The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Dorian
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The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by Dorian »

Which Buddhist sect/school/branch is the most popular among Western practitioners?
I thought that it was Theravada, but some people claim that it is Tibetan Buddhism.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by Ceisiwr »

Tibetan, zen or ever increasingly “secular Buddhism”.
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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DNS
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by DNS »

Good question, I haven't seen any definitive surveys.

Among Western Buddhist converts, I'd say it's Zen, followed by Vajrayana (Tibetan), then Theravada.

At Buddhanet directory there were 19 pages of Theravada centers in the U.S.; 49 pages of Mahayana in the U.S.; and 27 pages of Vajrayana in the U.S.

If you include Asian-Americans, then it's Pure Land as the most popular school of buddhism.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by Ceisiwr »

DNS wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:20 pm
Good question, I haven't seen any definitive surveys.

Among Western Buddhist converts, I'd say it's Zen, followed by Vajrayana (Tibetan), then Theravada.

At Buddhanet directory there were 19 pages of Theravada centers in the U.S.; 49 pages of Mahayana in the U.S.; and 27 pages of Vajrayana in the U.S.

If you include Asian-Americans, then it's Pure Land as the most popular school of buddhism.

Pure land is a strange one
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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Keith
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by Keith »

How's Triratna doing?

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Ceisiwr
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by Ceisiwr »

Keith wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:50 pm
How's Triratna doing?
Still having bad press due to the sex abuse thing I think.
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

Dorian
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by Dorian »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:17 pm
Tibetan, zen or ever increasingly “secular Buddhism”.
Is 'secular Buddhism' similar to Theravada? Or there is Zen influence that is significant?

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Ceisiwr
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by Ceisiwr »

Dorian wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:11 pm
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:17 pm
Tibetan, zen or ever increasingly “secular Buddhism”.
Is 'secular Buddhism' similar to Theravada? Or there is Zen influence that is significant?

It’s usually either Zen or Theravadin influenced.
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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Aloka
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by Aloka »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:16 pm
Dorian wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:11 pm
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:17 pm
Tibetan, zen or ever increasingly “secular Buddhism”.
Is 'secular Buddhism' similar to Theravada? Or there is Zen influence that is significant?

It’s usually either Zen or Theravadin influenced.
I've never seen any Secular Buddhist groups or centres in the area where I live in the UK, nor do I know of any secular buddhists. Tibetan Buddhism is probably the most popular and after that maybe Nirichen or Sokka Gakkai .



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Last edited by Aloka on Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Aloka
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by Aloka »

Keith wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:50 pm
How's Triratna doing?
There are quite a few Triratna centres in the UK these days. I think the "Friends of the Western Buddhism Order" side of things is slowly fading into the background now that other people have taken over.


.

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pilgrim
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by pilgrim »

What if you include the ten-day Buddhists undergoing Goenka retreats at any one time? :stirthepot:

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Sam Vara
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by Sam Vara »

It's quite difficult to answer, due to inconsistencies in defining "sect". If we use it in a strict sociological sense meaning a tight-knit group with radically different norms and values in opposition to mainstream society, then the numbers are countable, but (in the case of Buddhism) probably tiny. If however we mean a loose set of beliefs which people adopt without having much social impact, then the numbers are far larger but extremely difficult to operationalise and quantify.

SteRo
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by SteRo »

Dorian wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:11 pm
...
Is 'secular Buddhism' similar to Theravada?
The sect of a former monk who wanted to lead his own sect is called that way. But usually those who call themselves 'secular Buddhists' just suffer from skeptical doubt.

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WindDancer
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by WindDancer »

I am not a secular Buddhist. The secular Buddhists in my area of the world tend to be intelligent, educated people who value science. They find great benefit from engaging in Buddhist practices like meditation, virtue, the Bramha Viharas and acting with compassion to make a difference in the world. They tend to set aside any of what they consider the religious side of Buddhism, such as, rebirth, devas, other worldly beings or other realms of existence. That being said, they tend to maintain a wide range of beliefs.

In my area, the most popular sect is Vietnamese Buddhism. There is a 10,000 Buddhas monastery near where I live, and there is a Vietnamese Buddhist temple and a large Vietnamese population in a large city about an hour drive from my home. There is a Tibetan Buddhist temple that was started a while back, and a few years ago monk from Sri Lanka opened a small Theravada Buddhist Temple in the same city.
Live Gently....

MettaDevPrac
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Re: The most popular Buddhist sect in West

Post by MettaDevPrac »

If belief in a theory of identity, belief in a distinct Self, is a delusion, what would a belief that lives can be categorized into sects be?

Nothing to cling to, I think.
- MettaDevPrac

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