Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

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dharmapdx
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Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by dharmapdx » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:11 pm

Recent threads that I have started have really been helpful for me, so thank you to everyone who has responded. Maybe I should have added this to one of the threads I already started, but I sincerely think that this is a different topic warranting its own thread.

Basically, two points come to mind for me as a result of recent threads:

1. Most religious institutions, including Buddhist organizations, tend to be female dominated. (viewtopic.php?p=427993#p427993) The Nichiren Shu Temple I attended for a time, had a female minister, and one of the most insulting things I ever heard was when a (white) female member asked the (Japanese) female minister, "Does it ever bother you that this is all about boys?" I thought it was insensitive and insulting for an American woman to ask a Japanese woman such a question with such a condescending tone, as though our own western traditions are not also male dominated. (And let's forget that she basically referring to the Buddha as a "boy.") When I attempted to put Buddhism in the historical context by saying that the Buddha allowed women to join at a time when it was virtually heard-of, the white American woman got defensive with me and said, "but do you hear what you're saying? He 'allowed' women to join?" I then checked out of the conversation entirely…. (This is the same woman who at one point said to me very condescendingly, "you take this kind of Buddhism really seriously, don't you?")

2. I have previously been given the advice that the way Buddhist institutions are run is "very Confucius," meaning a very "top-down" organizational structure where people with seniority are given more respect, and it's all about "in-groups" and "out-groups."

I now realize that these two factors are perhaps the basis of my inability to function on a social level in the two Buddhist organizations I have attempted to be a part of, Nichiren Shu and Soka Gakkai. I attempted to be a part of a Nichiren Shu congregation, but failed. And though I continue the Soka Gakkai practice, the socialization aspect doesn't work for me (I rarely attend any meetings).

I simply have no interest in Confucianism, nor feminism. If I wanted to learn about Confucianism, I would join an organization that studies it. If I wanted to learn about feminism I suppose I could join NOW.

Between my inability to comprehend Confucian social structure, and my inability to comprehend female social interaction, my attempt at membership with Nichiren Shu and socializing with Soka Gakkai has been bewildering for me. Silly me, but I thought Buddhist organizations would be about BUDDHISM.

By studying Buddhism on my own, and practicing Buddhism on my own, I am actually able to keep my Buddhist practice about BUDDHISM.

(NOTE: lest anyone get high and mighty with me about the issue of feminism and how "men just don't understand," I am the only male and youngest child in a family of six sisters. I grew up on heavy doses of feminism, and even radical feminism. It's old hat to me. Been there, done that. When I go to a Buddhist temple or organization, I would like it to be about Buddhism.)

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:37 pm

I suspect..and I cant back up my suspicion so please feel free to shoot it down..that Confucianism is the secret unannounced ingredient of much Far- Eastern Dharma. I think it shows up in various ways..particularly in an assumed patriachy and strictly prescribed sexual morality.
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by Queequeg » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:25 pm

There are three categories of people that all human beings should respect. They are the sovereign, the teacher, and the parent. There are three types of doctrines that are to be studied. They are Confucianism, Brahmanism, and Buddhism.
-Nichiren, Kaimoku-sho (The Opening of the Eyes)

That is the opening to one of Nichiren's most important writings.

This needs some context, though.

In Lotus Buddhism, all dharmas are considered Buddhadharma. I don't have the exact cite off hand, but this is clearly asserted in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, as well as other places. This inclusiveness is intended in the broadest, most radical way.
The scripture known as the Nirvana Sutra lists the beings that have been able to attain the way through the Lotus Sutra, and the list includes such filthy creatures as dung beetles, vipers, and scorpions. To express the wonderful power of the Lotus Sutra, Bodhisattva Nāgārjuna [in the Ta chi tu lun says that it enables even such creatures as dung beetles to attain Buddhahood.
-Nichiren, Great Bodhisattva Hachiman

That said, not all dharmas are equal. From the perspective of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha's reality, there are True Teachings and Provisional Teachings. True Teachings are the Buddha's reality; Provisional Teachings are taught in accord with the minds of beings to lead them to the True Teachings. Among Provisional Teachings, there are relative distinctions between coarse and sublime - some teachings are more refined than others.

