Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

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James Tan
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Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by James Tan » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:56 pm

Greetings ,

Buddhism seems to be reserved for the Elite ?!
That's mean only very few can really get benefitted from it ultimately . Many could approach Buddhism but only on the surface level .
Why is it so ? Simply because dhamma is going against the stream of the world . And also it's too profound for many to comprehend.

Is it necessary or does it take something more to attract more people to embrace Buddhism ie the dhamma ?
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binocular
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by binocular » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:54 pm

To market Buddhism would be to present Buddhism as something to be consumed.

Yet Buddhism is not something to be consumed; even though many people remain on the level of merely consuming it.

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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by James Tan » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:23 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:54 pm
To market Buddhism would be to present Buddhism as something to be consumed.

Yet Buddhism is not something to be consumed; even though many people remain on the level of merely consuming it.
Perhaps, "promoting strategy" to make it easier to understand and applying in daily life ?
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by DNS » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:48 pm

Yes, perhaps "strategy" is a better term. The Buddha was interested in Dhamma propagation. He was not interested in self-enlightenment only and did teach the masses and advised his monks to do Dhamma propagation.

“Wander forth, O bhikkhus, for the welfare of the multitude, for the happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare, and happiness of devas and humans. Let not two go the same way. Teach, O bhikkhus, the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing.”
Samyutta Nikaya 4.453

In these modern times, probably the best strategy is focusing on meditation classes, retreats, various Dhamma talks and starting their interest that way. I have organized and attended many of these programs and I would say the vast majority attending do not consider themselves Buddhist and then after attending a program, some do initiate increased interest.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:01 pm

Yes, I think dhamma marketing or propagation is very important and helps with one's own practice. Sites like this are an important resource, and there are some extremely talented individuals around who can interpret the dhamma in line with modern needs and sensibilities, without losing the essence of the teaching. For me, though, the most important form of marketing is the natural consequence of a life well-lived within the dhamma. Better than campaigns and strategies is the example one gives in everyday life.

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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by James Tan » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:17 pm

DNS wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:48 pm

In these modern times, probably the best strategy is focusing on meditation classes, retreats, various Dhamma talks and starting their interest that way. I have organized and attended many of these programs and I would say the vast majority attending do not consider themselves Buddhist and then after attending a program, some do initiate increased interest.
I do think many people are much more interested in enjoyment and don't want to attach to religion.
It takes a lot of effort and time , that's what stopping many approaching Buddhism .
I find that dhamma were easier understood by more educated people , whereas , less educated unable to grasp the core teaching of the Buddha. Of course another reason is learning dhamma without a teacher or guidance bear little fruit .
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:24 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:01 pm
individuals around who can interpret the dhamma in line with modern needs and sensibilities, without losing the essence of the teaching.
How about this?
Jeremy: Y'know sometimes people ask me y'know like "What's your religion and stuff?" And I'm like "y' know it's like RTS." Uh, and they're like, "What's that?" And I'm like, "Y'know it's kinda like, kinda like Buddhism."
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Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
Dhammatalks categorized by topic @ video.sirimangalo.org/
Ledi Sayadaw's Anapana Dipani (Samatha) @ ffmt.fr/articles/maitres/LediS/anapana-dipani.ledi-sayadaw.pdf
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by James Tan » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:34 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:01 pm
Yes, I think dhamma marketing or propagation is very important and helps with one's own practice. Sites like this are an important resource, and there are some extremely talented individuals around who can interpret the dhamma in line with modern needs and sensibilities, without losing the essence of the teaching. For me, though, the most important form of marketing is the natural consequence of a life well-lived within the dhamma. Better than campaigns and strategies is the example one gives in everyday life.
Internet wasn't available in many countries and parts of the world till last ten or twenty years I suppose .
I also think still not many know or aware of the existing of Online Buddhist Forum . Another thing is English might be a barrier for many people . Plus Computer , Smart phone or gadgets takes quite sometimes for one to learn how to use .

To live the teaching is most difficult and challenges always discourage one from following the path .

We need a Concise yet easy to grasp or understand dhamma courses or books or classes for beginner .
Last edited by James Tan on Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:41 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:24 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:01 pm
individuals around who can interpret the dhamma in line with modern needs and sensibilities, without losing the essence of the teaching.
How about this?
Yes, that guy is certainly Ajahn material. :smile:

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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:48 pm

James Tan wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:34 pm
To live the teaching is most difficult and challenges always stop one from following the path .
Agreed, but it is still the most important factor, I think. If we can't live the teaching then we look like hypocrites and nobody will be interested; and if it is impossible to live it, then there is no point in marketing it.
We need a Concise yet easy to grasp or understand dhamma courses or books or classes for beginner .
Done!!

