Why so few Western Buddhists?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Meezer77
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 5:43 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Meezer77 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:57 am

Subharo wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:56 am
Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:29 am
Bhante, seems like you're feeling really oppressed. What do you reckon are the redeeming things that keep you in robes?
It's getting less and less oppressive all the time. Actually, I've never been happier. These posts are more like a public service announcement, so that others can watch out for the tricks before they get played. With any luck, these tricks will get used less and less, **which I feel is an essential ingredient to Buddhism actually spreading more in the west**. So this grumbling does have have a higher purpose, which is a more transparent Buddhism in the future (and I feel Westerners crucially need transparency in order to trust Buddhism).

My meditation is going quite well these days (but please don't ask me to attest to any sort of attainments). These days, it's easily reward enough just to meditate, or even to simply be mindful of my current object of meditation for all of about 5 seconds. That's what's keeping me in the robes. Also, please don't ask me what my object of meditation is. The particulars of my practice is something I try to keep private.

On the subject of transparency, take a look at how "transparent" Westerner countries tend to be, as compared to how "transparent" traditional Buddhist countries tend to be. Now perhaps you can see what I'm getting at?

@No_Mind, can you see how I'm attempting to answer your question in a constructive, yet deeply-uncomfortable-to-some way?
Okay no problem I won't ask about your object. Is there a vinaya rule about that? It's good that you keep me right, I know a little bit about the vinaya and the fact that monks have to be careful about talking about attainments

Meezer77
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 5:43 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Meezer77 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:01 am

No_Mind wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:56 am
Meezer77 wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:50 pm
Doesn't everyone regardless of where they're from need this to survive?
Clearly these people don't. They have given up critical thinking entirely.

The Flat Earth International Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, attracted hundreds of attendees who believe the shape of the Earth is a disc instead of a sphere.



And neither do people who believe in caste based discrimination as some do in India and also (surprise, surprise) in Japan.

Do you know in Japan a grown man wanting to have sex with a young girl (about ten year old) is considered a normal urge? Until 2014 child pornography was legal to own in Japan. Is that critical thinking?

There are examples from every place on earth .. when people suspended critical thinking .. Brexit for example.

:namaste:

No_MInd
It's a crazy old world we live in eh?

User avatar
Subharo
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:22 pm

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Subharo » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:40 am

Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:57 am
Okay no problem I won't ask about your object. Is there a vinaya rule about that?
You could read about Parajika 4, in the Buddhist Monastic Code, Vol. 1.

I feel it's the safest to not talk about my personal practice at all, even though it is Vinaya-legal to carefully do so in certain ways.
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

auto
Posts: 507
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:02 pm

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by auto » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:21 am

No_Mind wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:56 am
Meezer77 wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:50 pm
Doesn't everyone regardless of where they're from need this to survive?
Clearly these people don't. They have given up critical thinking entirely.

The Flat Earth International Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, attracted hundreds of attendees who believe the shape of the Earth is a disc instead of a sphere.



And neither do people who believe in caste based discrimination as some do in India and also (surprise, surprise) in Japan.

Do you know in Japan a grown man wanting to have sex with a young girl (about ten year old) is considered a normal urge? Until 2014 child pornography was legal to own in Japan. Is that critical thinking?

There are examples from every place on earth .. when people suspended critical thinking .. Brexit for example.

:namaste:

No_MInd
people who wear robes and staying in monasteries doesn't make them recluse.

Do you have evidence that earth is round? For the sense organs it may be round.

User avatar
Subharo
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:22 pm

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Subharo » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:36 am

auto wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:21 am
people who wear robes and staying in monasteries doesn't make them recluse.
Once you use your psychic powers to embrace my mind with your own, and catch me red-handed posting on this forum without any serenity or any Brahmavihara, it is at that time that I will take your complaints seriously. All I am saying here is that I try to make an effort to check in with the state of my heart before posting. This isn't a claim to attainments, which you might be tempted to conclude.
auto wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:21 am
Do you have evidence that earth is round? For the sense organs it may be round.
Surely you jest.
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

User avatar
Subharo
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:22 pm

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Subharo » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:07 am

:focus:
No_Mind, I found a great gentlemanly debate between two imminent Westerner thinkers (whom I would call spiritual men worthy of respect). Buddhism gets mentioned several times.



Please note how even though they seriously challenged each other's core assumptions and beliefs a whole bunch of times, observe how they utterly kept their cool at all times, and found many points to agree over. :thumbsup: Near the end of the discussion, they even complimented each other's strengths. Imagine!

