This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

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Nemo
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This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Nemo » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:28 am

[Mod note: split from Latest report on Shambala abuse just released.]

This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful. The reincarnation of masses of Tibetans in the West after the destruction of Tibet were ideal circumstances. They are old and Dharma was already dwindling before all these scandals. Judging by the fervent demands I get from Dharma centres for money things are not good. These seeds don't seem to like the climate here. Maybe it's time to go back to Asia.

Miroku
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Re: Latest report on Shambala abuse just released.

Post by Miroku » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:33 am

Nemo wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:28 am
This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful. The reincarnation of masses of Tibetans in the West after the destruction of Tibet were ideal circumstances. They are old and Dharma was already dwindling before all these scandals. Judging by the fervent demands I get from Dharma centres for money things are not good. These seeds don't seem to like the climate here. Maybe it's time to go back to Asia.
It would be naive to think it is any better in asia. We just have to realize we need less centers with fancy statues and strange oriental stuff and more practice.
A boat delivers you to the other riverbank.
A needle stitches up your clothes.
A horse takes you where you want to go.
Bodhicitta will bring you to Buddhahood.

~ Khunu Lama Rinpoche

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Aryjna
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Re: Latest report on Shambala abuse just released.

Post by Aryjna » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:49 am

Nemo wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:28 am
This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful. The reincarnation of masses of Tibetans in the West after the destruction of Tibet were ideal circumstances. They are old and Dharma was already dwindling before all these scandals. Judging by the fervent demands I get from Dharma centres for money things are not good. These seeds don't seem to like the climate here. Maybe it's time to go back to Asia.
That is absurd and simply incorrect, especially in comparison with how it was with the establishment of the dharma inTibet, which also faced difficulties. Also, what is the evidence that masses of tibetans reincarnated in the west?

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Anders
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Re: Latest report on Shambala abuse just released.

Post by Anders » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:39 pm

If the proposed solution is to reincarnate in Asia, I would suggest pureland practice might b more reliable and pay greater dividends.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Nemo
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Re: Latest report on Shambala abuse just released.

Post by Nemo » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:32 pm

Like it or not Dharma in the West is failing. You may attempt to stay in a bubble but many high Lamas no longer bother with North America. Fixing problems means facing them. All religions in NA have been steadily graying for decades. People aren't that interested and I see no reason to stuff it down their throats. Shambala, once at the forefront, is probably mortally wounded now. I am questioning the best way forward. I'm not stuck in a country or location. I just need a comfortable place to practice. That may not be North America.

For some reason the next generation of Lamas were not taught English particularly well. So if we don't produce high lamas we simply won't have any great teachers. Without more members Sanghas won't be able to keep the lights on. I have no problems making a shrine at home but obviously that is not how I hope things turn out.

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Re: Latest report on Shambala abuse just released.

Post by Miroku » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:36 pm

Nemo wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:32 pm
Like it or not Dharma in the West is failing. You may attempt to stay in a bubble but many high Lamas no longer bother with North America. Fixing problems means facing them. All religions in NA have been steadily graying for decades. People aren't that interested and I see no reason to stuff it down their throats. Shambala, once at the forefront, is probably mortally wounded now. I am questioning the best way forward. I'm not stuck in a country or location. I just need a comfortable place to practice. That may not be North America.
Which are not bothered? You have Dalailama, Karmapa, Garchen Rinpoche, Dudjom Yangsi and many others going there.
A boat delivers you to the other riverbank.
A needle stitches up your clothes.
A horse takes you where you want to go.
Bodhicitta will bring you to Buddhahood.

~ Khunu Lama Rinpoche

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Nemo
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Re: Latest report on Shambala abuse just released.

Post by Nemo » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:41 pm

You think being at mass events will teach you what you need to know? Do they live here? Did they even learn proper English? I can see this is getting people very defensive. That is good. This glide path is very obvious and should be talked about.

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Re: Latest report on Shambala abuse just released.

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:28 am

Nemo wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:41 pm
You think being at mass events will teach you what you need to know? Do they live here? Did they even learn proper English? I can see this is getting people very defensive. That is good. This glide path is very obvious and should be talked about.
It depends on the person, some can certainly progress from that. There are also qualified but less high profile Lamas, Geshes, etc. teaching in more intimate circumstances in NA, obviously. Yes the graying thing seems true of all religions here. Other than some of the less savory incarnations of Islam in Middle East, what religion do you see attracting a lot of very young people? It's not as if japan (as an example) is known for the intense devotion of it's young (or any really) Buddhists. The only Buddhist groups I see in my corner with any kind of demographic broadness are Pureland groups, often ethnically homogeneous.
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Re: Latest report on Shambala abuse just released.

Post by passel » Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:07 am

You guys are ignoring mindfulness- those scenes are going gangbusters in N America and globally.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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Re: Latest report on Shambala abuse just released.

Post by MiphamFan » Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:06 am

The "mindfulness" materialists pretty much are modern Carvakas, not Bauddhas.

