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Westerners and Buddhism - a question.

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Comments

  • RichdawsonRichdawson Explorer
    edited September 2016

    @dhammachick said:

    You do realise the "mumbo jumbo" you refer to is traditional Buddhism from the East and referring to it as such is disrespectful? Just because people don't agree or identify with it doesn't mean it's okay to treat with disregard. A cleaned version - clean from what, its origins? You do realise the Buddha himself was born a Brahmin before he became enlightened?

    I didn't feel it was disrespectful in the full context of what I wrote. At least it wasn't in my mind. Nor was I poking fun at it, it was just a term to encapsulate everything that wasn't a direct teaching. By cleaned version I was referring to Stephen Bachelor's view, because that is what I understand it to be.

    Maybe a poor choice of words so sorry about that. Yes I do know the history of the Buddha himself.

    On a side note, I never once said I don't identify or that I disagree with those views / teachings.

    @grackle
    I too enjoy the richness and the traditions, many of my closest friends are of Asian origins, and my wife is Persian. I have a healthy respect for different cultures.

    Lastly, I would like to say this is a discussion in text, and as much as I try to choose my words carefully when writing I am not perfect. Without knowing each other it also becomes real hard sometimes to not put our own spin on the text. Anyways, no disrespect meant.

  • @grackle good news. It is I would suggest the rich, golden dharma vein we all aspire to.

    I would suggest that movement is not East or West or even particularly Buddhist. It is pragmatic, favouring an educated relationship with a healthy and enabling process. The aspects that come from Buddhism, I would suggest is its deep understanding of the nature, study and exploration of the mind. In particular through meditation.

    Walker
  • @dhammachick

    Stephen Batchelor - Link to an article I read

    It was this article I was thinking about when I wrote the paragraph in my post regarding Stephen Batchelor.

    It might help it to make a bit more sense of why I wrote what I did.

  • @Richdawson. Our affinities seem to bring us together with beings not unknown. A conversation ended centuries ago begins again.

  • @lobster. You keep on suggesting. Are you shy or more simply one who believes the light knows not the limitations of time, space or creed?

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @karasti said:
    I do not feel a need to further segregate people by deciding on a name/box for American Buddhism or Western Buddhism. Seeking to constantly compare and differentiate our views from others only creates more division. It should grow as it will, without people seeking the need to name it.

    This is how many felt when Buddhism first split into "Northern" and "Southern" Buddhism and I agree when it comes to mud slinging or claims of superiority or worse yet, truth. It's not bad to have a distinction between styles within Buddhism though.

    @possibilities said:

    Making more boxes is not a problem since a box is just the container for new content. If there is legitimate new content, there will be a new box and label. Whether it stays relevant is just a matter of time.

    This is why I like looking at it as different classrooms, same school.

    @Richdawson, Stephen Batchelor is not my cup of tea and I'd disagree with him that agnosticism is akin to atheism. Agnostics do not reject or have faith in things we have no evidence for and from what I can glean, he outright rejects the teachings of karmic rebirth.

    An Atheist is closer to a Theist than an Agnostic as they both take stands in confirmation or rejection ( a thicket of views) while the Agnostic knows we just don't know for sure and keeps exploring the possibilities.

    If Buddhism is to flourish in the west it will have to cater to many, many different mind sets and compliment other systems just like it had to do in the east. Just like it had to do in the north and as it had to do in the communities where Buddha set up Sangha and visited.

    dhammachick
  • possibilitiespossibilities PNW, WA State Veteran

    @karasti said:
    . Seeking to constantly compare and differentiate our views from others only creates more division. It should grow as it will, without people seeking the need to name it.

    Hi - I hope you're not misunderstanding my tone or intention, I'm not being beligerant....

    I'm just saying if there is a new content/direction, as for example with Bachelor's approach to Buddhism, and since it resonates with many people, it is perfectly fine to eventually give it a label, so that people have a quick way of identifying it. There are so many variations already, and I don't see a western version as a problem since they all work towards fulfillng some people's needs.

    If I'm not mistaken you have mentioned your particular branch (vajrayana/mahayana?) recently - and why not? I really don't understand why an emerging branch should remain obscure?
    I'm drawn to Bachelor's way of thinking, so I guess I feel like I'm wiped off the Buddhist map along with him because there his no room for new developments....?