I was so impressed with Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson. Where are the Senior monks in Buddhism who are capable of having such discussions as this, not merely gladhanding each other, but **openly challenging** each other on their views, and neither party gets into a conniption fit over "disrespectful behavior" (as a weak-minded, cheap tactic to save face)?

I think the West is going to frankly require open, transparent discussions such as this, over virtually all the long-standing controversies and sticking points (that most monks are too cowardly to make a peep about) if the West is ever going to actually fall in love with Buddhism (which will never be a blind act of faith like you hope it somehow will), to a much broader demographic degree like you are hoping in your OP. And furthermore, this hyper-sensitivity, where face-saving is pretty much valued above all, is frankly a very serious fetter to Buddhism spreading in the West.

So this iron-clad "resect for elders" you speak of, can be a good thing (and please don't get me wrong), but can you see how when it grows too large, then this whole overblown "saving face" game destroys the possibility of constructive and meaningful gentlemanly debate, such as I have pointed at here, which holds Buddhism back in the West?
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

User avatar
Subharo
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:22 pm

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Subharo » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:50 am

Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

binocular
Posts: 5638
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by binocular » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:32 pm

chownah wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:33 am
Drinking alcohol is culturally virtuous in thailand.....without a doubt....
There goes another bubble ... Maybe it actually wouldn't make as much difference for my Buddhist practice if I lived in a traditionally Buddhist country as I think it would. For a monk, it probably does, but now I'm not so sure anymore whether it's the same for a layperson. (And, of course, if I would move there, I would be a white lay, female, foreigner -- I wouldn't have it easy.)
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

Saengnapha
Posts: 1350
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:17 am

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:44 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:32 pm
chownah wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:33 am
Drinking alcohol is culturally virtuous in thailand.....without a doubt....
There goes another bubble ... Maybe it actually wouldn't make as much difference for my Buddhist practice if I lived in a traditionally Buddhist country as I think it would. For a monk, it probably does, but now I'm not so sure anymore whether it's the same for a layperson. (And, of course, if I would move there, I would be a white lay, female, foreigner -- I wouldn't have it easy.)
That would definitely put a different spin on it. I do know know some expat females that have made a go of it here, otoh, most have complained about the lack of available white men and their preference for Thai women. It really depends on the individual and what they are looking for.

I'm not sure what culturally virtuous means, but I find no pressure here in BKK to drink socially or even be involved with the bar scene.

binocular
Posts: 5638
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by binocular » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:09 pm

Subharo wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:56 am
It's getting less and less oppressive all the time. Actually, I've never been happier. These posts are more like a public service announcement, so that others can watch out for the tricks before they get played. With any luck, these tricks will get used less and less, **which I feel is an essential ingredient to Buddhism actually spreading more in the west**. So this grumbling does have have a higher purpose, which is a more transparent Buddhism in the future (and I feel Westerners crucially need transparency in order to trust Buddhism).
Subharo wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:07 am
I think the West is going to frankly require open, transparent discussions such as this, over virtually all the long-standing controversies and sticking points (that most monks are too cowardly to make a peep about) if the West is ever going to actually fall in love with Buddhism (which will never be a blind act of faith like you hope it somehow will), to a much broader demographic degree like you are hoping in your OP. And furthermore, this hyper-sensitivity, where face-saving is pretty much valued above all, is frankly a very serious fetter to Buddhism spreading in the West.

So this iron-clad "resect for elders" you speak of, can be a good thing (and please don't get me wrong), but can you see how when it grows too large, then this whole overblown "saving face" game destroys the possibility of constructive and meaningful gentlemanly debate, such as I have pointed at here, which holds Buddhism back in the West?
But does it?

What are the canonical reasons listed for how come a person comes into contact with the Dhamma?
What are the canonical reasons listed for how come a person takes up the practice of the Dhamma?
What are the canonical reasons listed for how come a person gives up the practice of the Dhamma?

That the people who function as formal representatives of the Dhamma have "constructive and meaningful gentlemanly debate"?

It's not clear that transparency, "constructive and meaningful gentlemanly debate" really play such an important role in a person's devotion to the Dhamma as you suggest. I'm sure that not just a few Westerners (and others) who have turned away from Buddhism say that those were their reasons. But I question the relevance of those stated reasons; it's not clear whether it is possible to find canonical support for those reasons. And if there is no canonical support for such reasons; or if we can find canonical evidence to the contrary, then those reasons are just speculation (or face-saving).


