Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

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

Post by DNS » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:19 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:12 pm
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.
No argument from me there. As I said, there is a lot that Westerners can learn from Asians, especially in that regard; community, dana, generosity, etc. Some American-born monks would literally starve if it were not for the generous Asian-American Buddhists, here in the U.S. We're generalizing of course, but I see (European ancestry) Americans come to the temple and give a few dollars here and there or they'll pay for retreat, but the day-to-day operations, lunch dana, etc is provided by the Asian-American immigrants and their subsequent off-spring.

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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:20 pm

I mean -- Ya'll do realize that from the perspective of a typical Asian Buddhist, a forum like this is horribly disrespectful of the Triple Gem, right?

In their eyes, we Westerners are probably worse than militant anti-Buddhist Islamic terorrists. Of course, it's not like the Asians will speak directly on these matters ...
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by DNS » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:27 pm

binocular wrote:
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.
My experience has been different; I see plenty of interaction between white, black Americans and Asians in the temple and elsewhere, but then again I live in a very diverse city where it is "majority minority" (all the minority groups added together are over 50% of the population).

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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:38 pm

DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:27 pm
binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:12 pm
DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:24 pm
Rudyard Kipling wrote,



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.
My experience has been different; I see plenty of interaction between white, black Americans and Asians in the temple and elsewhere, but then again I live in a very diverse city where it is "majority minority" (all the minority groups added together are over 50% of the population).
My experience is the same. Here it is more monocultural, but the Thai (and occasionally Sri Lankan) groups mix, discuss and hang out with the indigenous British. They even inter-marry! In Cambridge, where I lived up until a year ago, the University provides a very rich and incredibly diverse experience. I often took part in group activities where there were no more than two or three people sharing the same ethnic background. I learnt a huge amount.

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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:38 pm

DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:27 pm
My experience has been different; I see plenty of interaction between white, black Americans and Asians in the temple and elsewhere, but then again I live in a very diverse city where it is "majority minority" (all the minority groups added together are over 50% of the population).
I'm sure they interact, and talk a lot.
But what are those conversations really like? Are they anything more than a talking at and a talking past eachother?
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 7:39 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:38 pm
I learnt a huge amount.
Could you list three most important things you've learnt in those exchanges?
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by DNS » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:43 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:38 pm
DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:27 pm
My experience has been different; I see plenty of interaction between white, black Americans and Asians in the temple and elsewhere, but then again I live in a very diverse city where it is "majority minority" (all the minority groups added together are over 50% of the population).
I'm sure they interact, and talk a lot.
But what are those conversations really like? Are they anything more than a talking at and a talking past each other?
Yes, much more that talking past; quite normal conversations and interaction.

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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by Bundokji » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:47 pm

I am trying to understand this whole discussion. Could anyone please help me understand what does the word "westerners" mean in the context of this thread?
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: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:49 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:47 pm
I am trying to understand this whole discussion. Could anyone please help me understand what does the word "westerners" mean in the context of this thread?
White people.

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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:51 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:47 pm
I am trying to understand this whole discussion. Could anyone please help me understand what does the word "westerners" mean in the context of this thread?
People who were not born and raised in traditionally Buddhist countries; peple who were born and raised in Europe, in the Americas, Africa, Australia, and the Near East, and who took an interest in Buddhism usually as young adults or later.
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 Sam Vara » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:53 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:39 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:38 pm
I learnt a huge amount.
Could you list three most important things you've learnt in those exchanges?
1) A technique of Samatha meditation

2) A nifty 3-minute mindfulness exercise, courtesy of Rewata Thero

3) How to pronounce kiṇāti like a shopaholic Sri Lankan post-doc researcher.

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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by Bundokji » Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:07 pm

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:49 pm
White people.
binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:51 pm
People who were not born and raised in traditionally Buddhist countries; peple who were born and raised in Europe, in the Americas, Africa, Australia, and the Near East, and who took an interest in Buddhism usually as young adults or later.
Thanks to you both :anjali:

But i still fail to understand why any of the above is considered a hindrance to understand Buddhism. I know that the OP used the word "catch" but not sure what that means!

It also seems that the OP considers some countries to represent the spirit of Buddhism. He mentioned Ajahn Chah so i assume Thailand, and also Sri Lanka was also mentioned, but what is the criteria here? Is it because those countries are identified/known as Buddhist countries? or is there another reason?
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: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:33 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:07 pm
But i still fail to understand why any of the above is considered a hindrance to understand Buddhism.
To understand that, I think one needs to understand that 1. Asian Buddhist apologetics is specific, and 2. the majority of Buddhist apologetics (East or West) is Asian.

Namely, Asian Buddhist apologetics is designed by and for people who are born and raised into traditionally Buddhist countries/cultures. That is, for people who have come to take for granted, from early childhood on, that 1. they know what the Buddha taught, and 2. that those teachings are true.

If we were a bit unkind, we could say that Asian Buddhist apologetics is an example of preaching to the choir.

As such, Asian Buddhist apologetics is alien to Westerners who don't already have the certainties that Asians do. And from the Asian perspective, that is a hindrance.

Currently, nobody seems to be able to envision an effective Buddhist apologetics that could meaningfully be applied by people who were not born and raised into traditionally Buddhist countries/cultures.

I know that the OP used the word "catch" but not sure what that means!
It seems he meant "catch up" or "keep up".
It also seems that the OP considers some countries to represent the spirit of Buddhism. He mentioned Ajahn Chah so i assume Thailand, and also Sri Lanka was also mentioned, but what is the criteria here? Is it because those countries are identified/known as Buddhist countries? or is there another reason?
Asians and Westerners are from categorically different backgrounds.

It seems some Asians like to blame Western notions like feminism, equality, etc. for why Westerners can't keep up with Buddhism. But they fail to acknowledge the radical difference that is made by being born and raised into a traditionally Buddhist country/culture.
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 8:50 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:53 pm
1) A technique of Samatha meditation
2) A nifty 3-minute mindfulness exercise, courtesy of Rewata Thero
3) How to pronounce kiṇāti like a shopaholic Sri Lankan post-doc researcher.
How was a multicultural setting relevant to learning these things, other than accidentally?
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 Sam Vara » Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:52 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:33 pm
one needs to understand that 1. Asian Buddhist apologetics is specific, and 2. the majority of Buddhist apologetics (East or West) is Asian.

Namely, Asian Buddhist apologetics is designed by and for people who are born and raised into traditionally Buddhist countries/cultures. That is, for people who have come to take for granted, from early childhood on, that 1. they know what the Buddha taught, and 2. that those teachings are true.

If we were a bit unkind, we could say that Asian Buddhist apologetics is an example of preaching to the choir.

As such, Asian Buddhist apologetics is alien to Westerners who don't already have the certainties that Asians do. And from the Asian perspective, that is a hindrance.

Currently, nobody seems to be able to envision an effective Buddhist apologetics that could meaningfully be applied by people who were not born and raised into traditionally Buddhist countries/cultures.
Could you provide some examples of what you mean by "Buddhist apologetics"? Wikipedia gives the example of the Milindapanha, which I suppose makes sense and is vaguely analogous to the Christian apologetics of the Church Fathers. This is "Asian" in that it originated there, but is perfectly accessible to Westerners. What other Asian apologetics do you have in mind? And what aspect of them is "alien"?

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