    Anyway, no hard feelings, @karasti, I just really don't understand where you are coming from.
    Best wishes!

  • @possibilities. As you fell drawn to Stephen Bachelors ideas then it seems you should investigate them. When you become acquainted with them see what meaning they have in your life. Are they a reliable guide to your journey.

  • possibilitiespossibilities PNW, WA State Veteran

    @grackle, I have read a couple of Bachelor's books and listened to numerous talks. In my mind he represents a bare bones Buddhism - and I believe he is genuine about his convictions and goals. I am just glad that there is someone like him - with a scholarly background - who legitimizes my way of thinking.
    I simply don't match up with the traditional practice of Buddhism, while OTOH I am fully convinced of the merrit of the Buddha's teachings. As a non religous person, my emphasis is on applying that wisdom if possible in the ethics of daily life..... Bachelor doesn't really come into play there.

  • So Buddhism is in the process of adapting to western culture, but this kind of adaptation is nothing new.

    Buddhism has adapted to many different cultures over the last 2,500 years, and there has been much cross-pollination with other religions, leading to the "traditional" forms of Buddhism which we have imported into the west, Tibetan, Chinese, Burmese, Japanese, Thai, and so on. But these imports come with a lot of cultural and religious baggage, and it is reasonable to ask what is really relevant in a western setting.

    persondukkha
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    We can only go by what we have thus far absorbed and learnt, either directly from a teacher, or through our own study and exploration, and put it into practice as best we can.
    The Buddha gives guidelines on discernment and evaluation, and gives further insight on what is worth further pondering and what isn't.
    we constantly bang on about the 4, the 8 and the 5 on here.
    I would estimate getting our minds wrapped round that lot is more than enough 'work' for anyone, in any lifetime.

    Why seek more?

    Simplify!

    dhammachick
  • @possibilities. You may want to consider Buddhist Ethics by Hammalawa Saddhatissa. As an addition to Stephen Bachelor. Each author contributes to a more complete understanding of ethical conduct in daily life.

    possibilities
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @possibilities yes, there has to be language so that we can converse with each other. But then one has to be cautious with defending that named belief set, and with making assumptions about the beliefs of others due to the label. I can say "I'm a Tibetan practitioner" and many (most) people will immediately have things come to mind about what that means, whether it's correct or not. Here, on this page, it's not so much of a problem but elsewhere it can be. Then you end up with these ideas of what each type of Buddhist is, because of where they are from whether they accept the label or not. I don't have issues with identifying things for use in conversation and so on. But the attachment to them is a problem and just creates more defenses. The more we avoid a rush to label and box something, the more time it has a chance to grow first. If people are going to start suggesting that Bachelor's Buddhism is Western Buddhism, then that changes things.

    David
  • @karasti said:If people are going to start suggesting that Bachelor's Buddhism is Western Buddhism, then that changes things.

    I think most people associate Bachelor with Secular Buddhism rather than western Buddhism, so I wouldn't worry about it.

  • @karasti said:
    . If people are going to start suggesting that Bachelor's Buddhism is Western Buddhism, then that changes things.

    I'm not sure what you mean, here. I suggested earlier that Batchelor's Buddhism could be a Western Buddhism. It certainly is Western, and it's Buddhism (though some might dispute that ;) ). That doesn't mean it's the only Western Buddhism, or that it claims to represent Western Buddhism as a whole. But it's the first Buddhism that I'm aware of to be a unique "school" or sect generated in the West.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @SpinyNorman Not particularly worried about it. It takes a good 20 years for new trends to get to where I live anyhow, lol. Maybe longer, as the mullet is still in style here...

    @Dakini I don't think it was your comment from earlier, it was something else that was said. i'd go back and look but I'm on my way out, I'll try to remember to check later.

    Depending how you look at things, Trungpa's Shambhala is a western concoction, but it wasn't named and officially used until 2000.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @Dakini said:But it's the first Buddhism that I'm aware of to be a unique "school" or sect generated in the West.

    That would probably be Triratna ( FWBO ), which dates back to the 1970s.

  • @karasti said:> Depending how you look at things, Trungpa's Shambhala is a western concoction, but it wasn't named and officially used until 2000.

    Many of the Buddhist schools we have were tailored for western consumption to some degree or another.

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    That would probably be Triratna ( FWBO ), which dates back to the 1970s.

