Spreading Buddhism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Post by cooran » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:57 am

Hello all,

I rather like Ven. Narada Maha Theras approach:

Venerable Narada Maha Thera - A Buddhist Missionary Par Excellence by Olcott Gunasekera

My mission abroad was never to proselytize but merely to present the teachings of the Buddha to those who are interested. I found numerous such persons. To those who believed in God, I said, if you are convinced of God and if it is beneficial, by all means you may believe in him. But for my part, I told them that I could do better without depending on him."
These words of Ven. Narada Maha Thera (Ceylon Daily News- 21.12.1966) showed the same spirit, even after 2500 years after the parinibbana of the Buddha, of the following utterance of the Buddha. "Aparuta tesam amatassa dvara ye sotavanto pamuncantu saddham Vihimsa sanni pagunam na bhasim - Dhammam panitam manujesu brahme" ti (Mahapadana Sutta, Digha Nikaya) - "Open are the doors to the deathless those who have ears repose trust".
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha296.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Post by catmoon » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:56 am

Staggering Catmoon Insight of the Day

Thus have I heard, because my voices told me so:

Buddhism is like jam.
How is Buddhism like jam?
In these five ways, bhikkus, Buddhism is like jam.

Jam is sweet, thus Buddhism is like jam.
Jam is nutritious, thus Buddhism is like jam.
Jam comes in many different flavors, thus Buddhism is like jam.
Some people prefer peanut butter over jam, thus Buddhism is like jam.

but most clearly of all,

It is good to spread jam on your toast. But it is very impolite to spread jam on someone else's toast unless they ask you to, and spreading jam directly on their person is pretty much right out. Thus Buddhism is like jam.

-CM XIV 223 - 229.16

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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Post by Clueless Git » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:15 am

Very good Catmoon! :twothumbsup:

Clueless Git
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Post by Clueless Git » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
appicchato wrote:
Clueless Git wrote:...if how you are doesn't impress people enough to have them come to you with questions then it is best to keep on practicing and keep ones mouth tight shut.
True to a point, but what often impresses people aren't attributes that are consistent with the Dhamma.

Retro. :)
'Lo Retro :)

It is very true that attributes other than dhammic (is that a word?) ones may impress people. That much I can vouch for from direct personal experience as most of the early adulthood 'teachers' I latched on to were very impressive at things that were entirely non-dhammic.

That the best way of teaching is the best way to teach bad things does not mean that the best way to teach is not also the best way to teach good things though, donch'a think?
Last edited by Clueless Git on Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Post by nowheat » Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:00 am

Thaibebop wrote:
genkaku wrote: Buddhism would have died out a long time ago if the best it could do was to rely on a fawning, leaflet lifestyle.
I am not suggesting leaflets, though. I've seen other places people always asking 'how did you find out about Buddhism?' That's a good question. If no one is talking about, how did it spread? Someone talked at some point. So, yes perhaps just answering question is best, I know that is what I have been doing and will keep doing, yet I wonder........
It's interesting that the modern take is that we shouldn't go out on the street corners and preach Buddhism. This is so far from what the Buddha actually taught as to be humorous. But then, in his day, reasoned discourse on what passed for street corners was the norm. At the new and half moon, all the big cities had gatherings of heretics and ascetics and Brahmins who would go and debate each other. The towns and villages may have even had similar, though smaller, observances. And his directive to his monks was for them to each go off in their own directions and offer the dhamma to as many people as they could. So I wonder when the change happened?

Not that I advocate televangelizing or leafleting. I think a calmer and more reasoned approach sets us off as, well, calmer and more reasonable.

For myself, Buddhism has helped me so much that I confess to an evangelist streak. Or maybe it's a bodhisattva streak. Technology is a great way to make Buddhism available to those who want to find it. The question is how do those who don't know it's Buddhism they're looking for find it? My answer is that we should offer the best writing possible on the subject that's relevant. Set up a blog and write about your practice. Words you use in describing your issues will turn up as results in searches by people with the same issues. You can find Buddhism in Second Life, where writing intriguing titles for upcoming topics draw the curious in and let them find out first-hand and in a non-threatening way what Buddhism is actually about. Discuss your practice in youtube videos – title and description are key, just like good writing in a blog would be.

I hope to hear more ideas from folks in this thread – it would soothe my bodhisattva-ish soul (that's figuratively speaking, of course). :namaste:

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