When I first read your posts, the thought occured to me, "I don't want to be sold the Dhamma!" I don't want Buddhists to make Buddhism in any way "more palatable" to me. I don't even want them to "meet me halfway". I think Buddhists should just stand their ground, do what they believe they should do, and not worry about prospective converts. Personally, I don't think that Buddhism is the kind of religion where people would need to be made convinced of the doctrinal claims.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1911
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:17 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:32 pm
chownah wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:33 am
Drinking alcohol is culturally virtuous in thailand.....without a doubt....
There goes another bubble ... Maybe it actually wouldn't make as much difference for my Buddhist practice if I lived in a traditionally Buddhist country as I think it would. For a monk, it probably does, but now I'm not so sure anymore whether it's the same for a layperson. (And, of course, if I would move there, I would be a white lay, female, foreigner -- I wouldn't have it easy.)
Why is there this expectation that in countries where Dhammic religions are pre-dominant .. the populace will also be Dhammic, possess equanimity and always act with profound wisdom (India, Sri Lanka, Thailand are I believe the only three which fit this description of nations with Dhammic religion)

Humans are humans regardless of which religion they are born into.

:namaste:
Last edited by No_Mind on Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I know one thing: that I know nothing

User avatar
Subharo
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:22 pm

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Subharo » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:11 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:09 pm
That the people who function as formal representatives of the Dhamma have "constructive and meaningful gentlemanly debate"?

It's not clear that transparency, "constructive and meaningful gentlemanly debate" really play such an important role in a person's devotion to the Dhamma as you suggest. I'm sure that not just a few Westerners (and others) who have turned away from Buddhism say that those were their reasons. But I question the relevance of those stated reasons; it's not clear whether it is possible to find canonical support for those reasons. And if there is no canonical support for such reasons; or if we can find canonical evidence to the contrary, then those reasons are just speculation (or face-saving).
AN 2.46,"Ukkacita Sutta", "Bombast"
"Monks, there are these two assemblies. Which two? The assembly trained in bombast and not in cross-questioning, and the assembly trained in cross-questioning and not in bombast.

"And which is the assembly trained in bombast and not in cross-questioning?

"There is the case where in any assembly when the discourses of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are recited, the monks don't listen, don't lend ear, don't set their hearts on knowing them; don't regard them as worth grasping or mastering. But when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, artful in sound, artful in expression, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited, they listen, they lend ear, they set their hearts on knowing them; they regard them as worth grasping & mastering. Yet when they have mastered that Dhamma, they don't cross-question one another about it, don't dissect: 'How is this? What is the meaning of this?' They don't make open what isn't open, don't make plain what isn't plain, don't dispel doubt on its various doubtful points. This is called an assembly trained in bombast, not in cross-questioning.

"And which is the assembly trained in cross-questioning and not in bombast?

"There is the case where in any assembly when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, artful in sound, artful in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited, the monks don't listen, don't lend ear, don't set their hearts on knowing them; don't regard them as worth grasping or mastering. But when the discourses of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are recited, they listen, they lend ear, they set their hearts on knowing them; they regard them as worth grasping & mastering. And when they have mastered that Dhamma, they cross-question one another about it and dissect it: 'How is this? What is the meaning of this?' They make open what isn't open, make plain what isn't plain, dispel doubt on its various doubtful points. This is called an assembly trained in cross-questioning and not in bombast."
Here's a definition of the word "Bombast":
bombast (noun): high-sounding language with little meaning, used to impress people.
synonyms: bluster, pomposity, ranting, rant, nonsense, empty talk, humbug, wind, blather, blether, claptrap
I, for one, would prefer to be part of an assembly trained in cross-questioning, not in the bombast. What do you think? Which kind of assembly would be more inspiring to laypeople (in a longer-term sense)?

Also, from DN 16, the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, section 28., "The 4 referrals":
There the Gracious One addressed the monks, saying: “I will teach these Four Great Referrals, monks, listen to it, apply your minds well, and I will speak.”

“Very well, reverend Sir,” those monks replied to the Gracious One, and the Gracious One said this:

1) “Here, monks, a monk might speak like this: ‘I have heard this directly from the Gracious One, friends, directly I learned it: “This is the Teaching, this is the Discipline, this is the Teacher’s Dispensation.”’ That monk’s speech, monks, is not to be rejoiced over, not to be scorned at. Without having rejoiced over it, without having scorned it, after learning those words and syllables well, they should be laid alongside the Discourses, they should be compared with the Discipline.

2) If, when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline, they do not fit in with the Discourses, they do not compare well with the Discipline, you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is not the Gracious One’s word, it is not well learned by that monk,’ and, monks, you should abandon it. If when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline, they do fit in with the Discourses, they do compare well with the Discipline, you may come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is the Gracious One’s word, it is well-learned by that monk.’ This, monks, is the first Great Referral you should bear in mind.