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=148 :jumping:

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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:53 pm

DNS wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:48 pm


“Wander forth, O bhikkhus, for the welfare of the multitude, for the happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare, and happiness of devas and humans. Let not two go the same way. Teach, O bhikkhus, the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing.”
Samyutta Nikaya 4.453

It occurs to me though, that in the ancient world with wandering ascetics, there was a cultural value in asking them to teach, and a custom that the bhikkhus only teach when asked. Meaning, monks and Buddhists don't generally go around preaching uninvited. How do we balance those in the modern world? I think having exposure to the teachings on the internet, in-person groups, books, etc is sufficient. Having it available is the best method I would say. If people find the value in it that's great, but often trying to evangelize is more harmful than good.

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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by James Tan » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:59 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:48 pm
James Tan wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:34 pm
To live the teaching is most difficult and challenges always stop one from following the path .
Agreed, but it is still the most important factor, I think. If we can't live the teaching then we look like hypocrites and nobody will be interested; and if it is impossible to live it, then there is no point in marketing it.
We need a Concise yet easy to grasp or understand dhamma courses or books or classes for beginner .
Done!!

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=148 :jumping:
Would it be possible to have a 10 pages dhamma lessons for beginner starting from introductory of 3 Gems, Refuge and 37 factors etc etc to Liberation ?! A simplified concise map.


How long does it take to finish : "In the Buddha's Words" by Bhikkhu Bodhi ?
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:09 pm

James Tan wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:59 pm
Would it be possible to have a 10 pages dhamma lessons for beginner starting from introductory of 3 Gems, Refuge and 37 factors etc etc to Liberation ?! A simplified concise map.
Sure, there are several on the market already, and on-line. And lots of organisations run introductory courses with handouts and readings for beginners. I've taught on them myself.

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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by Bundokji » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:43 pm

I don't pretend to understand the Dhamma, but this is my take from my experience with Buddhism so far.

Like any other religion, some individuals are capable of understanding its deeper meanings better than others probably due to personality traits, natural intelligence, or maybe because they have been around in samsara longer (if you believe in literal rebirth).

While Buddhism is a peaceful religion, it can be more harmful than other religions in many different ways, something not often admitted by Buddhists.

Buddhism's focus on suffering makes it attractive to troubled people. While you can argue that all humanity is troubled, but to various degrees. Buddhism also challenges the common sense perspective of the world causing problems in the process in terms of relationship between the individual and society. I also know people who abandoned their families to seek enlightenment (because the Buddha did so). The Buddhist attitude towards desire in general and sexual relations in particular can certainly lead to problems between many couples. The practice of meditation in most cases results in the knowing faculty receiving more development that the service of the will requires, something most of us do not seem to be designed for!

I remember watching a short documentary about Ajahn Chah and his disciples, and to my own surprise, the video admitted how difficult the practice is at the beginning (not mentioning how long that beginning is) and that it is not uncommon for monks to try to kill themselves!

In this very forum, you would find many followers of a monk who did kill himself, and arguments on what level of enlightenment one is allowed to kill himself (as he would not be doing it out of desire/ignorance).

By trying to observe as an outsider this forum for instance, you would see people with different levels of mental developments, but even those who are brilliant, some of them are really strange. In Arthur Schopenhauer's writings about genius, he emphasized the link between genius and mental illness. The followers of a teaching that causes people to question their existence will have to be somehow queers or maybe even sick!

So, should Buddhism be marketed? not sure!
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by 2600htz » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:21 pm

Hello:

I think propagation of Buddhism was successful, like 10% of the world´s population is a buddhist.
What i think its missing is a)quality of the teachings being delivered (so it doesn´t become cultural buddhism in countries where its already big) and b) emancipation, distribution, countries like Thailand have more than 90% of the population, while countries like mine maybe 1%?, so finding a good meditation center in south america is almost impossible.

Regards.

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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:25 pm

I was thinking about some of the things you mention recently
Bundokji wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:43 pm
The Buddhist attitude towards desire in general and sexual relations in particular can certainly lead to problems between many couples. The practice of meditation in most cases results in the knowing faculty receiving more development that the service of the will requires, something most of us do not seem to be designed for!
Well sexual relations lead to many problems between couples in general. The Buddhism as life itself is comperhensive and there are many ways to approach teaching a person, without being prompt to teach renunciation i do not think it makes much sense to try and establish a couple in the perception of loathsomeness or celibacy.
Bundokji wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:43 pm
I remember watching a short documentary about Ajahn Chah and his disciples, and to my own surprise, the video admitted how difficult the practice is at the beginning (not mentioning how long that beginning is) and that it is not uncommon for monks to try to kill themselves!

