pink_trike wrote:The Dharma stands on it's own just fine without the container and institution of Buddhism.
So you would prefer " Dhammaism " ? Its got to be called something. Just calling it the Dhamma, which is essentially what the Buddha did, has no resonance in our culture as it did in his. We cant just talk about " that thing we do " like we are members of the Cosa Nostra..
I think the attempt not to call Buddhism Buddhism is a bigger waste of energy than any possible danger of instutionalism. As to spreading it, I think example is both the most effective and the most challenging.
The OP asked about the most effective way to evangelize the Dharma. Imo, the most effective way to do this in our modern world would be to drop the "ism" and "ist" impulse that seems to bring many self-identified "Buddhists" comfort and structure. The term "Buddhist" has only very little resonance in our modern global society of 6.5 billion people and is of interest to only a very small number of people. For most folks in the world today it's in the same category as Mayan mysteries, Catholicism, tarot readings, and New Age visualization. Or it's regarded as an indulgence of a certain privileged class. Calling it Buddhist keeps the Dharma in a dark, hidden, archaic, cultural box that most people in modern society have no interest in. This box hides the Dharma under layers of institutionalism, jargon, cultural obfuscation, religiosity, and simulacra. If we're really interested in sharing the Dharma then peeling away the institution, obfuscation, jargon, religiosity, and simulacra is the most effective way. By living according to the teachings and practicing we begin to naturally model the Dharma in our daily life. We'll attract people who are attracted by the presence of the Dharma (truth) in our lives. We can then talk about the Dharma (truth) in ways that they can easily hear and assimilate into their own life...without the cultural froth and unnecessary simulacra.To reach the greatest number of people, it makes sense to speak about our _experience_ of the Dharma (truth) in their language within their cultural reference points, not in some secret society language of abstractification, religiosity, and mystification. The essence of the Truth found in the Buddhist container and institution is a pure wisdom and compassion that transcends all forms of culture, tradition, and language. It can be transfered to any cultural if the overgrowth is weed wacked away. However, this can't be done effectively if we cling to form and structure.
The key to awakening is that no matter how important something is, it must be thrown away. Siddhārtha Gautama didn't talk about "Buddhism", he talked about "The Truth"..."The Law"". It seems like we can do the same...we can simply talk about the experience of Truth. In my experience, this attracts people like ants to honey.