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