3) Here, monks, a monk might speak like this: ‘In a certain dwelling place lives a Community with elders and leaders, I have heard this directly from that Community, directly I learned it: “This is the Teaching, this is the Discipline, this is the Teacher’s Dispensation.”’ Those monks’ speech, monks, is not to be rejoiced over, not to be scorned at. Without having rejoiced over it, without having scorned it, after learning those words and syllables well, they should be laid alongside the Discourses, they should be compared with the Discipline.

4) If, when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline, they do not fit in with the Discourses, they do not compare well with the Discipline, you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is not the Gracious One’s word, it is not well learned by that Community,’ and, monks, you should abandon it. If when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline, they do fit in with the Discourses, they do compare well with the Discipline, you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is the Gracious One’s word, it is well-learned by that Community.’ This, monks, is the second Great Referral you should bear in mind.

5) Here, monks, a monk might speak like this: ‘In a certain dwelling place live many elders, very learned, who have learned the traditions, who are bearers of the Teaching, bearers of the Discipline, bearers of the Tabulation, I have heard this directly from those elders, directly I learned it: “This is the Teaching, this is the Discipline, this is the Teacher’s Dispensation.”’ Those monks’ speech, monks, is not to be rejoiced over, not to be scorned at. Without having rejoiced over it, without having scorned it, after learning those words and syllables well, they should be laid alongside the Discourses, they should be compared with the Discipline.

6) If, when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline, they do not fit in with the Discourses, they do not compare well with the Discipline, you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is not the Gracious One’s word, it is not well learned by those elders,’ and, monks, you should abandon it. If when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline they do fit in with the Discourses, they do compare well with the Discipline, you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is the Gracious One’s word, it is well-learned by those elders.’ This, monks, is the third Great Referral you should bear in mind.

7) Here, monks, a monk might speak like this: ‘In a certain dwelling place lives one elder, very learned, who has learned the traditions, a bearer of the Teaching, a bearer of the Discipline, a bearer of the Tabulation, I have heard this directly from that elder, directly I learned it: “This is the Teaching, this is the Discipline, this is the Teacher’s Dispensation.”’ That monk’s speech, monks, is not to be rejoiced over, not to be scorned at. Without having rejoiced over it, without having scorned it, after learning those words and syllables well, they should be laid alongside the Discourses, they should be compared with the Discipline.

8) If, when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline they do not fit in with the Discourses, they do not compare well with the Discipline, you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is not the Gracious One’s word, it is not well learned by that elder,’ and, monks, you should abandon it. If when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline, they do fit in with the Discourses, they do compare well with the Discipline, you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is the Gracious One’s word, it is well-learned by that elder.’ This, monks, is the fourth Great Referral you should bear in mind. These, monks, are the Four Great Referrals you should bear in mind.”
This quotation doesn't say that you should necessarily debate, but it does set a precedent that all monks, even well-meaning arahants, after the Buddha's death, should have their claims and beliefs and customs and rituals and what-have-you compared back to the original teachings of the Buddha, in a rigorous manner, like I'm advocating here. And it seems to me like a natural thing to do for monks to talk about these things with each other, which can be done in a non-confrontational, gentlemanly manner.

There are also AN 2.101-117. A not-so-great translation is on the Internet, but I strongly recommend reading Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations in the Wisdom Publication's Anguttara Nikaya.

There are yet more Suttas I could dig up where the Buddha explains how one monk should carefully confront another to correct some wrong view (and it is a duty to do so), but I can't remember quite where they are at the moment. There are at least a few more like this sprinkled around the Suttas. There are also tons of suttas where the Buddha debates (or perhaps you might say, "cross-examines") with one of his own disciples when there's an audience listening, sometimes a very big one. And sometimes disciples discuss with other disciples when there's an audience present.

There are huge numbers of suttas which do not follow the stock scenario of one monk giving a highly formalized one-way Dhamma talk to an audience of monks or laypeople.
Last edited by Subharo on Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:53 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

chownah
Posts: 7596
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by chownah » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:31 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:39 am
Greetings Chownah,
chownah wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:33 am
Drinking alcohol is culturally virtuous in thailand.....without a doubt....
Just curious... is there any 'peer pressure' not to drink, in light of the five precepts?

Metta,
Paul. :)
Sorry for the late reply.....somehow I missed your post.
No...I have never seen peer pressure to NOT drink. I live in a small rural village not too far from a provincial capital so I'm not living in a remote area but not right adjacent to a large population center. Here drinking happens for every occasion...births, weddings, deaths, holidays, world cup, promotions, graduations, you name it and people will be drinking......there are lots of holidays in thailand!!!!!....and of course maybe you're just in the mood to sit around with friends and eat and drink...

