Karma Dorje wrote:Question for Malcolm et al: define "early age" for the purpose of this conversation. what age of taking an interest might indicate such a thing?
Monkey Magic for me! Kung-fu didn't hold that much appeal for me as a kid.Punya wrote:Kung fu
zerwe wrote:Khedrup, I have found the opposite. Where I practice has ethnically one of the most
mixed groups of people I have encountered. While, the majority are Caucasian we have Tibetan, Afro-American,
Native American, South American, Indian, Chinese and South East Asian people represented. Age and socio-economic-status
are also representative of a surprisingly broad range. Overall, I would say it might be more diverse than a somewhat liberal Catholic congregation in
a small to moderate sized urban area.
I was a new ager when I was 17, a hindu for half a summer while 18, started identifying as Buddhist at the end of 18, started going to a Tibetan Buddhist temple at 19, and then took refuge this year with HHST at 20!....I remember thinking about an aspect of tonglen a couple of times as a kid. If any of you people played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic you'd remember the character Bastila who was adept in a special force power called battle meditation, where she could boost the morale of entire armies (the Republic) while hindering the morale for the enemy (the Sith). It made me think, "if she had all that power then why wouldn't she just take all the suffering of all the beings upon herself and make them happy? If I could do that, would I? I would!". And then a few days after, I thought about it again, "Would I still do that? I would!". And then I proceeded to live the rest of my childhood as a little punk shit.
Zhen Li wrote: My experience is simply that the social justice approach to Buddhism tends to have a disconnect with how things actually work and have actually been going on the ground, despite its sanctimonious claim to the contrary.
Zhen Li wrote:For most of it's history, Chinese Buddhists, despite having so many learned teachers and writers themselves, viewed China as a Buddhist backwater, the borderlands, and anything from the west (India and Central Asia) was taken as holy simply by virtue of its provenance, which is more or less what we do today. It took centuries to get beyond that mentality.
On one of his missions to Middle India, the Tang diplomat Wang Xuance is reported to have learned from the abbot of Mahābodhi Monastery about a belief among Indian clergy that when corrupt doctrines eventually eclipse the Indic lands, genuine Buddhist doctrines will continue to flourish in the peripheral east. In other words, after the disappearance of Buddhist doctrines from India, China would emerge as the new Buddhist realm. If this is indeed a true reflection of views of the seventh-century Indian clergy and not a fabrication of the Chinese Buddhists, it would not only explain the attempts by some of the South and Central Asian monks to authenticate the presence of bodhisattva Mañjuśrī at Mount Wutai, but also the increasing number of Indian and foreign monks making pilgrimage to China.
Zhen Li wrote:I'm not in a Sangha in the US either. Haha, I'm just going to add location to my sidebar profile... This happens everyday it seems. The kind of social justice approach to Buddhism is framing things in terms of how the current state of affairs is doing injustice to people of certain races or genders -- except white "cisgender"-males, they need to "check their privilege."
Indrajala wrote:Tansen Sen convincingly argues that by the mid-Tang the Chinese sangha had started seeing themselves as an authentic "Buddhist realm". This is why native schools like Chan and Tiantai really developed and took root while imported models from India increasingly became less popular, like Vajrayāna.
Curiously, I sometimes hear around Asia the belief that perhaps Buddhadharma will thrive in the west in the future while it declines and becomes increasingly irrelevant in Asian countries.
Indrajala wrote:That remains to be seen. In any case, in the English language we have so much material cataloged and a good amount of it translated. In a century most of the materials in the canons will probably be fully translated into English. As to whether a long-term clergy will be established and maintained, I doubt it will happen in the foreseeable future, but there are nevertheless presently many practitioners and scholars of Buddhism.
uan wrote:I can see where social justice can grow out of one's practice as an expression of Buddhadarma. But the key question is what is the real foundation? Dharma or Social Justice. If one makes the Dharma an expression, or extension, of their social justice goals and objectives, are they practicing Dharma? I was listening to a Buddhist Geeks podcast on this topic. It felt wrong on several levels, including defining a buddhist in terms of their activism, or lack of.
Zhen Li wrote:Yes, I can certainly see how that perception might change. Whereas in India, most Buddhists either had to adjust to increasing persecution or become irrelevant, in China, you could maintain a rather straightforward Mahayana (or Vinaya and Ch'an) approach without much difficulty.
The question is indeed one of establishing clergy or not.
Also, as you're likely familiar with, Indrajala, many academic fora for Buddhist Studies often end up being just as fruitful in terms of genuinely useful information for practice and understanding.
Sherab Dorje wrote:Monkey Magic for me! Kung-fu didn't hold that much appeal for me as a kid.
Indrajala wrote:Yes, but the erudite scholars of Buddhism in the west tend to cover their own expenses and/or have a salary from a secular university. Again, western Buddhists are not particularly interested in paying for such a community. They might buy their books, but that's about it.
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