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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by smcj » Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:30 am

Things could be better.
People are really trying.
The jury is still out.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by MiphamFan » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:13 am

I feel like in general, the main aspiration for laypeople in the West is to become serious practitioner-yogis, which overall limits Buddhism's ability to scale and spread, because most people are unable to do this. In Asia, both today and historically, laypeople could aspire to be sponsors of the teachings and maintain their own practice as best as they can in daily life, which I think hasn't really spread to the West.

Buddhism historically had a close relationship with mercantile trade; in its first 1,500 years, it spread mainly through merchants and traders, and it was Arab/Islamic disruption of the former trade routes that ended that relationship in many of the former Buddhist realms. Even in Tibet, many of the prominent lotsawas had either mercantile family backgrounds, were merchants themselves (e.g. Marpa), and were helped along by Tibetan/Nepali/Indian merchants.

The Bodhisattvabhumi by Asanga says that lay bodhisattvas should be skilled in appraisal of goods and business, and aim for big businesses and not minor ones.

I guess this might sound rather materialistic and I'm sure it has been taken to the extremes in practice, which we can still see today in the example of some Chinese sponsors who donate large amounts but don't have much understanding of the teachings or the spread of Michael Roach's "Buddhism for wealth" thingy. But anyway, my point is that this has been part of Buddhism for a long time, but didn't seem to transfer over to the West.

Today, "house churches" are spreading across China because Chinese Christians think they can trust their fellow house-church-goers. Protestant "Gospel of Wealth" stuff is also very popular in Asia. IMO, what they teach is insipid and has little to do with Christianity and more to do with New Thought and self-help, but basically they are filling this niche which Buddhism fulfilled 1,000 years ago.

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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:52 am

smcj wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:30 am
Things could be better.
People are really trying.
The jury is still out.
:namaste:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by kirtu » Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:42 pm

Authentic Bodhicitta has been introduced to the West so the experiment has been successful.
More people are concerned with karma and are more carefully choosing their actions (although not all the time) so the experiment has been successful.
More people are actively engaged with compassion and lovingkindness so the experiment has been successful.
Some people have attained degrees of realization in their lives so the experiment has not been unsuccessful.

Although Buddhism and Buddhist teaching has existed in the West for 150 years, it was really only in the 1950's (with some outliers that happened in the late 1800's through about 1920) that Westerners were exposed en masse to Buddhadharma.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Miroku » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:36 pm

Yes, it is so far quite succesful. Yes there are many problems as we all can see, but if we look at our minds and and our behaviour we can see at least a small change that took place. And that is important.

We are still finding our way how to bring practice into our lives. Things here are different. Way different from what they were 60 years ago in Tibet. A new system has to be found. New way how to do retreats and truly accomplish the fruit. We are still searching. It is honestly stupid to throw away the baby with the water. Yes problems are here, but problems existed when Buddha transmitted the teachings. That is why we have so many rules for monks. Instead of focusing on getting reborn somewhere we should focus on enlightenment.
Last edited by Miroku on Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A boat delivers you to the other riverbank.
A needle stitches up your clothes.
A horse takes you where you want to go.
Bodhicitta will bring you to Buddhahood.

~ Khunu Lama Rinpoche

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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Queequeg » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:37 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:13 am
I feel like in general, the main aspiration for laypeople in the West is to become serious practitioner-yogis, which overall limits Buddhism's ability to scale and spread, because most people are unable to do this. In Asia, both today and historically, laypeople could aspire to be sponsors of the teachings and maintain their own practice as best as they can in daily life, which I think hasn't really spread to the West.

Buddhism historically had a close relationship with mercantile trade; in its first 1,500 years, it spread mainly through merchants and traders, and it was Arab/Islamic disruption of the former trade routes that ended that relationship in many of the former Buddhist realms. Even in Tibet, many of the prominent lotsawas had either mercantile family backgrounds, were merchants themselves (e.g. Marpa), and were helped along by Tibetan/Nepali/Indian merchants.

The Bodhisattvabhumi by Asanga says that lay bodhisattvas should be skilled in appraisal of goods and business, and aim for big businesses and not minor ones.

I guess this might sound rather materialistic and I'm sure it has been taken to the extremes in practice, which we can still see today in the example of some Chinese sponsors who donate large amounts but don't have much understanding of the teachings or the spread of Michael Roach's "Buddhism for wealth" thingy. But anyway, my point is that this has been part of Buddhism for a long time, but didn't seem to transfer over to the West.

Today, "house churches" are spreading across China because Chinese Christians think they can trust their fellow house-church-goers. Protestant "Gospel of Wealth" stuff is also very popular in Asia. IMO, what they teach is insipid and has little to do with Christianity and more to do with New Thought and self-help, but basically they are filling this niche which Buddhism fulfilled 1,000 years ago.
:good:

I know this discussion is split from a Tibetan subject, but more broadly, I suggest looking at SGI-USA based on Nichiren Buddhism. SGI is often criticized and put down by "serious Buddhists" because it presents a simple teaching. Its most prominent draw is promise of material success. In Japan its base is working and mercantile classes (and this has been the case for Nichiren Buddhism back to the 15-16th centuries). If you go to an SGI meeting almost anywhere in N. America, you will encounter the most racially and ethnically diverse sangha along with a lot of young people. Chances are if you meet a black person who says they are Buddhist, they are SGI members.