Confucianism, the basis of secular organization in Chinese civilization, is sublime compared to the hand-to-mouth creed of barbarians. Confucianism compared to Brahmanism is coarse because it fails to elucidate the working of karma beyond this world. Brahmanism is coarse compared to Buddhism because Brahmanism does not penetrate to Bodhi. Hinayana is coarse compared to Mahayana because the former has the limited aim of individual liberation, whereas the latter aims at liberation for many, if not all. The Ekayana (Lotus Sutra) is sublime compared to ordinary Mahayana because it includes all dharma paths, not only the Three, but all the paths from Avichi to the realm of neither thought nor no thought. The Original Gate (Honmon - latter half of the Lotus Sutra) is sublime compared to the Trace Gate (Shakumon - first half of the Lotus Sutra) because the former is limited to the teaching of Gautama, the man who was born at Lumbini, awoke at Gaya, turned the Wheel at Sarnath, and passed at Kusinagara, while the latter half reveals the actual scope of the Ekayana through the device of the Buddha's immeasurable life span.

As Westerners, our society is organized on very different secular principles than the sphere of Chinese Civilization (which includes Korea, Japan, Viet Nam, etc. though nationalists in those respective countries might be unhappy to admit the full scope of that reality). Confucianism is a wonderful view in many respects and is worth studying, especially if you want to understand East Asia. It is much more than the parody of Legalism that many seem to assume about it. Confucianism is founded on jen - a gentle sentiment of loving fellowship, and a shared code of rites that clarifies the web of obligations that, when observed, bring harmony to society.

Some people object to the influence of Confucianism in East Asian Buddhism, but I would argue that what Confucianism brings is an inflection, not a wholesale alternate organization. The Buddhist sangha is orgnized at its most basic level on seniority of age. Confucianism teaches a similar respect based on seniority. The sangha and Confucianism both accord the profoundest respect for teachers. Clearly there are breaks with Confucianism. Going Forth into Homelessness was completely incompatible with Confucian values of propriety because it meant breaking obligations to one's parents, family, and society. This was countered in Buddhist teaching by emphasizing the immense merit that a person who practices Buddha Dharma generates, not only for themselves, but for their relatives going back at least seven generations. This is a big subject and not the point here.

We can substitute "Confucianism" with our own secular value system. We can look at the Social Contract theory underlying the organization of our democratic societies and find resonance with the organization of the Sangha under the Vinaya system with its consensus based decision making. Further, we can apply the principles of Buddhism such as the Vinaya system and inter-dependence to improve Social Contract. If Buddhism really takes hold in the West, I think we can look forward to a mutual evolution of both Buddhism and our secular society.

As to whether any particular Buddhist group fits with the expectations of community in the West - based on what I have seen of the evolution of Soka Gakkai from the inside, and other Buddhist groups in the West from the outside, I think I can safely say, the process of making Buddhist communities more naturally Western is under way.

Here is what I would encourage: this is one of those tremendous moments in Buddhist history when the Buddha Dharma is making a leap into a new social milieu. Before everything is codified into tropes that are as easy as breathing air, we right now have an opportunity to wrestle with Buddha Dharma with fresh eyes. What we do, how we embody the teaching, is setting the stage for others who will follow us. This is a tremendous responsibility but a commensurate opportunity to practice dharma. To draw a parallel, this is like being one of the five first bikkhus at the Deer Park before the crowds with all their chatter and varying degrees of commitment overwhelmed and required the Buddha to lay down rules.
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

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:39 pm

Thank you for that interesting reply.. :smile:
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:28 pm

Almost all shinto rituals are completely Confucian in style and outer form. Even the inner form of most shinto ritual is highly Confucianized.

