What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

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Maitri
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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by Maitri » Sat Jan 23, 2016 1:10 pm

The Thinker wrote:Does capitalism need Buddhism? - or who will feed the monks if everyone is a monk?
Not everyone will be a monk or nun. That's not even been the case since the time of the Buddha. Personally, I think Buddhism is always be a minority religion in the U.S. as its core values are too contradictory to core American cultural values. It takes work to step outside those norms and identify with teachings that push against the mainstream convention, both secular and religious.
"Upon a heap of rubbish in the road-side ditch blooms a lotus, fragrant and pleasing.
Even so, on the rubbish heap of blinded mortals the disciple of the Supremely Enlightened One shines resplendent in wisdom." Dhammapada: Pupphavagga

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Cormac Brown
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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by Cormac Brown » Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:47 pm

soapy3 wrote:Copies of the Pali Canon are expensive.
You have Wat Metta in California, offering great translations of the suttas, completely free, and printed very elegantly. You could order some copies and distribute them to people and places who might be interested. I live in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where there is no Theravada Sangha, and am planning to do the same. They've just sent me a very generous shipment of books.
“I in the present who am a worthy one, rightly self-awakened, am a
teacher of action, a teacher of activity, a teacher of persistence. But the
worthless man Makkhali contradicts even me, (saying,) ‘There is no
action. There is no activity. There is no persistence.’ "
AN 3.138, trans. Ven. Thanissaro

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Moth
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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by Moth » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:10 am

A major hindrance to propagating the Dhamma in the west, in my opinion, are the people who want to modify the teachings to suit their kilesa.
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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by Mkoll » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:35 am

Moth wrote:A major hindrance to propagating the Dhamma in the west, in my opinion, are the people who want to modify the teachings to suit their kilesa.
I agree. And it would be one thing if they did that and kept their new systems to themselves. I would have no issue with that and wouldn't even hear about it in the first place. But it's another when they propagate them, looking for attention and followers to validate their new Better Way™. Alas, there is nothing to be done to stop this but debunk them and make the teachings clear.
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Javi
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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by Javi » Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:46 pm

I just want to say I agree with Maitri here.

Theravada Wats just don't make the effort to propagate the Dhamma to Westerners, they are happy to remain strictly Thai or Lao affairs.

Meanwhile, most "Western" Theravada based groups are secularized and tip toe around the Dhamma. This is good and bad, its good because it can teach meditation to certain folks which might be turned off by the trappings and culture, but its bad because it doesn't create a strong sense of tradition and sangha, it just passes on a skill, and it mostly attracts a certain kind of white middle class demographic.

Also the fact that these two groups don't interact with each other much is also a problem.

A few places like Wat Metta and Abhayagiri attempt to reach out to more diverse demographics, so hopefully that is a sign that things are changing.

But yea, I am all about getting more colorful and fun too. I mean I like the serious, minimalist, somber approach but it probably is not helping.
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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by Zom » Sun Dec 25, 2016 5:50 pm

A major hindrance to propagating the Dhamma in the west, in my opinion, are the people who want to modify the teachings to suit their kilesa.
My opinion: because of wrong approach to Buddhism from the very start (that is, people are taught only idealistic "meditation-nibbanic buddhism", not real life buddhism. This is why - no strong purely western lay communities, no such monasteries built around such communities, and 95% of material support to "wats & monks" comes from asian traditional buddhists, not from westerners. For a buddhism to put down roots in non-traditional country, it should have down-to-earth followers who do not "practise" Buddhism, but who lives by Buddhism.

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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:08 pm

Zom wrote: My opinion: because of wrong approach to Buddhism from the very start (that is, people are taught only idealistic "meditation-nibbanic buddhism", not real life buddhism. This is why - no strong purely western lay communities, no such monasteries built around such communities, and 95% of material support to "wats & monks" comes from asian traditional buddhists, not from westerners. For a buddhism to put down roots in non-traditional country, it should have down-to-earth followers who do not "practise" Buddhism, but who lives by Buddhism.
I think this is correct. I don't see how there can be sustainable Western Buddhism if the only people involved are "serious Buddhists" (Zom's "meditation-nibbanic buddhism") who demand that the Dhamma costs them nothing. Judging from observing asian communities, it takes quite a lot of people and resources to build a real community.

This thread on Western Folk Buddhism may be relevant:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=12718

The interesting question is whether the huge interest in mindfulness, etc, in the West (which could be thought of as a kind of western folk Buddhism) could ever lead to a suitable community.

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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by SarathW » Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:18 pm

The interesting question is whether the huge interest in mindfulness, etc, in the West (which could be thought of as a kind of western folk Buddhism) could ever lead to a suitable community.
Yes only if mindfulness is taught in the context of Noble Eightfold Path. ie. Right Mindfulness.
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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by Zom » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:30 pm

The interesting question is whether the huge interest in mindfulness, etc, in the West (which could be thought of as a kind of western folk Buddhism) could ever lead to a suitable community.
No, because it has nothing to offer apart from a rather primitive psychotechnical exercise. People are interested in a short-cut method to solve all their problems quickly, but it doesn't work this way. And people won't establish communities around short-cut methods, well, because community is a long-term, not short-term thing 8-)

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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:09 pm

Sadly, that may well be true. The vast majority of mindfulness practitioners probably just want a quick fix.

However, it seems to me that the modernist/Buddhist/mindfulness people I know here who are also in the environmental-activist area might be the sort of people who would form a more cohesive group. Since you can't "save the world" on your own, so they are putting an effort into community. So perhaps Bhikkhu Bodhi is onto something by promoting a more engaged, community-oriented movement. That sense of community is not going to develop by people just meditating, no matter how "well" they meditate, and only a minority of us are likely to find the sense of community they are looking for in an ethnic monastery.

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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by SarathW » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:12 pm

So perhaps Bhikkhu Bodhi is onto something by promoting a more engaged, community-oriented movement.
I have doubt whether this is effective way to propagate Dhamma.
Christians and Muslims have more wider and effective engaged community-oriented movements.
But if you look at how they propagate their religion is more subtle.
Buddhist do not intend to follow those foot step as they are not inline with the teaching.
So only way I can see is the method used by the Buddha.
Even his method did not help to protect the Buddhism in India.
Buddhism has a natural progression. When the overall mind set of human developed they will naturally inclined towards Buddhism.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:20 pm

Surely is helping others is in line with the Dhamma? It's simply a dana practice.

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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by SarathW » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:26 pm

Agree.
What I am saying is that the objective of Dana is to propagation of Dhamma (convert) is not in line with Buddha's teaching.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:32 pm

I'm not talking about converting, I'm talking about Buddhists building a sense of community. Traditional Buddhism builds a sense of community around monasteries - with lay people working and donating to keep them running. Community support could, perhaps, provide a focus for Western converts who are not so interested in supporting monasteries.

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Re: What are the hurdles hindering Dhamma propagation in the US?

Post by paul » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:24 pm

Moth wrote:A major hindrance to propagating the Dhamma in the west, in my opinion, are the people who want to modify the teachings to suit their kilesa.
And it is seen on this site also.

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