Not everyone is constitutionally built to be a yogi. However, plenty of people find inspiration in the basic themes of Buddhism - cause and effect (particularly its implications about individual agency), compassion, kindness, wisdom. Not everyone is prepared for or even needs to be able to grasp emptiness and dependent origination except in the broadest strokes. Though this might offend the sensibilities of the high minded, basic happiness for most people involves enough money to live comfortably, good relationships with family and friends, and general worldview that makes sense of things and offers a road map for daily conduct. Popular Buddhism has delivered this for 2 and half millennia.

In our society where people are striving for individual happiness, you cannot underestimate the teachings on cause and effect for showing people their individual agency. Is this emphasis on individual happiness good? I don't know, but this is where our society IS. Is teaching agency bad for people? Will it just exacerbate their unhappiness? Not when the teachings also come with teachings of compassion and kindness and wisdom. These other teachings have the tendency of ameliorating the desperate individualistic drives.

Frankly, yogis exist on a different planet. The average person looks at a yogi and just sees a dropout who maybe needs to take a bath.

We might want to consider - maybe the ideals of Buddhist practice we hold up for people should be Anathapindika and Vimalakirti instead of Milarepa and Bodhidharma.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

Miroku
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Miroku » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:43 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:37 pm
We might want to consider - maybe the ideals of Buddhist practice we hold up for people should be Anathapindika and Vimalakirti instead of Milarepa and Bodhidharma.
:good:

This is important! Just like it is important for us to debate what is a sexual misconduct for a buddhist (nowadays we have so many things that can be considered a sexual misconduct thanks to the internet) we should find our own rolemodels. Milarepa worked great in Tibet, but his teacher Marpa is put aside a bit. Maybe it is time to do things the Marpa way, or as you said Vimalakirti way. But we have to take the teachings and really think about it and practice it.

Thank you for the point!
A boat delivers you to the other riverbank.
A needle stitches up your clothes.
A horse takes you where you want to go.
Bodhicitta will bring you to Buddhahood.

~ Khunu Lama Rinpoche

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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Crazywisdom » Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:51 pm

It’s a work in progress. We need to be realistic about the relationship between laypersons and practitioners.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

PeterC
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Re: Latest report on Shambala abuse just released.

Post by PeterC » Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:58 pm

Nemo wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:32 pm
Like it or not Dharma in the West is failing. You may attempt to stay in a bubble but many high Lamas no longer bother with North America. Fixing problems means facing them. All religions in NA have been steadily graying for decades. People aren't that interested and I see no reason to stuff it down their throats. Shambala, once at the forefront, is probably mortally wounded now. I am questioning the best way forward. I'm not stuck in a country or location. I just need a comfortable place to practice. That may not be North America.

For some reason the next generation of Lamas were not taught English particularly well. So if we don't produce high lamas we simply won't have any great teachers. Without more members Sanghas won't be able to keep the lights on. I have no problems making a shrine at home but obviously that is not how I hope things turn out.
I’m going to have to disagree with almost every sentence in these two paragraphs. Taking them in order:

There are more dharma teachers in non-Asian countries and more practitioners today than there were ten, twenty or fifty years ago. How is that failure?

North America isn’t the only relevant country here.

This post was split off from a long thread about how to face up to and fix a serious problem with one sangha. People aren’t doing nothing.

All religions in NA graying - statistics please, particularly with reference to the Buddhadharma. Religion is far from irrelevant to modern American life.

You’ll find a lot of people here who view the demise of Shambhala as a good thing. There are plenty of other good Sanghas out there. Not all of them are Tibetan.

Many youngner lamas speak very good English, indeed a much greater proportion than the previous generation.

I think you’re being overly dramatic and a bit fact-free here.

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Re: Latest report on Shambala abuse just released.

Post by Queequeg » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:13 pm

PeterC wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:58 pm
There are more dharma teachers in non-Asian countries and more practitioners today than there were ten, twenty or fifty years ago. How is that failure?
A number bigger than zero does not give us much information.
North America isn’t the only relevant country here.


So take it as the scope of the discussion.
This post was split off from a long thread about how to face up to and fix a serious problem with one sangha. People aren’t doing nothing.


Rearranging deck chairs maybe?
All religions in NA graying - statistics please, particularly with reference to the Buddhadharma. Religion is far from irrelevant to modern American life.
Here you go:
http://www.pewforum.org/religious-lands ... illennial/
You’ll find a lot of people here who view the demise of Shambhala as a good thing. There are plenty of other good Sanghas out there. Not all of them are Tibetan.


True.
Many youngner lamas speak very good English, indeed a much greater proportion than the previous generation.
This is promising.

In general I agree the pessimism is excessive. This transmission of Dharma is a generational process with ups and downs.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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