This is "Confucian" music:



But we would never call Shintoism Confucianism. And this music is distinctly Japanese, even though it is based on melodies, instruments, and musical forms transplanted directly from China.

I don't think Confucianism or "Contemporary Feminism" is what is necessarily rubbing the OP wrong IMO. For instance, I can't think of anyone who would equate Confucianism and Feminism, especially for instance Intersectional or even 2nd-wave feminism, as two sides of the same coin.

Perhaps it is a feminism, but I don't think that feminism is one that would be recognized by modern day Intersectionalists, for example.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.

吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by markatex » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:18 pm

Between my inability to comprehend Confucian social structure, and my inability to comprehend female social interaction, my attempt at membership with Nichiren Shu and socializing with Soka Gakkai has been bewildering for me. Silly me, but I thought Buddhist organizations would be about BUDDHISM.

By studying Buddhism on my own, and practicing Buddhism on my own, I am actually able to keep my Buddhist practice about BUDDHISM.
But are you really practicing Buddhism if you're walling yourself off from other Buddhists? Buddhist organizations are composed of people. People are complicated and imperfect (to put it mildly). Groups of people, even more so. But you have to learn to deal with them if you're really going to practice Buddhism. And I'm saying that as an extreme introvert who could easily go for weeks without seeing or talking to another person.

Based on your descriptions of the Nichiren Shu temple, it seems like it was definitely a dysfunctional social environment, and there probably wasn't any way you could've made it better so that you could participate. Sometimes you do have to remove yourself from a bad situation. But I'd really caution against painting things with such a broad brush. At the very least, it's good to have a senior practitioner to communicate with from time to time, to get out of your own head with regards to your practice, if for no other reason.

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by dharmapdx » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:53 pm

To clarify, I am not being "rubbed the wrong way" by feminism and Confucianism. And I am not in anyway equating Confucianism with contemporary American feminism. Please don't put words in my mouth.

What I am saying is that Confucianism seems to be a great influence in Buddhist organizations. And I wonder if when Buddhist organizations are brought to the United States, perhaps combining Confucianism with western feminism has unexpected results. And maybe this makes it difficult for males such as myself to function in certain Buddhist organizations.

As I mentioned in my original post, I am the youngest child and only male in a family of six sisters. I grew up on heavy doses of feminism, and even radical feminism. I was about nine years old when I heard my mother say to one of my sisters: "You shouldn't look down on prostitutes, because society itself turns all women into prostitutes." As a nine-year-old, I had no idea what my mother was talking about. When I was somewhere in my teens, my mother explained that what she meant was that often times women of her generation (born 1939) weren't allowed to work and earn their own money, and therefore their job was to be a wife which meant providing sexual services to their husbands for survival purposes, e.g., prostitution. I would later find that this is what is considered a "radical feminist" perspective. (My stepfather was a Mexican-American Chicano activist. In essence, the marriage between my parents was a marriage of a radical feminist and a Chicano activist.)

Please see below the email from rock singer Courtney Love which was my introduction to Nichiren Buddhism. Courtney Love is seen as a feminist icon to some people, with her second album being seen as exemplifying second wave feminism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_Through_This. And notice that in my email to Courtney Love, I referred to having met feminist author Susan Faludi at Powell's books in Portland.

I will end this post by sharing this clip of a feminist author that I am relatively obsessed with lately, Camille Paglia: In this clip, Camille Paglia says that males today feel alienated. What "rubs me the wrong way" is feeling alienated, which is what I felt at the Nichiren Shu temple, and at the Soka Gakkai meetings, and is what Camille Paglia says males in general in all walks of life are feeling in today's day and age.

Coëmgenu wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:28 pm


I don't think Confucianism or "Contemporary Feminism" is what is necessarily rubbing the OP wrong IMO. For instance, I can't think of anyone who would equate Confucianism and Feminism, especially for instance Intersectional or even 2nd-wave feminism, as two sides of the same coin.

