Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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rightviewftw
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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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Sam Vara
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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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Bundokji
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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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rightviewftw
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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.

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Bundokji
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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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Sam Vara
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:51 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:16 pm
Me and you came from different background. I live in a Muslim country, and this kind of behavior is not understood except among Sufists.
Indeed. It's all relative, isn't it? Buddhism can look distinctly odd and counter-cultural in countries where people don't know about it. But so can any religion. For someone who is not used to Islam, Muslim beliefs and practices can also appear odd and not always conducive to all types of human flourishing.

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rightviewftw
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:54 pm

I got inspired quite a lot by the Goenka extraordinaire and the criticism of Goenka threads. I think it would be great if there was a group that adopted the adjusted model.

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mikenz66
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:22 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:54 pm
I got inspired quite a lot by the Goenka extraordinaire ...
What's a "Goenka extraordinaire"?

:heart:
Mike

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Bundokji
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by Bundokji » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:25 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:51 pm
Indeed. It's all relative, isn't it? Buddhism can look distinctly odd and counter-cultural in countries where people don't know about it. But so can any religion. For someone who is not used to Islam, Muslim beliefs and practices can also appear odd and not always conducive to all types of human flourishing.
I totally agree. My input in this thread is discussing Buddhism, but can be extended to all other religions. If i remember correctly, Freud looked upon religious beliefs as fantasy conducive to the development of psychosis. I don't take what he says as authority, but from my personal observations of myself and others, i don't take what he said lightly. At the end of the day, enlightenment for the vast majority of us is a fantasy, and fantasies can be dangerous, something i try to remind myself of from time to time.
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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rightviewftw
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:44 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:22 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:54 pm
I got inspired quite a lot by the Goenka extraordinaire ...
What's a "Goenka extraordinaire"?

:heart:
Mike
SN Goenka - Theravada Dhammaduta extraordinaire
i looked briefly for the criticism thread but could not find it, it had some nice suggested adjustments

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rightviewftw
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:59 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:25 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:51 pm
Indeed. It's all relative, isn't it? Buddhism can look distinctly odd and counter-cultural in countries where people don't know about it. But so can any religion. For someone who is not used to Islam, Muslim beliefs and practices can also appear odd and not always conducive to all types of human flourishing.
I totally agree. My input in this thread is discussing Buddhism, but can be extended to all other religions. If i remember correctly, Freud looked upon religious beliefs as fantasy conducive to the development of psychosis. I don't take what he says as authority, but from my personal observations of myself and others, i don't take what he said lightly. At the end of the day, enlightenment for the vast majority of us is a fantasy, and fantasies can be dangerous, something i try to remind myself of from time to time.
I will just comment saying that i think it is crucial to find out exactly what kind of enlightenment one is looking for, for me i wanted to figure out how to rewire what they call OCD and addiction. I think looking for something undefined is quite dangerous actually. Also i am sorry my posts made you think bad of Buddhism i can assure you i was actually seriously considering suicide before i learned the Dhamma, the only reason i did not hero was probably that i was not sure about the rebirth thing. Existential depression, addiction, OCD, stress and heartbroke was why i wanted to sign out, i just decided to figure out the rebirth thing to make sure before i did anything stupid:)

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Bundokji
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by Bundokji » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:19 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:59 pm
I will just comment saying that i think it is crucial to find out exactly what kind of enlightenment one is looking for, for me i wanted to figure out how to rewire what they call OCD and addiction. I think looking for something undefined is quite dangerous actually. Also i am sorry my posts made you think bad of Buddhism i can assure you i was actually seriously considering suicide before i learned the Dhamma, the only reason i did not hero was probably that i was not sure about the rebirth thing. Existential depression, addiction, OCD, stress and heartbroke was why i wanted to sign out, i just decided to figure out the rebirth thing to make sure before i did anything stupid:)
I totally agree with you, and i can relate to what you are saying because i experienced existential crisis which i am not even sure if it will ever end. Your posts did not make me think bad of Buddhism, but quite the opposite.

In the world we live in, admitting our limitations and questioning our sanity is not the norm, and very few people are capable of doing it. The other day i sent an email to my managers about an issue related to work in which i stated that i lack certainty to be promotive of a project we work on, then i was lectured that i should show more confidence (when in fact, my statement was an attempt to be honest and has nothing to do with confidence)

I was raised in a Muslim country which led me to become a non believer at a young age. I left the country and engaged in hedonism for a long period of time (which i am still not completely free from). With the lack of meaning, i acted carelessly (and i still do).

The Dhamma of the lord Buddha improved my relationship with my family. I also began to question my ways, that my carelessness does not solve the problem of the lack of meaning. At least, even when i continue to act in a stupid way, i stopped blaming the wold for my state of being, which i consider a huge improvement.

The road for wisdom is difficult, and as the lord Buddha said: A fool who knows his foolishness is wise at least to that extent. A fool who thinks himself wise is a fool indeed.

Peace :anjali:
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 Modus.Ponens » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:55 pm

We need some catchy slogans, like

"It's the best religion in the world. Just sit."

"Come for the jhana, stay for nibbana."
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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mikenz66
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:45 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:44 pm
mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:22 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:54 pm
I got inspired quite a lot by the Goenka extraordinaire ...
What's a "Goenka extraordinaire"?

:heart:
Mike
SN Goenka - Theravada Dhammaduta extraordinaire
i looked briefly for the criticism thread but could not find it, it had some nice suggested adjustments
Oh, OK...

Here's the thread you are thinking of:
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28041&p=400256

:heart:
Mike

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mikenz66
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Re: Does Buddhism needs marketing ?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:08 pm

James Tan wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:23 pm
Perhaps, "promoting strategy" to make it easier to understand and applying in daily life ?
Of course, this depends on what you mean. I know a lot of Thai and Chinese people who apply it in their daily life in various ways, and most of those people are definitely not "elite".

For the sake of argument ( :tongue: ) I might say that one of the problems with propagating Dhamma is that most of the would-be promoters and would-be recipients are focussed on quite advanced ideas (noble truths, meditation etc), rather than the more basic issues such as how to build a community of like-minded people, how to build their basic practice of dana and sila, and so on.

This is, of ccourse, the same problem that the secular mindfulness movement suffers from: Dhamma snippets and techniques marketed as a quick-fix tool.

Continuing my sake-of-argument approach, I'd say that the most successful proponents of Buddhism in my city is Fo Guang Shan. They run community help programmes (particualrly notably during emergencies), they have excellent relations with the local government, police, and community (the Mayor, local members of parliament, and the local police chief are happy to turn up on festival occasions). They have demonstrated by their actions that they are a relevant and positive part of the community. The police and government people who turn up know almost no details about Buddhism, but they have certainly got the message that it is a valuable spiritual path. I suspect that that will have a very positive long-term impact.

"My" Thai monastery does get people in for festivals, but really is really not particularly successful advertising Dhamma.

The Abbot of our local Sri Lankan monastery has sometimes (privately) expressed his dismay that the Sri Lankan and Thai community is very enthusiastic about generating funding for building projects at their monasteries, but has almost zero community engagement.

:heart:
Mike

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