    I don't know anything about this. Is it mainly a Brit thing? Could you tell us a little about it? Is it some sort of umbrella group for Buddhist sects?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Dakini said:

    @SpinyNorman said:
    That would probably be Triratna ( FWBO ), which dates back to the 1970s.

    I don't know anything about this. Is it mainly a Brit thing? Could you tell us a little about it? Is it some sort of umbrella group for Buddhist sects?

    Here.

    Just Googling.... ;)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Dakini said: I don't know anything about this. Is it mainly a Brit thing?

    Lol.

  • @federica said:

    @Dakini said:

    @SpinyNorman said:
    That would probably be Triratna ( FWBO ), which dates back to the 1970s.

    I don't know anything about this. Is it mainly a Brit thing? Could you tell us a little about it? Is it some sort of umbrella group for Buddhist sects?

    Here.

    Just Googling.... ;)

    Yeah, it started in the UK and then spread to other countries.
    https://thebuddhistcentre.com/text/triratna-around-world

    I very nearly joined the Western Buddhist Order in the 1980s, but decided against it because of concerns about some of the stuff that was going on back then: http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/fwbofiles.htm

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @karasti said:

    Depending how you look at things, Trungpa's Shambhala is a western concoction, but it wasn't named and officially used until 2000.

    He also started the first Tibetan practice school in the west in Scotland in the late 1960s and was a huge proponent for the non-sectarian movement.

    He developed Shambhala in the 70s though.

    I can't paste on my phone but shabhala.org has loads of information about him.

    I like it myself.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Yes, he started his vision and teaching for it, but my understanding is that it wasn't named officially until after he had passed and his son took over the organization. But yes, I agree, the teachings were in place much earlier.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @karasti said:
    Yes, he started his vision and teaching for it, but my understanding is that it wasn't named officially until after he had passed and his son took over the organization. But yes, I agree, the teachings were in place much earlier.

    From what I understand the Shambhala lineage was already established to go from father to son and he had been training his son to take over since he was a child.

    That may have been when the official name change went from the Nalanda Foundation to Shambhala to incorporate everything his father was working on together but Shambhala as a name for his teachings was in place since the 70s.

    It's kind of confusing to follow as he had a varied background.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @David said:

    From what I understand the Shambhala lineage was already established to go from father to son and he had been training his son to take over since he was a child.

    That may have been when the official name change went from the Nalanda Foundation to Shambhala to incorporate everything his father was working on together but Shambhala as a name for his teachings was in place since the 70s.

    It's kind of confusing to follow as he had a varied background.

    CT developed the Shambhala training on his own; a secularized body of teachings for the West. So this might be considered one of the Western schools of Buddhism, as someone mentioned earlier. He originally was educated in the Kagyu lineage, which passes leadership down from uncle to nephew. I don't think it matters, though, because in creating his own "school", he could do whatever he wanted. Though all his sons were recognized tulkus, reincarnate lamas.

    One of his sons is a filmmaker in Canada, and made a film about his search for meaning as a tulku. He says his father never explained what the tulku designation was all about, and what he should expect or achieve in life--how being a tulku made him different from anyone else. So he embarked on his own quest to answer that question. It's a good film.

    https://www.nfb.ca/film/tulku/trailer/tulku_trailer/

    KeromeShoshin
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited September 2016

    I would say it is definitely a western school if we are making the distinction.

    I may have to check out the movie, thanks.

  • possibilitiespossibilities PNW, WA State Veteran

    On topic: trailer to the documentary TULKU, about Trungpa's son Gesur Mukpa and 3 other young men who were recognized as tulkus when they were kids and have lived -and struggled -with this legacy in the west. Have only watched the trailer so far.

    https://www.nfb.ca/film/tulku/trailer/tulku_trailer/

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @possibilities said:
    On topic: trailer to the documentary TULKU, about Trungpa's son Gesur Mukpa and 3 other young men who were recognized as tulkus when they were kids and have lived -and struggled -with this legacy in the west. Have only watched the trailer so far.

    https://www.nfb.ca/film/tulku/trailer/tulku_trailer/

    The link to the trailer was already posted. I enjoyed the film because it was honest and sincere, and not propagandistic. It got into some frank talk about monastic life, among other things. I think it's a little sad, though, that Gesar wasn't given any input from his dad about what his tulku status was about. One of his brothers is also in the film, who is equally puzzled about it all.

    possibilities
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