Perhaps it is a feminism, but I don't think that feminism is one that would be recognized by modern day Intersectionalists, for example.
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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by dharmapdx » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:29 pm

Well, the alternative was to stop practicing Buddhism altogether. As I mentioned earlier, my attempt at participation in the Nichiren Shu congregation was putting me off of Buddhism entirely, as were the Soka Gakkai meetings.

Thank you for mentioning that the Nichiren Shu Temple was dysfunctional and it was best to leave. Incidentally, I wasn't the only one who had problems in attempting to participate there. The temple had a retention percentage of about .01%, and I recall some services which consisted of simply the minister and myself -- in a facility that could accommodate as many as 200 people. The Nichiren Shu Temple in Portland is the largest physical facility of any Nichiren Shu Temple in the United States: http://www.nichiren-shu-pdx.com

I don't consider that I'm walled off at all. I tell other people about my practice all the time, and I participate in forums such as this. I have a strong social media presence where I share my practice with other people, and that is mostly how I interact with other Soka Gakkai practitioners.

And my introduction to Buddhism itself took place in a context where I was not walled off at all. Here are even more pictures of my childhood experience in Japan. Another thing that makes it very complicated for me to attempt to participate in Japanese Buddhist organizations, is ironically the thing that makes me interested in Japanese Buddhist organizations: my childhood experience in Japan where I was very much socially integrated, was treated very well, and was -- albeit peripherally -- introduced to the figure of Buddha.

I've come to realize that as awkward and politically incorrect as this may sound, during my childhood experience in Japan I was for all intents and purposes an "honorary Japanese." I didn't see Japan as an ambassador of American culture. My sister's boyfriend, a wealthy Japanese businessman, treated me like I was his son, and while in Japan I lived on his terms. This puts me on a very different footing from other white Americans who practice Japanese Buddhism, and I think it makes my situation quite startling and incomprehensible to Japanese Buddhist teachers in the United States. I remember the Nichiren Shu minister speaking to a Japanese woman at the temple about me, in Japanese, in a relatively suspicious and amused tone.… I don't speak Japanese but I got a sense that the minister was explaining something about my background, and that the Japanese woman's question had been something along the lines of, "What's with this guy?"

markatex wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:18 pm

But are you really practicing Buddhism if you're walling yourself off from other Buddhists? Buddhist organizations are composed of people. People are complicated and imperfect (to put it mildly). Groups of people, even more so. But you have to learn to deal with them if you're really going to practice Buddhism. And I'm saying that as an extreme introvert who could easily go for weeks without seeing or talking to another person.

Based on your descriptions of the Nichiren Shu temple, it seems like it was definitely a dysfunctional social environment, and there probably wasn't any way you could've made it better so that you could participate. Sometimes you do have to remove yourself from a bad situation. But I'd really caution against painting things with such a broad brush. At the very least, it's good to have a senior practitioner to communicate with from time to time, to get out of your own head with regards to your practice, if for no other reason.
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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by Fortyeightvows » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:37 pm

I think I can safely say, the process of making Buddhist communities more naturally Western is under way.
What does it mean? What does a buddhist community that is naturally western look like?

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by dharmapdx » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:43 pm

I'm just gonna come right out and say it: I love you, man. LOL

Got some bro-love goin on here…. LOL
Queequeg wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:25 pm
There are three categories of people that all human beings should respect. They are the sovereign, the teacher, and the parent. There are three types of doctrines that are to be studied. They are Confucianism, Brahmanism, and Buddhism.
-Nichiren, Kaimoku-sho (The Opening of the Eyes)

That is the opening to one of Nichiren's most important writings.

This needs some context, though.