In this very forum, you would find many followers of a monk who did kill himself, and arguments on what level of enlightenment one is allowed to kill himself (as he would not be doing it out of desire/ignorance).
You know suicide is like the lead cause of death in the west for males aged 18-30? The problem is of the human condition rather than a doctrine. I think you are GREATLY exaggerating the link to suicide and i doubt you would be able to demonstrate that Buddhist meditators are at higher risk of suicide.

Sure one could meditate on loathsomeness of the body and develop an aversion leading to suicide although i personally have not seen it go that far. However i do know people who have commited suicides for worldly reasons.

It also makes no sense to establish someone in the perception of loathsomeness without balancing it. In general i would not be comfortable teaching briefly choosing between safety and effectiveness.

As for Ven. NV's suicide i am quite certain he would rather not have the stomach issues. Also he is not the only person with that interpretation of the doctrine, there are people who come to similar conclusions without knowing anything about him and being unfamiliar with his work and not doing the suicide (this i assume for i simply can't be arsed reading much more than the gist of his work personally but i saw no wrong in it). So there is no need to make him out to be some kind of a cult-leader.
Last edited by rightviewftw on Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:54 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
Dhammatalks categorized by topic @ video.sirimangalo.org/
Ledi Sayadaw's Anapana Dipani (Samatha) @ ffmt.fr/articles/maitres/LediS/anapana-dipani.ledi-sayadaw.pdf
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:30 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:43 pm
Buddhism's focus on suffering makes it attractive to troubled people. While you can argue that all humanity is troubled, but to various degrees. Buddhism also challenges the common sense perspective of the world causing problems in the process in terms of relationship between the individual and society. I also know people who abandoned their families to seek enlightenment (because the Buddha did so). The Buddhist attitude towards desire in general and sexual relations in particular can certainly lead to problems between many couples.
Point taken, but that's far from being unique to Buddhism. I'm married to a Christian priest, and she's a magnet for disturbed and odd people (as well as me, that is... :jumping: ). Christianity also challenges the common sense perspective of the world (dead Galilean carpenters who come back to life?) and I suspect that "common sense" is merely what we are used to. And people abandon their families to seek God. And the Christian attitude to sex and sin has not always manifested itself in entirely wholesome ways in the West...

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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by Bundokji » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:57 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:25 pm
Well sexual relations lead to many problems between couples in general. The Buddhism as life itself is comperhensive and there are many ways to approach teaching a person, without being prompt to teach renunciation i do not think it makes much sense to try and establish a couple in the perception of loathsomeness or celibacy.
Sexual relations between couples are a small part of the story. In relationships in general, there are expectations of keeping company of each other as a duty towards your partner. If one of the couple becomes a Buddhist, not only sex might become less interesting, but many things they used to enjoy doing together like watching TV, or idle talking ...etc. Also the Dhammic perspective can come across sometimes as negative or insensitive at times. For example, misery loves company, and if your partner is sick for example, they expect more than simple caring. They expect you to worry, and if you don't, you come across as cold or insensitive.

The above are mere simple examples. I can spend time explaining how my Buddhist practice, in many ways made my life difficult, at work and with my family, but i think you get the idea.

You know suicide is like the lead cause of death in the west for males aged 18-30? The problem is of the human condition rather than a doctrine. I think you are GREATLY exaggerating the link to suicide and i doubt you would be able to demonstrate that Buddhist meditators are at higher risk of suicide.

Sure one could meditate on loathsomeness of the body and develope aversion leading to suicide although i personally have not seen it go that far. However i do know people who have commited suicides for worldly reasons.

It also makes no sense to establish someone in the perception of loathsomeness without balancing it. In general i would not be comfortable teaching briefly choosing between safety and effectiveness.

As for Ven. NV's suicide i am quite certain he would rather not have the stomach issues. Also he is not the only person with that interpretation of the doctrine, there are people who come to similar conclusions without knowing anything about him and being unfamiliar with his work and not doing the suicide. So there is no need to make him out to be some kind of a cult-leader.
Again, suicide is one aspect of the story, and i don't claim that suicide among Buddhist practitioners are higher than the rest of the population, but i do feel that Buddhists can behave in ways that might seem reckless to outsiders. For example, i followed your input on the personal experience forum, and i, with all my biases as a Buddhist, read it with much admiration, but for the vast majority of humans, staying in a tent in cold weather meditating in the middle of no where and sharing the experience of how difficult it is, is indeed strange (to put it politely), and then, you read another member of the forum encouraging you by describing an encounter with a bear who left a fruity dumb outside his tent and the thoughts arose in his mind of taking the knife and stab the bear in the neck to defend himself.

