Queequeg wrote:Huseng - I don't know if its just Japanese Buddhism that is in permanent decline. I am just not sure any tradition is going to continue to maintain large rolls of renunciates. If economic development continues on the current trajectory, if culture and education continue on the current trajectories - the incentives to renounce will increasingly disappear. I am pretty sure, Buddhism the world over is in permanent decline. At least as we've come to expect now. I don't think this means we lose the Buddhadharma because of this.
Queequeg wrote:This practice in turn is founded in the common notion by the Kamakura period that Buddhism had entered the Age of Decline (Mappo) (In light of Mappo, you may be 10 centuries late in calling the permanent decline of Japanese Buddhism )
Mappo brings me to a statement by Saicho - I don't have the exact quote - "A person observing the precepts in the Latter Day will be as rare as seeing a tiger in the marketplace". As I read your article, I was waiting for you to bring it up.
Queequeg wrote:One last note - the Sohei - the armed monks - I suspect those guys claimed legitimacy based on the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. According to passages in that sutra, after Mappo, it is permissible for white clothed laymen to take up arms to defend true bhiksus. That's the theoretical basis. The reality, a whole other story.
Huseng wrote:Queequeg wrote:Huseng - I don't know if its just Japanese Buddhism that is in permanent decline.
Buddhism around the world is largely in statistical decline as far as I can tell. The government statistics in various Asian countries seem to indicate this. Younger generations are drifting towards secularism or in some cases Christianity. In much of East Asia Buddhism is associated with the past. It is old, unfashionable and meaningless to a lot of youth.I am just not sure any tradition is going to continue to maintain large rolls of renunciates. If economic development continues on the current trajectory, if culture and education continue on the current trajectories - the incentives to renounce will increasingly disappear.
Economic contraction will start to occur sooner or later when conventional oil production starts its long decline. Alternative fossil fuels and alternative energy resources do not pack the same energy on return. This coupled with climate change will make for very hard economic times, to say nothing of demographics and so on.
Actually in times of sustained economic hardship (like dark ages), monasticism flourishes because it offers stability in times when having children is unaffordable and collective living makes a lot of economic sense.
Buddhism could possibly bounce back in such circumstances. Such circumstances will occur unless some miracle technology is developed, but don't count on it.
Queequeg wrote:Hi Huseng,
If humanity returns to some dark ages, that will be truly unfortunate. I don't think that is by any means certain, but at the same time I couldn't really argue against your points. To me, spreading Dharma would be a significant factor in whether we can avoid such a dark future - and I don't necessarily think it has to be monastic Buddhism. Deepening understanding of cause and effect and Buddhist psychology, meditative practices, etc. would have profound and far reaching effects.
Excerpts from a discussion in the Tendai forum concerning Saicho's reforms. My topic here is addressing what Buddhist organizations or concerned individuals could do to maintain and propagate Dharma--specifically Nichiren Hokke Buddhism--during a long-term global, technological and societal degeneration.
Before you go guffawing about tin-foil hats and such, just keep in mind that history often proves to us that the "impossible" is only impossible until it happens--and it happens fairly often. The fall of Rome, the Mongol invasions, the European expansion, (in regards to the cultures Europe impacted such as the Meso-Americans and the Chinese,) and 9-11. Though to some the whole topic may seem as outlandish and ridiculous as the idea of little green men landing on the White House lawn, keep in mind that even the U.S. government takes some time out of its day and money out of its budget to direct some thought towards just exactly we would do if little green men did land on the White House lawn.
Maybe it's just because I'm from Texas, or perhaps it's the high chlorine content in the local water supply, but I have to wonder whether my branch of the Buddhist community (or even the larger Buddhist community) has any long term plan for how they will go about saturating Buddhadharma into Western culture if the oil, money and lattes start to run thin and then to a halt.
What kind of plan would you devise?