In Lotus Buddhism, all dharmas are considered Buddhadharma. I don't have the exact cite off hand, but this is clearly asserted in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, as well as other places. This inclusiveness is intended in the broadest, most radical way.
The scripture known as the Nirvana Sutra lists the beings that have been able to attain the way through the Lotus Sutra, and the list includes such filthy creatures as dung beetles, vipers, and scorpions. To express the wonderful power of the Lotus Sutra, Bodhisattva Nāgārjuna [in the Ta chi tu lun says that it enables even such creatures as dung beetles to attain Buddhahood.
-Nichiren, Great Bodhisattva Hachiman

That said, not all dharmas are equal. From the perspective of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha's reality, there are True Teachings and Provisional Teachings. True Teachings are the Buddha's reality; Provisional Teachings are taught in accord with the minds of beings to lead them to the True Teachings. Among Provisional Teachings, there are relative distinctions between coarse and sublime - some teachings are more refined than others.

Confucianism, the basis of secular organization in Chinese civilization, is sublime compared to the hand-to-mouth creed of barbarians. Confucianism compared to Brahmanism is coarse because it fails to elucidate the working of karma beyond this world. Brahmanism is coarse compared to Buddhism because Brahmanism does not penetrate to Bodhi. Hinayana is coarse compared to Mahayana because the former has the limited aim of individual liberation, whereas the latter aims at liberation for many, if not all. The Ekayana (Lotus Sutra) is sublime compared to ordinary Mahayana because it includes all dharma paths, not only the Three, but all the paths from Avichi to the realm of neither thought nor no thought. The Original Gate (Honmon - latter half of the Lotus Sutra) is sublime compared to the Trace Gate (Shakumon - first half of the Lotus Sutra) because the former is limited to the teaching of Gautama, the man who was born at Lumbini, awoke at Gaya, turned the Wheel at Sarnath, and passed at Kusinagara, while the latter half reveals the actual scope of the Ekayana through the device of the Buddha's immeasurable life span.

As Westerners, our society is organized on very different secular principles than the sphere of Chinese Civilization (which includes Korea, Japan, Viet Nam, etc. though nationalists in those respective countries might be unhappy to admit the full scope of that reality). Confucianism is a wonderful view in many respects and is worth studying, especially if you want to understand East Asia. It is much more than the parody of Legalism that many seem to assume about it. Confucianism is founded on jen - a gentle sentiment of loving fellowship, and a shared code of rites that clarifies the web of obligations that, when observed, bring harmony to society.

Some people object to the influence of Confucianism in East Asian Buddhism, but I would argue that what Confucianism brings is an inflection, not a wholesale alternate organization. The Buddhist sangha is orgnized at its most basic level on seniority of age. Confucianism teaches a similar respect based on seniority. The sangha and Confucianism both accord the profoundest respect for teachers. Clearly there are breaks with Confucianism. Going Forth into Homelessness was completely incompatible with Confucian values of propriety because it meant breaking obligations to one's parents, family, and society. This was countered in Buddhist teaching by emphasizing the immense merit that a person who practices Buddha Dharma generates, not only for themselves, but for their relatives going back at least seven generations. This is a big subject and not the point here.

We can substitute "Confucianism" with our own secular value system. We can look at the Social Contract theory underlying the organization of our democratic societies and find resonance with the organization of the Sangha under the Vinaya system with its consensus based decision making. Further, we can apply the principles of Buddhism such as the Vinaya system and inter-dependence to improve Social Contract. If Buddhism really takes hold in the West, I think we can look forward to a mutual evolution of both Buddhism and our secular society.

As to whether any particular Buddhist group fits with the expectations of community in the West - based on what I have seen of the evolution of Soka Gakkai from the inside, and other Buddhist groups in the West from the outside, I think I can safely say, the process of making Buddhist communities more naturally Western is under way.

