Lay movements in Buddhism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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LuisR
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Lay movements in Buddhism

Post by LuisR » Thu May 24, 2018 3:17 pm

A lot of Buddhism in the west is centered around meditation. It is mostly in lay groups where this is practiced. I went to one group here in my city that call themselves an insight meditation group. They seem to be very influenced by Jack Kornfield. These types of groups are popular every where. There was one group online that I used to follow that is called "against the stream buddhist meditation group".


My question is how are these groups viewed by traditional Buddhist? Are there groups like these in Asia? If so who are they?

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Sam Vara
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Re: Lay movements in Buddhism

Post by Sam Vara » Thu May 24, 2018 3:43 pm

It's difficult to make a generalisation, but my limited experience among Thai and Sri Lankan Buddhists in the West is that they range from complete indifference to mild approval.

It's worth noting that the Goenka-style Vipassana retreats do well in India and elsewhere in the East; and that Triratana have been taking their non-monastic brand of Buddhism back to the land of it's birth for many years now:

https://thebuddhistcentre.com/text/revival-india

Garrib
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Re: Lay movements in Buddhism

Post by Garrib » Thu May 24, 2018 3:48 pm

LuisR wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 3:17 pm
A lot of Buddhism in the west is centered around meditation. It is mostly in lay groups where this is practiced. I went to one group here in my city that call themselves an insight meditation group. They seem to be very influenced by Jack Kornfield. These types of groups are popular every where. There was one group online that I used to follow that is called "against the stream buddhist meditation group".


My question is how are these groups viewed by traditional Buddhist? Are there groups like these in Asia? If so who are they?
I've attended Insight Meditation Groups, and my experience has been positive. The people there are open, friendly and well-organized. They invite monastics and lay teachers for retreats and talks, and they study and discuss the Suttas. Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, and Josheph Goldstein are the founders of the Insight Meditation Society - So there is kind of an amalgam of ideas/methods floated from different traditions (Thai Forest, Burmese, etc...).

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No_Mind
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Re: Lay movements in Buddhism

Post by No_Mind » Thu May 24, 2018 4:49 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 3:43 pm
It's worth noting that the Goenka-style Vipassana retreats do well in India and elsewhere in the East; and that Triratana have been taking their non-monastic brand of Buddhism back to the land of it's birth for many years now:

https://thebuddhistcentre.com/text/revival-india
Vipassana is popular to a small extent in India but that popularity is probably not directly related to Buddhism.

It is because Hindu versions of meditation are quite impossible to learn since gurus will not teach it unless someone really commits to it fully. Hence vipassana is acting as an aid to Hinduism .. bit like playing squash (Hinduism) with a tennis racquet (vipassana)

As far as Triratna goes .. they are present among untouchables not among any other part of society.

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

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Sam Vara
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Re: Lay movements in Buddhism

Post by Sam Vara » Thu May 24, 2018 4:57 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 4:49 pm

Vipassana is popular to a small extent in India but that popularity is probably not directly related to Buddhism.

It is because Hindu versions of meditation are quite impossible to learn since gurus will not teach it unless someone really commits to it fully. Hence vipassana is acting as an aid to Hinduism .. bit like playing squash (Hinduism) with a tennis racquet (vipassana)

As far as Triratna goes .. they are present among untouchables not among any other part of society.

:namaste:
Many thanks for the local info, No_Mind. I knew an Indian student staying in the UK who said pretty much the same. He said Buddhism was very hard to find in India, and the only retreats which taught meditation that were easy to access were the Goenka ones. Having said that, what is a small movement in India would count as large elsewhere!

I knew that Triratana started off among the untouchables, but didn't know it had stayed there.

dharmacorps
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Re: Lay movements in Buddhism

Post by dharmacorps » Thu May 24, 2018 5:50 pm

When I first got interested in meditation and Buddhism I attended a lot of the insight meditation groups including a sort of pre-against the stream group (dharma punx). Those groups can be good if one is focusing on meditation for sure. I am not sure if they are really practicing Buddhism in a organized way though. As Sam Vara said, my understanding is that monastics or Asian immigrant communities may mildly approve of them but may not see them as practicing dhamma full-on.

LuisR
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Re: Lay movements in Buddhism

Post by LuisR » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:45 am

Thanks for the replies.

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pilgrim
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Re: Lay movements in Buddhism

Post by pilgrim » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:37 am

Lay meditation movements span a range of types. As an Asian Buddhist I can say that Buddhists generally view the Goenka and similar groups as within the ambit of Buddhism , even if the Goenka practitioners themselves vigorously deny the label. But less so with the secular Mindfulness meditation groups. They are sometimes viewed as Miccha-sati especially when taught to the Corporates and army to enhance productivity.

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