No_Mind wrote: ↑Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:12 am
Why are the number of Buddhist converts so low? With its lack of God(s), dictats, popes, church and open attitude, one would have thought that Buddhism in some form would be a natural religion for liberal Westerners to turn to.
The founders of Western Buddhism assumed all Westerners are "liberal" and that was their mistake. They assumed Westerners hate God, the soul, having beliefs, traditional sexual morality, having borders to their nations, and so they altered
Buddhism to fit that
specific target audience. Then the West elected Trump and proved the founders of Western Buddhism were as clueless as Nancy Pelosi.
Plus, in addition to that, of those who are
liberal, and who did
turn to Buddhism, many are figuring out they've been duped, that they've been sold a version of Buddhism specifically altered to target them
. They were told there's no God, but they find in the texts there are many gods; they were told no beliefs, but they are running up between a rock and hard place with rebirth, anatta, etc. They were told Buddhism fits perfectly with modern science and psychology, but that is plainly false, as psychology requires a self, and science requires the existence of enduring substances, and the version of Buddhism they've been sold is either Abhidhammic or Nagarjunian and denies those things. They were also told Buddhism supports pro-choice, but when they got around to reading the Vinaya they found that Buddha condemned abortion. They were told Buddhism was pro-LGBT, but when they began reading the Lotus Sutra they found that it says a bodhisattva is not to ever associate with any of "the five types of unmanly men." Then there is the fact that the canons in every sect are too long, especially for those whose mind has an anti-religious bent, and hidden within there are all kinds of doctrinal positions that when they finally stumble across them, they will be shocked. Its a perfect storm of misrepresentations by the founders of Western Buddhism.
Then on top of that, the mainstream way of dealing with Buddhism in the West, by the founders of Western Buddhism, has been to take everything from all the sects, throw it in a cauldron and stir, and the result is a nonsensical goo, of Theravada which clearly requires nirvana and samsara to be separate mixed with Mahayana's claim that nirvana and samsara are one and the same. Or of Theravada that says killing a Buddha equals innumerable eons in hell, with Zen that says "If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him." The unwise mixture of the schools has made a mess. I've yet to find one Theravadan teacher who doesn't believe in the Lotus Sutra's "expedient means" doctrine, and that to me is unacceptable. Mixing the contradictory doctrines of the various schools is by no means wise. Then on top of that, any strictly Theravadan group that might exist in the West is going to insist upon Adhidhamma which contradicts the suttas (plus there is no readily available English translation of) and that is also unacceptable. But maybe that explains why Theravadan teachers are mixing in the Lotus Sutra's "expedient means," i.e. maybe the Abhidhamma did that. In any case, there's a clear problem.