Here is what I would encourage: this is one of those tremendous moments in Buddhist history when the Buddha Dharma is making a leap into a new social milieu. Before everything is codified into tropes that are as easy as breathing air, we right now have an opportunity to wrestle with Buddha Dharma with fresh eyes. What we do, how we embody the teaching, is setting the stage for others who will follow us. This is a tremendous responsibility but a commensurate opportunity to practice dharma. To draw a parallel, this is like being one of the five first bikkhus at the Deer Park before the crowds with all their chatter and varying degrees of commitment overwhelmed and required the Buddha to lay down rules.

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by markatex » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:20 am

Message boards and social media are useful in a lot of ways, but being in touch with a teacher is beneficial in ways that online forums aren’t. Maybe SGI and the Portland temple (especially, it sounds like) aren’t for you.

I can’t speak to the specifics of your background as I don’t really understand that angle. The Houston Nichiren Shu sangha of which I’m a member is very “Western” so my experiences with Nichiren Shu are different as well. You’d probably have an easier time there. What were your issues with SGI?

Sidebar: I was a student of ACIM prior to practicing Buddhism and still study it every now and then.

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by DGA » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:44 am

dharmapdx, please correct me if I'm wrong on these four points:

1. you'd like to learn Dharma, and practice it well, and
2. you'd like to relate well to other Dharma practitioners, but
3. these intentions have been stymied by the social situations you've found yourself in, and
4. this is frustrating in a profound way.

Is this an accurate (if incomplete) summary of the fix you find yourself in?

If so, then it should be easy for us to crowdsource some options for you. If I've misunderstood you, I beg your pardon.

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by dharmapdx » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:51 am

I hope to not make him feel too uncomfortable or self-conscious or anything, but I pretty much have something of a "man crush" on Queequeg. LOL. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define. ... an%20Crush

Seriously, whatever I feel I lack in an in-person mentorship, he fills in for me with his posts. It sometimes feels as if he has crawled into my mind and figured out exactly what it is that I need to know, and then he writes it.

I just don't feel that I want or need a personal mentor at this point. I have posted this clip before of Tina Turner where she says "because I didn't have the freedom to go to meetings, or to have people coming to me, I had to teach myself on my own. And I'm glad I did it that way because it was on my own that I struggled for it…." That's how I feel about it.

As for why the Soka Gakkai meetings didn't work for me, I don't want to reinvent the wheel: viewtopic.php?f=117&t=27353

Enclosed is a picture of me with Dr. Kenneth Wapnick, late president of the Foundation for a Course in Miracles. He was like a father to me, and it was my practice of Buddhism that helped me come to terms with his difficult final year and with his death in 2013. He was considered by many to be the foremost teacher of "A Course in Miracles," and he actually helped edit it. https://www.acim.org/Wapnick-Memorial.html And that may be one reason I don't need a face to face personal mentor with regard to Buddhism: I had that with Ken for over a decade, and the course in some regards is very similar to Buddhism. Picture of me with Ken was taken at Unity Church in Seattle.
markatex wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:20 am
Message boards and social media are useful in a lot of ways, but being in touch with a teacher is beneficial in ways that online forums aren’t. Maybe SGI and the Portland temple (especially, it sounds like) aren’t for you.

I can’t speak to the specifics of your background as I don’t really understand that angle. The Houston Nichiren Shu sangha of which I’m a member is very “Western” so my experiences with Nichiren Shu are different as well. You’d probably have an easier time there. What were your issues with SGI?

Sidebar: I was a student of ACIM prior to practicing Buddhism and still study it every now and then.
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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by dharmapdx » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:56 am

Close, but I think there's a misunderstanding here….

I am actually quite pleased with my practice, which is mostly a private practice of SGI Buddhism.

I'm not searching for advice on how to alter my practice.

I'm pleased with my practice as it is.

I am perhaps simply attempting to understand on a theoretical level the underpinnings of Buddhist organizations in this country.

It has occurred to me that perhaps Confucian thought -- with which I have almost no experience -- is brought to this country in the Buddhist organization structure, and then melds with a type of feminist thought in this country, but that may make participation difficult for males such as myself -- because we are unaware that Confucianism is at the heart of Buddhist organizational structure, etc.

