https://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/ho ... -buddhism/
that Ven Gavesako linked to recently are an interesting, though somewhat rambling, discussion of Folk vs Essential Buddhism, and how they are necessary for each other. In particular, the theme is how Folk Buddhism involves integration of local culture.
And, of course, the key question (not fully developed in the series yet) is:
Which aspects of Western Buddhist practice are Folk Buddhism?
Here are a few random snippets.
https://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/20 ... uddhism-7/
A common factor in the way the Refuges are practiced and understood in American Folk Buddhism is free-thinking, captured for instance in the following quote:
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” - “The Buddha”Free-thinking is related to the Protestant rejection of authority that we discussed last week, but more importantly to the post-(European-)Enlightenment regard for rational or critical thinking and the parallel disparagement of “faith,” and accounts for the popularity in the West of the quote above. This passage was however never spoken by the Buddha. I don’t know who made it up.
https://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/20 ... uddhism-9/
It is hardly surprising that individualism as a strong factor in American and Western culture should also be a strong factor in American and Western Folk Buddhism. Here, as with other aspects of Folk Buddhism, my interest will be in investigating to what extent its particular forms are friendly to, indifferent to or inimical to Essential Buddhism.
Our Authentic Self. A common Western Folk understanding is that Buddhism (or sometimes Zen) is about getting to know, trust and to free your authentic, inner or true self or nature, a self that has been suppressed by social conditioning and other inauthentic factors, but when unleashed is the source of creativity, spirituality, virtue and wisdom. Often the authentic self is identified with Buddha Nature, a pristine aspect of ourselves free from defilement, which is capable of awakening or even already awakened.
If these statements do not have a Buddhist origin, where did they come from? The answer is … European Romanticism and its later expressions.
As Bhante says, a characteristic of Folk Buddhism is drawing on local culture...