An American Buddhist Tradition

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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tiltbillings
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by tiltbillings »

d.sullivan wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The teachers a meditation centers such as IMS are not "self proclaimed," and many of them continue to work with older recognized teachers such as U Pandita.
My thoughts as well. In fact, if one reads the writings of some of those teachers, one will find that they were explicitly asked by their Asian teachers to begin teaching. There is nothing "self-proclaimed" about having a teacher request that you start teaching.
And as I understand it, there is nothing "self-proclaimed" about the instructors at the Goenka centers.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
farmer
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by farmer »

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ached.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As the essay linked above points out, the economic model that supports dhamma teachers will inevitably have a subtle effect on the teachings they give. A teacher or a center with a mortgage to pay may teach a dhamma that "sells" rather than one that fully reflects the demanding, unpopular aspects of the Buddha's message: things like renunciation, discipline, and seclusion. Although the monastic model may seem anachronistic and out of place in the west, the vinaya plays a vital role in keeping the dhamma pure by insulating monastic teachers from the market.
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AyyaSobhana
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by AyyaSobhana »

Here is another attempt to support diversity in Buddhist Centers.

http://www.shambhala.org/diversity/resources.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I have not been so impressed by the Buddhist centers that start off proclaiming their separation from Asian precedents. The few examples I know of seem quite reactionary. A better model is the center that is well rooted in a particular form and tradition, but has the sensitivity, flexibility, and self awareness to make cultural adaptations.
Jack
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by Jack »

I think an American Buddhism has been emerging naturally. From my experience most ethnic Buddhist and American Buddhist groups meet separately and have different interests. If a center has a meditation retreat, 100% of the participants will be Am. Buddhists. If the center has an event around a ceremony, 90% of the participants will be ethnic Buddhists. Again, that is my experience.

Another factor in play is the quality of the local sangha leader. Just being a lineage monk doesn't convey wisdom or teaching ability. There are many leaders from the laity who are quite qualified. From my experience, many monks neither meditate or know much about the suttas. And, some who do aren't good teachers. This isn't meant to desparage the many fine monks out there.

jack

PS. I feel awkward using the terms Ethnic and American Buddhists. By ethnic Buddhists, I mean someone who is usually foreign born into a Buddhist culture. I mean no disrespect.
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Viscid
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by Viscid »

Recommended Reading:
Image

It's Joseph Goldstein's vision of how Buddhism [may/should] look in the West.

I'd rather see a completely secular monastic order that strives to develop the deep concentration required to journey contemplative depths, and encourage self-transformation towards an ideal spirital state.

Let people come to their own conclusions through practice and educated insight.

And English chanting would sound corny as hell.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Goofaholix
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by Goofaholix »

It's already been tried with the FWBO, and I find the results pretty uninspiring (Though it's not specifically American but then why would you want to limit it one country anyway).

In the West I think we have the freedom to look at the tradition objectively and seperate cultural baggage from the essential living tradition, then centres have the option of keeping or ditching some or all of the cultural baggage as they please. It's already happening and it's already working I think.

Wheras establishing an official tradition would be all about confortmity and institutionlisation and adding new cultural baggage, where did that ever enhance a religion.

So are we wanting to add American cultural baggage in it's place? No thank you, I don't want fries with that and you can't tell me to have a nice day as I'll have whatever kind of day I please.
“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
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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by Khalil Bodhi »

:goodpost: ...but do you seriously want us to believe you don't want to have a nice day? :tongue:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Goofaholix
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by Goofaholix »

Khalil Bodhi wrote::goodpost: ...but do you seriously want us to believe you don't want to have a nice day? :tongue:
Yes, better to suffer and learn from it than to blindly follow fast food philosophy.
“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
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Kim OHara
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by Kim OHara »

Goofaholix wrote: Wheras establishing an official tradition would be all about confortmity and institutionlisation ...
One of the nice organisational, structural, aspects of Buddhism (IMO) is precisely that it is not centralised the way (e.g.) Catholicism is. We manage very well, thanks very much, without too many rules and regulations and authoritarian hierarchies. Admittedly, there is a downside: individual groups going off and doing their own thing can sometimes get things seriously wrong. But there is enough guidance from tradition to keep most groups pretty well on track, so it's a small price to pay.
:namaste:
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Jack
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by Jack »

I am not clear about those who want to adhere to a certain eastern Buddhist tradition and denigrate Western Buddhism. Didn't each of those eastern Buddhist traditions develop their own traditions, new cultural trappings, different ceremonies? Buddhism of Tibet, China, Sri Lanka and so on, all are different on the surface. Is Western Buddhism the only one that has to adopt from another culture?
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Goofaholix
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by Goofaholix »

Jack wrote:I am not clear about those who want to adhere to a certain eastern Buddhist tradition and denigrate Western Buddhism. Didn't each of those eastern Buddhist traditions develop their own traditions, new cultural trappings, different ceremonies? Buddhism of Tibet, China, Sri Lanka and so on, all are different on the surface. Is Western Buddhism the only one that has to adopt from another culture?
The eastern traditions developed hundreds or thousands of years ago, it was a different world then and I think most people at the time would have had little or no knowledge about cultures outside of their borders, Buddhism would have had to adapt to their limited view of the world to gain acceptance.

Nowadays people have much more knowledge about different cultures, and of science, so we don't have to be just locked into our own culture. Buddhism doesn't have to adapt so much to a new culture to gain acceptance, people can distinguish between Buddhism and the cultural trappings that surround it. I think now we have the opportunity for a more culture neutral Buddhism.
“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
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DNS
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by DNS »

Goofaholix wrote:
I think now we have the opportunity for a more culture neutral Buddhism.
Yes, I think so and hope so. We don't need cultural trappings from East or West, just the Dhamma.

The third hindrance is 'Attachment to rites, rituals, and ceremonies' and all culture is steeped in rites, rituals, and ceremonies, so perhaps the less culture infused with the Dhamma, the more closer the practice is to the Buddha-Dhamma.
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Hanzze
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by Hanzze »

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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tiltbillings
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by tiltbillings »

Hanzze wrote:Dear friends,

do you really think that to mark ones Nation in "Buddhism" is a good step according to the Buddha Dhamma and its motivation? Didn't the west had conquered enough with its ignorance and believe to understand?
If so, it would do good to call it USA tradition. But well one should look into the future.

Ayu vanno sokha balam

_/\_
You are really missing the point here.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Viscid
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Re: An American Buddhist Tradition

Post by Viscid »

Is it even possible to create a tradition that is free from the culture in which it is established?

Would denying any influence of culture create an institution that is alien to those that express that culture?

Buddhism has survived by adapting itself from culture to culture, offering itself in varieties which the people in its proximity demand. Given time, I believe Western Buddhism will adapt, survive and evolve in such a way to represent the Dhamma while incorporating the beliefs and attitudes of the West.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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