It can be admitted that the above, for the vast majority of humans, is not very sane.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:13 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:57 pm
Sexual relations between couples are a small part of the story. In relationships in general, there are expectations of keeping company of each other as a duty towards your partner. If one of the couple becomes a Buddhist, not only sex might become less interesting, but many things they used to enjoy doing together like watching TV, or idle talking ...etc. Also the Dhammic perspective can come across sometimes as negative or insensitive at times. For example, misery loves company, and if your partner is sick for example, they expect more than simple caring. They expect you to worry, and if you don't, you come across as cold or insensitive.

The above are mere simple examples. I can spend time explaining how my Buddhist practice, in many ways made my life difficult, at work and with my family, but i think you get the idea.
I would say that people grow apart often, don't blame Buddhism. My parents split because my dad got into alcoholism and my mom got into Scientology, that's how it goes:)
Bundokji wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:57 pm
Again, suicide is one aspect of the story, and i don't claim that suicide among Buddhist practitioners are higher than the rest of the population, but i do feel that Buddhists can behave in ways that might seem reckless to outsiders. For example, i followed your input on the personal experience forum, and i, with all my biases as a Buddhist, read it with much admiration, but for the vast majority of humans, staying in a tent in cold weather meditating in the middle of no where and sharing the experience of how difficult it is, is indeed strange (to put it politely), and then, you read another member of the forum encouraging you by describing an encounter with a bear who left a fruity dumb outside his tent and the thoughts arose in his mind of taking the knife and stab the bear in the neck to defend himself.

It can be admitted that the above, for the vast majority of humans, is not very sane.
I think it was rather stupid and badly planned not insane really. However i had no prior experience camping and just wanted to meditate. At no time was i in serious danger other than being cold.

What regards suicide i don't think i am allowed to talk about it on the forum nor do i think i could express exactly how i look at it. It is certainly kind of f*** up as in "weird/non-standard" because i kind of do understand how the daughter of Anathapindika could choose to stop eating because she could not find a husband.

I also swear that i have not been depressed in several years nor have had any desire kill myself.
Last edited by rightviewftw on Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.
How to Destroy any addiction
How to Meditate: Satipatthana Mahasi
Медитация Сатипаттхана Випассана
How To Develop Factors of Enlightenment & Perceptions
Ven. Kutukurunde Nanananda's (Developing Metta)
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
Dhammatalks categorized by topic @ video.sirimangalo.org/
Ledi Sayadaw's Anapana Dipani (Samatha) @ ffmt.fr/articles/maitres/LediS/anapana-dipani.ledi-sayadaw.pdf
Parallel Dhammapada @ myweb.ncku.edu.tw/~lsn46/tipitaka/sutta/khuddaka/dhammapada/dhp-contrast-reading/dhp-contrast-reading-en/

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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by Bundokji » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:16 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:30 pm
Point taken, but that's far from being unique to Buddhism. I'm married to a Christian priest, and she's a magnet for disturbed and odd people (as well as me, that is... :jumping: ). Christianity also challenges the common sense perspective of the world (dead Galilean carpenters who come back to life?) and I suspect that "common sense" is merely what we are used to. And people abandon their families to seek God. And the Christian attitude to sex and sin has not always manifested itself in entirely wholesome ways in the West...
Me and you came from different background. I live in a Muslim country, and this kind of behavior is not understood except among Sufists.

You might have came across the story of Imam Ghazali who was a very famous scholar teaching Sharia law in Baghdad during the Abbasid era, then he had what Buddhist describe as samvega and his tongue got paralyzed and he could not speak, so he left his family in the midst of the night in search for God, and after five years, he re-appeared as a sufi (with psychic powers) and wrote a book "the incoherence of philosophers" which many historians believe that this book is largely responsible for the backwardness of the Muslim and Arab world since that time. In his version of enlightenment, he did not only know God, but that Muhammad is his messenger beyond doubt. He also knew, through his mystical abilities, the hidden wisdom behind the number of Rakaat in each Salat (prayer). If you read his books, he is intelligent, but we as Buddhists believe that he is deluded.

I am mentioning this story to raise a question: when you go in search of something, how likely is it that you would find it?

The Sufi Muslim finds the Muslim God, and Christian mystics find Jesus and Buddhists find the Buddha enlightenment. To what extent each is real or mind made, i cannot be certain.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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