Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

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AkashicBrother
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Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by AkashicBrother » Sun May 12, 2019 7:14 am

The situation of mahayana buddhism in asia is kinda grim, to be honest. there is a timid growth in china and taiwan , but in korea and japan its decreasing. in vietnam and mongolia its stagnated. in east asia though, theravada buddhism is solid and wont decrease much. i think its sad that theravada and mahayana never reached a consensus through some kind of forum or world meeting to unite buddhism and make it stronger, in order to perform better missionary activities and charity.

but what are the prospects for growth of mahayana in asia. specially in china?

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by mikenz66 » Sun May 12, 2019 8:34 am

What are the statistics in Taiwan? I've not been there, so I'm not sure how to compare it, with, say, Thailand. However, I do know that Fo Guang Shan is well-represented in New Zealand, and is an important for the local Chinese community, in the same way that the Thai monasteries here are important for the Thai community. They are, by nature, much more organised and community-focused than the Thai, but I really have not idea of the relative percentages for whom Buddhism is an important part of their lives.

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by Miroku » Sun May 12, 2019 9:18 am

Of course it will be gone one day. It's only natural. We are slowly losing our merit to have such precious teachings. But it will also come back with buddha Maitreya. So... yeah. What you can do is try support some good organizations and practice really well.
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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by Vasana » Sun May 12, 2019 11:02 am

I think as climate change progresses and extreme weather events increase there may be a boost of interest in religion.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by Brunelleschi » Sun May 12, 2019 11:41 am

It's relative percentage of the population will decline. Most likely "secular" values will increase. Perhaps there can be a resurgence of modern/secular buddhism like there has been in the west.

I started a thread about a similar topic no too long ago: viewtopic.php?f=47&t=30436&p=480960#p480875

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by Wayfarer » Sun May 12, 2019 12:53 pm

It's a pretty pointless line of speculation, in light of the recent UN report that a thousand species of plant and animal are facing extinction. That is far graver problem than anything that might or might not happen to Mahayana Buddhism.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by Brunelleschi » Sun May 12, 2019 1:42 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 12:53 pm
It's a pretty pointless line of speculation, in light of the recent UN report that a thousand species of plant and animal are facing extinction. That is far graver problem than anything that might or might not happen to Mahayana Buddhism.
Not from a buddhist point of view, no. Thousands and thousands of plant and animals species have gone extinct throughout the course of history. They will contine doing so.

Furthermore, decreased materialism and the value put on nature (i.e. nature as an "altar" in some forms of japanese buddhism) could possibly help counteract environmental pollution. Anyway, this is off topic.

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by Vasana » Sun May 12, 2019 2:55 pm

Brunelleschi wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 1:42 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 12:53 pm
It's a pretty pointless line of speculation, in light of the recent UN report that a thousand species of plant and animal are facing extinction. That is far graver problem than anything that might or might not happen to Mahayana Buddhism.
Not from a buddhist point of view, no. Thousands and thousands of plant and animals species have gone extinct throughout the course of history. They will contine doing so.

Furthermore, decreased materialism and the value put on nature (i.e. nature as an "altar" in some forms of japanese buddhism) could possibly help counteract environmental pollution. Anyway, this is off topic.
I don't think it's off topic. Climate breakdown, the loss of biodiversity and the global ecological crisis we're in will directly effect population sizes and thus religious affiliations. The Tibetan glacial melt alone will impact the lives of billions further downstream in Asia too.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by AkashicBrother » Mon May 13, 2019 4:18 pm

What is most damaging in the missionary spread of buddhism is the very poor organization. In terms of organization, buddhism is quite inferior to christianity and even islam. That is a shame because buddhism is superior in philosophy to other religions. the best religious philosophy other than buddhism is vedanta.

The truth is, buddhism needs more centralization. that is why i mentioned that is a disgrace that theravada and mahayana never unifyed. when buddhism was the most centralized (during the Ashoka kingdom) it was precisely when it had the apogee of its missionary activity. That also happened in china during the tang dinasty when it was initially supported by queen Wu Zetian. Same in japan when it was supported by the emperors in the beginning of the middle ages. The pattern was always more centralization equals more spreading of buddhism.

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by Brunelleschi » Mon May 13, 2019 8:34 pm

AkashicBrother wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 4:18 pm
What is most damaging in the missionary spread of buddhism is the very poor organization. In terms of organization, buddhism is quite inferior to christianity and even islam. That is a shame because buddhism is superior in philosophy to other religions. the best religious philosophy other than buddhism is vedanta.

The truth is, buddhism needs more centralization. that is why i mentioned that is a disgrace that theravada and mahayana never unifyed. when buddhism was the most centralized (during the Ashoka kingdom) it was precisely when it had the apogee of its missionary activity. That also happened in china during the tang dinasty when it was initially supported by queen Wu Zetian. Same in japan when it was supported by the emperors in the beginning of the middle ages. The pattern was always more centralization equals more spreading of buddhism.
That's a good point actually - throughout its history Buddhism has thrived Because it was backed by the state.

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Mon May 13, 2019 8:59 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 12:53 pm
It's a pretty pointless line of speculation, in light of the recent UN report that a thousand species of plant and animal are facing extinction. That is far graver problem than anything that might or might not happen to Mahayana Buddhism.
Definitely not so for me as a Mahayana Buddhist. Without the Dharma, there is no point to life... Everyone just cycles around Samsara without any hope of liberation.

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Mon May 13, 2019 9:00 pm

AkashicBrother wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 4:18 pm
What is most damaging in the missionary spread of buddhism is the very poor organization. In terms of organization, buddhism is quite inferior to christianity and even islam. That is a shame because buddhism is superior in philosophy to other religions. the best religious philosophy other than buddhism is vedanta.