I stay pretty close to home usually so most of my experiences are from a limited area but I have traveled around quite some but not extensively...I'm not much of a tourist. Here in my village there was intense peer pressure to drink when I first got here and it took probably three or four years for the locals who were most acquainted with to mostly stop offering me drinks with the insistency level slowly tapering off in those years. After that period if I went to a house warming party for example where there were alot of people who didn't know me of course people would be sitting around drinking and I would sit down and someone would offer me the shot glass full of whiskey I would decline once or twice and then often someone who knew me well would politely tell them that I really don't drink....and usually they would stop insisting...and sometimes they would ask me...really?...you don't drink whiskey?..do you drink beer?...no? ?????.
This seems to be pretty much what socializing is in thailand. There are no bars around most villages. What I have seen but not near where I live is what would be called a roadhouse in the usa.....a bar/restaurant located out of town on a well traveled road between villages....they always have karaoke and which is popular in thailand and many people have computers with karaoke programs installed and of course you sit around and drink while karaokeing.
Anyway, enough about the insistence.
Anyway I think that actually the drinking seems to have moderated a little bit in the almost 20 years I have lived in thailand or at least it seems so around here....although maybe it is just that me and my friends are getting older. Every year people are encouraged by the temple to give up drinking for Pansa and it seems that over the years more people are doing that.....and something new in the last three or four years there have been a small number of people (my wife included) who stop drinking and also change their diet so that on four days of each lunar cycle(once a week) in pansa they eat vegan or nearly vegan and they make efforts to avoid killing any sentient beings on those days too. My wife won't use the weed cutter on those days because it will kill bugs and other small critters....so she just schedules for the next day. :tongue:

chownah
edit: Being a total drunk is not really acceptable but as long as you can be employed and be responsible for your family and if you drive drunk you don't hit hit anything or anyone....then its pretty much ok. I think that driving drunk is being looked down on more as time goes on. An anecdote: about 10 years or so ago my pickup broke down and needed to be towed. A friend of mine who was drunk said to give him the keys and he would drive there with his fiends (also drunk) and do it. I politely declined (I would never give a drunk person the keys to any vehicle .....or a gun!) and there was a bit of distaste displayed that I wouldn't give them the keys and just sit down and have a drink!!!!
chownah

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1911
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:09 pm

Subharo wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:07 am
No_Mind, I found a great gentlemanly debate between two imminent Westerner thinkers (whom I would call spiritual men worthy of respect). Buddhism gets mentioned several times.

I think the West is going to frankly require open, transparent discussions such as this, over virtually all the long-standing controversies and sticking points (that most monks are too cowardly to make a peep about) if the West is ever going to actually fall in love with Buddhism (which will never be a blind act of faith like you hope it somehow will), to a much broader demographic degree like you are hoping in your OP. And furthermore, this hyper-sensitivity, where face-saving is pretty much valued above all, is frankly a very serious fetter to Buddhism spreading in the West.

So this iron-clad "resect for elders" you speak of, can be a good thing (and please don't get me wrong), but can you see how when it grows too large, then this whole overblown "saving face" game destroys the possibility of constructive and meaningful gentlemanly debate, such as I have pointed at here, which holds Buddhism back in the West?
Believing is a matter of faith. How can faith be dissected as Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson does? Western Philosophy can be dissected .. How can faith in Jesus or Krishna or Buddha be dissected?

Too much dissection is the cause of angst in the West .. if someone says there is global warming .. someone else says no there is no global warming. No faith, too much argument .. even about if earth is a sphere.

I have come to believe in Eight Fold Path. How does it help if someone wants critical thinking about it? It is the 8FP not 6 FP or 9 and it is quite clear about what it means and requires. How does discussion and to and fro carry us closer to enlightenment?

That is reserved for politics, economics and social issues.

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

binocular
Posts: 5638
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by binocular » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:17 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:17 pm
Why is there this expectation that in countries where Dhammic religions are pre-dominant .. the populace will also be Dhammic, possess equanimity and always act with profound wisdom (India, Sri Lanka, Thailand are I believe the only three which fit this description of nations with Dhammic religion)
Because Asian supremacism runs deep, sometimes so deep one isn't even aware of it.

(Asian (Buddhist) supremacism being the conviction that only Asian Buddhists know how to properly do Buddhism.)
Humans are humans regardless of which religion they are born into.
What's your point?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Bing [Bot], easydoesit, Goofaholix, Google [Bot], JamesTheGiant, Sam Vara and 88 guests