This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

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Simon E.
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Simon E. » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:09 am

Many years ago I said to a much more experienced Dharma student 'Western dharma is going to fail, it is already failing. It will never successfully transplant to the west'
She replied. 'You are projecting, because you are having difficulty with your practice'.


She was right.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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Anders
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Anders » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:56 am

Queequeg wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:37 pm
Crazywisdom wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:29 pm
We need a strong subculture of Western Buddhist nomads.
You're talking about tumbleweed yogis. They depend on the settled communities for their support. They've always been a counter-culture. You need the community householders to support that. Horse before the cart.
Ajahn Chah once asked Ajahn sumedho if he would consider going on tudong in the UK. He said "impossible. People don't know our customs. I'd starve." to which Ajahn Chah said "you mean to tell me there are no generous people in the UK"?

I remember talking to a forest monk some years ago who talked about when he actually went on tudong back in the 80s. As monks wholly reliant on food donated on their morning walk and not being allowed to approach people, it was a big leap of faith to do so without planning in the UK where people didn't know about Buddhist monks or their customs. He told me there was never a single day they went hungry. Wherever they went, there were always people who would approach and ask what they were up to, at which point they were allowed to explain. And which inevitably resulted in food donated.

I think people don't give enough credit to human nature and how the buddha set up his system based on this, and not just Indian custom. People recognise a worthwhile endeavour on an instinctive level as something worth supporting.
"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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Anders
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Anders » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:01 am

Queequeg wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:33 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:12 am
I wonder if Zen is doing well because it was popularised back in the hippy days and has had more time to establish. I was maybe more typical in finding it through martial arts - we created a Dojo with a Zendo above it back in the 1990's. I didn't have time to get into it properly though as work took me elsewhere.
May also have something to do with the stripped down teachings and aesthetics. Not everyone takes to Boho chic explosions of color. Apple, and tech companies in general, have been tending to clean lines and simplicity... might be an indication of what contemporary minds tend toward.
I think a big reason Zen is doing well is that it actually has produced Western dharma heirs and western communities grounded in a transition to Western culture. Vajrayana is, generally speaking, still very much an export, where Tibetans fly in with their Tibetan cultural bells and whistles, but the transmission remains in the hands of Tibetans.
"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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Queequeg
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Queequeg » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:44 pm

PeterC wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:36 am
Queequeg wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:53 am

I think we're talking about different things, but I'll roll.

The flow of Dana is an indication that the lay community enthusiastically supports dharma. Corruption is a separate issue.

I don't disagree with what you're saying about the importance of teachers, but, its frankly odd to put emphasis on teachers to the exclusion of the assembly. They're one and the same. No assembly, no teachers. No assembly in NA, no teachers in NA. No assembly, no corrupt, bankrupt institutions, either, so I guess there's that.
I guess the - and I hate this term - mental model we're employing is probably different. Clearly zero sangha means zero teachers. But I don't think a large sangha in a given geography is a measure of success. Actually I don't think a large sangha anywhere is a measure of success. A temple with two monks doing serious practice is worth more than one with a thousand lay devotees burning incense but nobody studying a single line of a sutra, because the former will sustain the Dharma and the latter will not. These are of course extreme examples, and the counterargument would be, surely the second model generates enough income to sustain more serious practitioners than the first, which it clearly does. However - and this isn't just splitting hairs, I think - the measure of success is the number of serious practitioners. The number of incense-burners is irrelevant.

One doesn't need there to be a Dharma center down the road to be able to practice the Dharma and for the Dharma to be preserved. One needs to be able to access, periodically, a good quality teacher. A huge easily accessible sangha with no good teachers is, IMHO, much less desirable than that. I fear the scenario where the pressures of maintaining large organizations result in fewer really great teachers emerging, and from there all the standard signs of the decline of the Dharma result.

Anyway. Anyone in NA can, with very little effort, make contact with a good teacher and receive instruction. Ditto Europe and most of Asia. (Nobody seems particularly concerned about Africa and the Pacific Islands - I guess their karma isn't quite there yet?) The more I read the title to this thread, the more absurd it seems.
I think the problem is that you are pitting this as a debate about two starkly different models. I'm not arguing for one particular model.
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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Nemo
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Nemo » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:26 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:44 pm
PeterC wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:36 am
Queequeg wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:53 am

I think we're talking about different things, but I'll roll.

The flow of Dana is an indication that the lay community enthusiastically supports dharma. Corruption is a separate issue.

I don't disagree with what you're saying about the importance of teachers, but, its frankly odd to put emphasis on teachers to the exclusion of the assembly. They're one and the same. No assembly, no teachers. No assembly in NA, no teachers in NA. No assembly, no corrupt, bankrupt institutions, either, so I guess there's that.
I guess the - and I hate this term - mental model we're employing is probably different. Clearly zero sangha means zero teachers. But I don't think a large sangha in a given geography is a measure of success. Actually I don't think a large sangha anywhere is a measure of success. A temple with two monks doing serious practice is worth more than one with a thousand lay devotees burning incense but nobody studying a single line of a sutra, because the former will sustain the Dharma and the latter will not. These are of course extreme examples, and the counterargument would be, surely the second model generates enough income to sustain more serious practitioners than the first, which it clearly does. However - and this isn't just splitting hairs, I think - the measure of success is the number of serious practitioners. The number of incense-burners is irrelevant.

