You seem to be unaware of the tremendous influence that other traditions have already had in establishing Buddhism in the modern West, such as Zen has had in the America thanks primarily to D.T. Suzuki. The influence of Zen on the arts is far greater than most realize from music (John Cage, Leonard Cohen), literature (Ginsberg, Snyder, etc. etc.), visual arts (Gauguin, Odilon Redon, van Gogh, Ralph Meatyard, Wynn Bullock, Agnes Martin, Brancusi, etc. etc.) and Theravada has had a particularly strong influence on modern psychology and just look at the prevalence of "mindfulness" thanks to the Vipassana movement. Meanwhile Tibetan lamas tendency to cling to their own cultural heritage has kept and will almost assuredly keep it's own unique brand as a minority fringe religion within Western culture. If it wasn't for the juggernaut of the Dalai Lama's PR machine few people would have ever heard of the Tibetan tradition.smcj wrote:That's not to say I do not appreciate America and it's contribution to the entire world in the last 200 years. In the same vein Tibet may yet be recognized for its contribution-- but only if this hand off to the West works.
Furthermore, people seem to have the mistaken impression that Buddhism and particularly Tibetan Buddhism, has only recently been introduced to the West, yet as far back as the 3rd. century the great Greek philosopher Plotinus joined the army of Alexander the Great because he wanted to study with the Buddhists in India. In the 17th century Leibniz wrote on Buddhism, in the late 18th/early 19th century. Schopenhauer in particular was strongly influenced by his studies of Buddhism, and Hegel and other philosophers were all familiar with and wrote about it. In the 1870's, Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical movement popularized Buddhism and Tibet in particular. Also in the late 1800's Rhys Davids and the Pali Text Society published numerous translations of Buddhist texts including the complete Vinaya. And this is just scratching the surface to provide a few examples. So i believe it is important to keep a broad perspective when discussing the "introduction" of Buddhism to the West.