The truth is, buddhism needs more centralization. that is why i mentioned that is a disgrace that theravada and mahayana never unifyed. when buddhism was the most centralized (during the Ashoka kingdom) it was precisely when it had the apogee of its missionary activity. That also happened in china during the tang dinasty when it was initially supported by queen Wu Zetian. Same in japan when it was supported by the emperors in the beginning of the middle ages. The pattern was always more centralization equals more spreading of buddhism.
I'm not very into missionaries and proselytizing. I'm quite confident genuine Mahayana will still last for quite some time among sincere practitioners. I think this is more important than just inflating some numbers that don't necessarily correspond to genuine practice. I also don't like centralization and big organized religious groups, but that is perhaps a personal flaw.

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by Dan74 » Mon May 13, 2019 9:29 pm

AkashicBrother wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 4:18 pm
What is most damaging in the missionary spread of buddhism is the very poor organization. In terms of organization, buddhism is quite inferior to christianity and even islam. That is a shame because buddhism is superior in philosophy to other religions. the best religious philosophy other than buddhism is vedanta.

The truth is, buddhism needs more centralization. that is why i mentioned that is a disgrace that theravada and mahayana never unifyed. when buddhism was the most centralized (during the Ashoka kingdom) it was precisely when it had the apogee of its missionary activity. That also happened in china during the tang dinasty when it was initially supported by queen Wu Zetian. Same in japan when it was supported by the emperors in the beginning of the middle ages. The pattern was always more centralization equals more spreading of buddhism.
I am not too sure this is the right way forward. In Buddhism, it is believed that one has to have the karmic roots to understand and embrace the teaching. Forceful promotion may be good for Coca-Cola but it's not really the way forward when it comes to the Dharma. That said, I do think it's important to make the Dharma available.

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by Wayfarer » Mon May 13, 2019 10:10 pm

I didn’t mean to imply that it doesn’t matter if Mahāyāna was to die out and I really don’t believe it will. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t see the prospect as something of concern.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by Queequeg » Mon May 13, 2019 10:16 pm

Some thoughts related to the thread:

1. Corollary to state support for Buddhism, which enables it to thrive, is state suppression of Buddhism. Arguably the latter is what happens when the the regime that supports Buddhism is toppled and replaced. In China, although Buddhism thrived under the patronage of Tang rulers, it also suffered the greatest persecution in Chinese history in 845 under a Tang Emperor. Chinese Buddhism never recovered. It never matched the vitality of the mid-Tang. In Japan, Buddhism flourished in the Nara and Heian periods, and even the Kamakura period when the 8 schools were in decline, popular movements arose and revitalized Buddhism for a while; when the country descended into a drawn out civil unrest, Buddhism, especially institutional Buddhism suffered. The strict regulation of Buddhism in the Edo period, which also came with patronage, I would argue, is when the vitality was squeezed out of Japanese Buddhism, and the persecution of Buddhism at the opening of the Meiji period was just a matter of kicking in a facade that had been hollowed out for centuries. Bob Thurman argues that state patronage is not something to be courted because it leads to dependence and identity with the state. When a particular government falls, Buddhist institutions are persecuted as arms of the defeated state.

2. The traditional forms of lay Buddhism have lost their legs. I don't think encouraging lay people to build merit for a heavenly birth is all that compelling anymore. There are some "Prosperity Dharma" schools out there, but the appeal of those approaches is limited.

3. A lot of traditions have stories about the authentic dharma spreading in the age of degeneration. What is meant by the authentic dharma? I'm not sure, but maybe its the dropping of those stories traditionally told to lay people and instead spreading the teachings usually reserved for monastics and other advanced practitioners - direct experience of the true aspect. What is it that causes some people to turn to Buddhism and not be able to turn away? I'd argue it starts with a momentary experience of something realer than anything else we encounter in our ordinary, samsaric life. "What the heck was that?!!!"

Then we encounter teachings that resonate and seem to explain the experience.
If you rush from place to place in search of [the truth] when you have not yet heard [these teachings], and then hear them, and the mind striving upward finally finds rest—this is called “[samatha]” [at the verbal level]. To have faith in [a verbal and conceptual understanding of] Dharma-nature and not [yet] have faith in the variety [of wider implications] is called [vipasyana] [at the verbal level].
-Zhiyi

There's probably still large populations that might be receptive to "Prosperity Dharma", but many of those people have already found their "Prosperity" teachings, which also tend to come with all kinds of conditioned biases and fears. For such a persons the thought of dropping one "Prosperity" teaching for another, especially when that means risking going to hell for buying into such devil's work, Buddhism probably just doesn't hold much appeal. Asia is probably already saturated with Prosperity Dharma, and its in decline.

What Buddhism does uniquely offer, though, is the language and ideas needed when people have those spontaneous moments of clarity and see through, but, lack the means to understand it, let alone cultivate it. Buddha Dharma readily has the language and practices to explain it correctly and critically, give tools to cultivate it.

Seems to me, if Buddhism will flourish, it will be because it will rise to the need of people as they have existential meltdowns in the face of an increasingly incoherent world of meaning.

If Buddha Dharma doesn't meet that need, the it should not be mourned for its loss.

imho.
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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Re: Will mahayana die in asia in the future?

Post by AkashicBrother » Wed May 15, 2019 11:59 am

Im obviously not saying that buddhism needs to be FORCED. neither the state necessarly needs to be envolved. but one of the main reasons why buddhism spreads very slowly (and sometimes is reduced, like the quick decrease in korea and japan) is the decentralization. catholicism mantains itself stable and spreads a lot because of the organization and centralization. this is lacking a lot in buddhism, and will probably lead to crescent reduction in numbers..

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