One doesn't need there to be a Dharma center down the road to be able to practice the Dharma and for the Dharma to be preserved. One needs to be able to access, periodically, a good quality teacher. A huge easily accessible sangha with no good teachers is, IMHO, much less desirable than that. I fear the scenario where the pressures of maintaining large organizations result in fewer really great teachers emerging, and from there all the standard signs of the decline of the Dharma result.

Anyway. Anyone in NA can, with very little effort, make contact with a good teacher and receive instruction. Ditto Europe and most of Asia. (Nobody seems particularly concerned about Africa and the Pacific Islands - I guess their karma isn't quite there yet?) The more I read the title to this thread, the more absurd it seems.
I think the problem is that you are pitting this as a debate about two starkly different models. I'm not arguing for one particular model.
People so advanced they don't need Dharma and can practice anywhere is not the topic. Many beings come back only to teach Dharma. Some good teachers in NA are rotting on the vine due to a lack of money. Long retreats are not possible here without money. Even for the most gifted. Getting it takes years unless you are one of the arrogant upper middle class Buddhists who gets money/support from mom and dad. Many promising students live enslaved to terrible jobs for the best years of their lives and then keep working to take on the burden of supporting others. It sucks for them. Reducing that load would be an excellent goal. I've seen high Tibetan Tulkus working as security guards or janitors in hospitals. That at least has improved. The goal is for anyone in NA to have the supports to practice. To pretend things are fine neglects the fact that they could be better. You completely miss that with support promising students can grow and without it they wither.

On a personal level the need for Dharma support is going beyond my comfort range so I'm cranky. I'm about a 10% of net donation guy and things are so dire it's pushing 20% and it is starting to wear as this has been an extended period. I'm not hurting. It's just makes life very boring to lose so much disposable income when you are retired. I don't want to go back to work. But the founders of Dharma in NA are not doing great and government pensions have been defacto looted with inflation, etc. It just seems a bit unfair for them.

Simon E.
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Simon E. » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:43 pm

Crazywisdom wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:12 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:37 pm
Crazywisdom wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:29 pm
We need a strong subculture of Western Buddhist nomads.
You're talking about tumbleweed yogis. They depend on the settled communities for their support. They've always been a counter-culture. You need the community householders to support that. Horse before the cart.
Not really. Trungpa described in a way that made it seem grand.
CTR.. the real one, not a fantasy character on which to project desires, insisted vehemently and frequently that we his students should earn a decent living and not drop out or be some kind of hippy.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

zerwe
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by zerwe » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:07 pm

IMO, we have the Eight Freedoms and Ten Richnesses. The only thing that separates us from actualizing Dharma
is honest practice, a lack of faith, and a self-cherishing attitude. When I examine (check up) I may think that I am living in refuge and guru devotion, but really I am living in the eight-worldly dharmas. We have a perfect human rebirth. All we need is honest practice and guru devotion. Location and close proximity to the teacher is irrelevant.
Shaun :namaste:

Crazywisdom
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Crazywisdom » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:33 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:05 pm
PeterC wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:45 am
The only measure of success or failure is practitioners coming closer to liberation and, as a support for that, the dharma being preserved and made available in the world.
Can't measure awakening.

You can measure financial health. Bob Thurman has opined Dharma has not yet taken in the West, and the indication that it has will be the financial support of Dharma teachers, institutions, etc.
Buddhist cops on a lama’s payroll.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

Crazywisdom
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Crazywisdom » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:39 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:09 am
Many years ago I said to a much more experienced Dharma student 'Western dharma is going to fail, it is already failing. It will never successfully transplant to the west'
She replied. 'You are projecting, because you are having difficulty with your practice'.


She was right.
That’s it. People are attracted to Buddha and yogis. Westerns just have to figure out how to manifest qualities.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

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Queequeg
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Queequeg » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:46 pm

Nemo wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:26 pm
On a personal level the need for Dharma support is going beyond my comfort range so I'm cranky. I'm about a 10% of net donation guy and things are so dire it's pushing 20% and it is starting to wear as this has been an extended period. I'm not hurting. It's just makes life very boring to lose so much disposable income when you are retired. I don't want to go back to work. But the founders of Dharma in NA are not doing great and government pensions have been defacto looted with inflation, etc. It just seems a bit unfair for them.
Brother, you are going above and beyond. We are assured that no meritorious act passes without generating exponential good will. This is why its important to cultivate a broad base of support on a spectrum from the folks throwing coins into a donation box with a vague prayer for "Good Luck in Business" to the perfected giving of the advanced bodhisattva. The Great Vehicle carries everyone.
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

Crazywisdom
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Crazywisdom » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:00 pm

The best support for dharma is practice. You folks don’t strike me as the types only to show up at a special event. You folks do sadhanas. So keep it up. If you’re a wealthy patron, great. If you can start a center, start one. I had a woman over and she was amazed by the shrine. Great conversation starter. She’s from Panama, so hey. Never know where this thing is going to branch out.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

PeterC
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by PeterC » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:03 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:44 pm


I think the problem is that you are pitting this as a debate about two starkly different models. I'm not arguing for one particular model.
Then I’m not clear what you’re arguing for. But it seems we don’t disagree on the original proposition. So perhaps we leave it there.

