plwk wrote:how many Buddhists and their teachers actually engage in analysis as recommended by the texts and teachers that you quote in here?
I am unaware of any research on that subject. I think it is natural that Buddhist communities eventually reflect the larger society in that only a few belong to the class of literati. And the majority of Buddhist texts are produced by them and read by them. As I have seen, most of the Westerners interested in Buddhism come from that class. Therefore it looks sensible to propagate analytical meditation, as it might be actually more fitting than other methods, although it is understandable that people who daily use their intelligence in their line of work are attracted to something that appears to be trans/non-conceptual. DT Suzuki thought that Shin Buddhism could match Western people because of its similarity to Christian teachings, but it's turned out that exactly because of Shinshu's aura of religiousness many don't even accept it as Buddhist. Somewhat similarly to that, the teachings of Abhidharma, Madhyamaka and Yogacara are mostly subjects of academic studies and only recently has some books appeared with a Buddhist audience in mind.
And to what extent is that analysis utilitarian for most people here who are more interested if the stock market will plunge or if next week's astrology chart is favourable? Sounds like worldlings?
That is perfectly normal. There is a nice book
by Faure discussing common misconceptions about Buddhism. Among those the role of meditation is discussed, and how it is not at all as ubiquitous in Buddhism as many believe. In fact, it is practised mostly by only a handful of monastics. But as we can see, in the West the majority of Buddhist communities consisting of middle class people are centred around meditation. And there is the other side, often neglected when surveying the Buddhist scene, the Buddhist courses at universities. It's as if those who study Buddhism in established higher educational institution were non-existent or irrelevant.
No, I found them in many centres. Most people are struggling with bread and butter issues to even be bothered with much Dharma analysis, perhaps some taking an easier way out by relying on a teacher to do their homework for them and then taking it by 'faith' than cracking their skulls over it.
True, but they are not the only demographic group. And I am not saying everyone should immediately study Nagarjuna and Aryadeva. At the same time, since those you refer to have little interest in liberation, they are not the right audience for engaging in vipasyana.
Superiority, exclusivity Astus? In many places that I have been to, the vital importance of analysis is merely a nicely decorated poster slogan in the kitchen, even in Theravadin ones! But at the end of the day, nothing much of what I see pages of scholastic assertions on forums ever happens in real life Samghas, from my limited experience other than the usual housewife gossips. If you know of one that engages in compatible stringent analysis of Dharma & Vinaya in a real life Samgha practice and lifestyle, let me know.
You are right. Even monastic communities often have other things to busy themselves with. On the other hand, you might find such groups at universities. (note: it is a prejudice to say that all those who study texts are not practitioners)
Let's import what you quoted here say to the shores of Japan, say in the time of Honen and Shinran and even today amongst their adherents, what do you think?
Both Honen and Shinran belonged to the educated monastic elite from a good family background. As for preaching to the illiterate masses, they did a great job. I personally like their approach to the whole matter. Although others like to say as well that their teaching is available to everyone, actually I don't see any other tradition as open and embracing as the Pure Land path. In a sense, it is truly the original intention of Shakyamuni.
Will it work? And to what extent? I dare not say there's no analysis of Dharma at all but rather not to the point of what Kamalasila or Vimalamitra teaches. I am all for what you are advocating here but perhaps, it only works for a limited few. For the rest of us, there are other methods, apparently...
Buddhism as a whole works only for a limited few. Just consider the size of humanity. Then think about the percentage of Buddhists, and then the number of Buddhists who actually care about the Dharma. So, it's all very limited.
As for the applicability of analysis, I think it is mostly for those who are inclined to reasoning and study. And there are quite a few of them on this forum.