Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
santa100
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by santa100 » Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:31 pm

Liberation doesn't discriminate skin color, nor does ignorance.

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DNS
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by DNS » Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:37 pm

"To survive, Buddhism had to go to the West and then brought back to the East."

I don't know who the originator of this famous quote is, but I've heard it a few times. Many convert-Buddhists came from Judeao-Christian backgrounds and grew weary of all the rites, rituals, ceremonies of Abrahamic religions, so they were primed well for removing the sīlabbata-parāmāso hindrance. They were ready to examine and practice the Dhamma in its pure state and were happy to leave behind their Judeao-Christian roots.

And no, I'm not saying it's the white the man who comes to the rescue. There are plenty of excellent masters from the East and the West could learn much from their community practices, dana, compassion, etc.

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samseva
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by samseva » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:11 pm

DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:37 pm
"To survive, Buddhism had to go to the West and then brought back to the East."

[...]
I'm sorry, I'm a bit confused. Are you quoting this or refuting it?

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DNS
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by DNS » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:14 pm

samseva wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:11 pm
DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:37 pm
"To survive, Buddhism had to go to the West and then brought back to the East."

[...]
I'm sorry, I'm a bit confused. Are you quoting this or refuting it?
Quoting it. Not refuting; saying it is true or at least mostly true.

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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by DNS » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:24 pm

Rudyard Kipling wrote,
Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
But he didn't live long enough to see the internet. Now East does mix with West and vice versa and it is this mixing that can have great potential for Dhamma propagation and the Dhamma in general.

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StormBorn
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by StormBorn » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:25 pm

DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:37 pm
"To survive, Buddhism had to go to the West and then brought back to the East."

I don't know who the originator of this famous quote is, but I've heard it a few times. Many convert-Buddhists came from Judeao-Christian backgrounds and grew weary of all the rites, rituals, ceremonies of Abrahamic religions, so they were primed well for removing the sīlabbata-parāmāso hindrance. They were ready to examine and practice the Dhamma in its pure state and were happy to leave behind their Judeao-Christian roots.
Is it correct to say, you are referring to good old early days since when come to rites and rituals, there's no difference in East or West at present.
DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:37 pm
And no, I'm not saying it's the white the man who comes to the rescue. There are plenty of excellent masters from the East and the West could learn much from their community practices, dana, compassion, etc.
Dana is beautiful when it's actually a nekkhamma (letting-go), but nowadays it's mostly a merry making ritual or a rite to invoke some deity or favours. :stirthepot:
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

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samseva
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by samseva » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:29 pm

DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:14 pm
samseva wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:11 pm
DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:37 pm
"To survive, Buddhism had to go to the West and then brought back to the East."

[...]
I'm sorry, I'm a bit confused. Are you quoting this or refuting it?
Quoting it. Not refuting; saying it is true or at least mostly true.
I don't know where to start about how wrong this is.

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DNS
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by DNS » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:33 pm

StormBorn wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:25 pm
Is it correct to say, you are referring to good old early days since when come to rites and rituals, there's no difference in East or West at present.
I don't know where you live, but over here in the Western states of the U.S., there seems to be less rites, rituals, especially at the centers that have many convert-Buddhists attending. I was at a Sri Lankan temple once which had the typical rites and ceremonies, blessings with water, string, etc. and one of the Sri Lankan-Americans asked me, "do you like all the rituals and ceremonies?" I answered that it doesn't bother me but like the meditation programs most. He answered that he doesn't like the ceremonies at all and wished that they just focused on meditation and Dhamma talks.

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samseva
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by samseva » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:44 pm

DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:37 pm
"To survive, Buddhism had to go to the West and then brought back to the East."
Buddhism has existed for thousands of years in countries such as Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka. There are hundreds of crucial Pāḷi works, such as grammars and dictionaries, as well universities dedicated to the study Buddhism and most importantly of Pāḷi. Complex knowledge of Pāḷi has been passed down from one Pāḷi scholar to the next generations of scholars. Even more important, the original Pāḷi text of the Tipiṭaka were preserved in the East.

"To survive, Buddhism had to go to the West and then brought back to the East"? Please.

In the West, Buddhism, let alone Theravāda rather than Mahānāya or Tibetan sects, has been here for less than around two centuries, and in small pocketfuls scattered across continents. Most Westerners (by the way, I am one myself) incessantly focus on the aspect of rites and rituals. Has it ever occurred to such people that, in the same way that 99% of the population in Western countries aren't Buddhist, that in countries where Buddhism is common, a large portion of the population practice rites and rituals? In the same way that there are pocketfuls of Buddhists in a Western county, there are probably many pocketfuls of highly learned individuals who understand the Buddha's teaching and the Pāḷi texts much better than anyone in the West?