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Queequeg
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Queequeg » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:06 pm

:cheers:
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

Fortyeightvows
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Fortyeightvows » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:23 am

Nemo wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:26 pm
Taiwan is where you go to fund your monastery now.
I often joke that I've been involved with tibetan buddhism do so long that I can remember when the lamas used to recognize western people as tulkus!

Crazywisdom
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Crazywisdom » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:04 am

Anders wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:56 am
Queequeg wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:37 pm
Crazywisdom wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:29 pm
We need a strong subculture of Western Buddhist nomads.
You're talking about tumbleweed yogis. They depend on the settled communities for their support. They've always been a counter-culture. You need the community householders to support that. Horse before the cart.
Ajahn Chah once asked Ajahn sumedho if he would consider going on tudong in the UK. He said "impossible. People don't know our customs. I'd starve." to which Ajahn Chah said "you mean to tell me there are no generous people in the UK"?

I remember talking to a forest monk some years ago who talked about when he actually went on tudong back in the 80s. As monks wholly reliant on food donated on their morning walk and not being allowed to approach people, it was a big leap of faith to do so without planning in the UK where people didn't know about Buddhist monks or their customs. He told me there was never a single day they went hungry. Wherever they went, there were always people who would approach and ask what they were up to, at which point they were allowed to explain. And which inevitably resulted in food donated.

I think people don't give enough credit to human nature and how the buddha set up his system based on this, and not just Indian custom. People recognise a worthwhile endeavour on an instinctive level as something worth supporting.
+1
I got my Chili Chilaya.

Crazywisdom
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Crazywisdom » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:08 am

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:43 pm
Crazywisdom wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:12 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:37 pm


You're talking about tumbleweed yogis. They depend on the settled communities for their support. They've always been a counter-culture. You need the community householders to support that. Horse before the cart.
Not really. Trungpa described in a way that made it seem grand.
CTR.. the real one, not a fantasy character on which to project desires, insisted vehemently and frequently that we his students should earn a decent living and not drop out or be some kind of hippy.
I heard a talk he gave where he described a new western society with grand tents and rugs, elaborate entourage, a mobile high civilization. I was intrigued by the idea and read up on historical examples. Folk like Bedouin, Tibetans or Srivjaya had some permanent settlements but kept on the move, by necessity and/or for commerce. There’s nothing hippy drop out tumbleweed about it. It can be wildly wealthy and lavish. It just happens to be nomadic.

Anyway I think it’s a brilliant and revolutionary idea to establish a modern nomadism that has international commercial interests, can stay on the move and support dharma activists.

I personally make a lot money and would never drop out and be a tumbleweed yogi. I would, however, travel all the time and stay with the guru’s instructions to leave one’s Homeland and never look back. To do that means having an income that can travel with me. In the internet age, if one is willing to educate oneself, take risks and work hard, it is very doable.

Also with advances in material and fabrication tech, I can imagine some bright mind inventing a fantastic caravan that unfurls into something magnificent and quickly folded up and who knows flies to the next place.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

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Sonam Wangchug
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Sonam Wangchug » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:05 am

Nemo wrote:
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.
It's still far too early to say.

& while one can speak of failure on a general level ( if that's your opinion), there can still be many success stories on individual levels.

Just like how we are in the age of degeneration right now, generally speaking. However, there can still be success realized practitioners within these times individually.

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:44 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:09 am
Many years ago I said to a much more experienced Dharma student 'Western dharma is going to fail, it is already failing. It will never successfully transplant to the west'
She replied. 'You are projecting, because you are having difficulty with your practice'.


She was right.
:good:

Interest in others' shortcomings is already straying from the path.
To the degree that I have rankled at such mistakes, that much my pride was acting unseen.
Amitābha Buddha!

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions. Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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odysseus
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by odysseus » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:38 am

My view is that Buddhism in the West is doing well. If we view past the prophecy that Buddhism will decline, I think it looks bright. It's only a century since it was introduced. The most important is that it's accessible to people. No worries about bad organisation or bad teachers or lack of teachers. If a Westerner is truly interested, he will find his way and it's of course possible to become enlightened even in modern times.

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Minobu
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Re: This Western Dharma experiment has been unsuccessful

Post by Minobu » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:11 pm

In the end I realized i have everything i need built into me...the teachings pointed them out to me.

People will always look towards something exterior to guide, heal, and make them happy...

best is to drop the centres , the gurus, everything once you exhausted the teachings and do it with what you are.

you are a potential Buddha, you are a Buddha , the potential is taught..the Buddha is there..

sadly a lot of the rinpoches are really into money and making their families rich and comfortable...

leave them...after you learnt what they had to offer...

try doing it on your own..

maybe if you get lucky and earned it....

a buddha will appear and take you under their wing..not unlike some of the myths of the past.

thats the real deal....

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