People on a Western Buddhist forums and websites are judging other countries of which they haven't been to, their 2000 years of litterature of which they cannot even read a single word, and attributing the survival of Buddhism to "removing" rites and rituals of its practice, therefore allowing it survival?

Please.
Last edited by samseva on Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by DNS » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:51 pm

As I mentioned in my previous posts (see above) both East and West can compliment each other, no judging. Yes, the East brought us Buddhism and centuries of great masters and literature.

However, there was a decline in Buddhism that started around the 11th century CE (AD) and went up until the late 1700s to early 1800s. The Maha Bodhi Temple, for example was left in shambles and was almost entirely consumed by the forest up until Cunningham found it and organized its restoration along with Dharmapala and Maha Bodhi Society. This decline is a historical fact. It did not disappear, fortunately, but there was a serious decline and now we are in a renewal phase that started around the early 1800s.

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samseva
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by samseva » Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:01 pm

DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:51 pm
As I mentioned in my previous posts (see above) both East and West can compliment each other, no judging. Yes, the East brought us Buddhism and centuries of great masters and literature.

However, there was a decline in Buddhism that started around the 11th century CE (AD) and went up until the late 1700s to early 1800s. The Maha Bodhi Temple, for example was left in shambles and was almost entirely consumed by the forest up until Cunningham found it and organized its restoration along with Dharmapala and Maha Bodhi Society. This decline is a historical fact. It did not disappear, fortunately, but there was a serious decline and now we are in a renewal phase that started around the early 1800s.
So one should conclude that the survival of Buddhism accross multiple contintents is due to the West? It's unsubstantiated claim that has no basis in reality. Just saying it sounds ridiculous and brings up old sentiments of colonialism.

And how are the teachings and The Mahā Bodhi temple one in the same? How does a few Westerners on pilgrimage (and accompanied by Easterners) represent the West as a whole?

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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by DNS » Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:06 pm

samseva wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:01 pm
And how are the teachings and The Mahā Bodhi temple one in the same? How does a few Westerners on pilgrimage (and accompanied by Easterners) represent the West as a whole?
Buddhism was in decline, a historical fact. There were virtually no pilgrimages going on during that decline era (very few anyway as evidenced by the condition of the MBT complex). No, a few Westerners don't represent the West as a whole just as a few Asians don't represent the East as a whole. As I said, it is the mixing of the cultures that led to great propagation and improvements for the Dhamma in general.

Col. Olcott, Blavatsky, Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw, Thomas Rhys Davids, Caroline Rhys Davids, I.B. Horner, Nyanatiloka (one of several early German scholar-monks), Sayagyi U Ba Khin, S.N. Goenka, Dharmapala, etc all helped with the revival and worked with both Westerners and Asians.

rightviewftw
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by rightviewftw » Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:28 pm

The real question is how do we prevent Buddhism from escaping once we catch it :thinking:
"To survive, Buddhism had to go to the West and then brought back to the East."
Perhaps we should treat it better so it doesnt feel like escaping in order to survive

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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:59 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:28 pm
The real question is how do we prevent Buddhism from escaping once we catch it
The OP's seemed to have meant something like "Will Westerners ever catch up with Buddhism?"
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:12 pm

DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:24 pm
Rudyard Kipling wrote,
Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
But he didn't live long enough to see the internet. Now East does mix with West and vice versa and it is this mixing that can have great potential for Dhamma propagation and the Dhamma in general.
It's not clear that this is the case, other than nominally. The East and West are meeting on the internet, indeed, but this is virtually, and only virtually. Otherwise, there's no meeting, no communication, just a talking at, and a talking past.

To be fair, Asians do have something like the copyright to Buddhism, and maybe even the copyright on the Dhamma: They are the ones who have preserved it for centuries; they are the ones who have made it possible. They are the ones who have fed the monks. They are the ones who have fed the Western monks who went to Asia to learn Buddhism.
Buddhist Asian supremacism is not unfounded.

DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:37 pm
Many convert-Buddhists came from Judeao-Christian backgrounds and grew weary of all the rites, rituals, ceremonies of Abrahamic religions, so they were primed well for removing the sīlabbata-parāmāso hindrance. They were ready to examine and practice the Dhamma in its pure state and were happy to leave behind their Judeao-Christian roots.
Rites and rituals often get underestimated. Epistemically, they appear to be the foundation for faith.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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