That much being written I will reiterate: i'm quite pleased with my practice as it is at the moment and have no interest or intention of changing it. These are merely theoretical speculations. As usual, Q has pretty much already provided me with the answers I was looking for. Love that guy. LOL

DGA wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:44 am
dharmapdx, please correct me if I'm wrong on these four points:

1. you'd like to learn Dharma, and practice it well, and
2. you'd like to relate well to other Dharma practitioners, but
3. these intentions have been stymied by the social situations you've found yourself in, and
4. this is frustrating in a profound way.

Is this an accurate (if incomplete) summary of the fix you find yourself in?

If so, then it should be easy for us to crowdsource some options for you. If I've misunderstood you, I beg your pardon.
Last edited by dharmapdx on Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by markatex » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:20 am

I got nothing. :shrug:

I’m a gay man, so I’m sure the Confucianists wouldn’t be thrilled with me, and that the MRA people wouldn’t be either, so I’m not exactly sympathetic to their cause, as it were.

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dharmapdx
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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by dharmapdx » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:26 am

markatex wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:20 am
I got nothing. :shrug:

I’m a gay man, so I’m sure the Confucianists wouldn’t be thrilled with me, and that the MRA people wouldn’t be either, so I’m not exactly sympathetic to their cause, as it were.

Well I pretty much have nothing either, which is why I posted this thread: I have no understanding of Confucianism.

I actually had to Google the initials MRA. This was the first result I got: https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/what-is-mra

This was the second: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=MRA

If you are referring to the second definition, you're the first person to bring that up. Closest I came was to provide a link to a conversation of a famous female FEMINIST who said that males in general feel alienated in today's society. Last time I checked, gay males are still males.
Last edited by dharmapdx on Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by dharmapdx » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:53 am

Somewhere along the line I forgot to mention that despite my heterosexuality, I'm actually a former ballet dancer and therefore spent a good deal of my upbringing being called various derogatory terms usually reserved for homosexual men. All males -- regardless of their orientation -- who grow up in the dance world endure such taunting. Gene Kelly, Patrick Swayze, you name it.

You see, my radical feminist mother believed that women can do with men can do, and men can do what women can do. And she had enrolled all of my previous siblings -- who were all female -- in ballet. She was either unaware of the discrimination I would face as a male, or simply didn't care, when she enrolled me in ballet.

Anyway, what was my question again?

Oh, yes.

How does feminism and Confucianism impact Buddhist organizational structure in the United States, and is it possible that this may present a challenge for males who want to be members?

But as I mentioned previously, Q has pretty much already provided the answer I was looking for. But thank you everyone and please feel free to continue to contribute if you feel like it…. 🙏

(Um. I'm the guy in the picture, with my hands on the girl as she does a "penche." Like Tina Turner, I used to chant in the dressing rooms before my performances. Fellow dancers thought it was pretty weird. LOL.)
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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by markatex » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:44 am

dharmapdx wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:53 am
How does feminism and Confucianism impact Buddhist organizational structure in the United States, and is it possible that this may present a challenge for males who want to be members?
I have no experience with Asian-majority Buddhist temples; before coming to Nichiren Shu, I practiced Soto Zen in a mostly white, baby boomer Zen center. Confucianism played very little or no role in the organizational structure. As far as feminism goes, my initial reaction is that if men feel isolated because women don't want to deal with misogyny anymore, then the problem isn't women or feminism. Fix your shit. I realize that online Buddhist message boards are dudebro central and that may not go over well, but there you have it.

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by dharmapdx » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:30 am

markatex wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:44 am
dharmapdx wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:53 am
How does feminism and Confucianism impact Buddhist organizational structure in the United States, and is it possible that this may present a challenge for males who want to be members?
I have no experience with Asian-majority Buddhist temples; before coming to Nichiren Shu, I practiced Soto Zen in a mostly white, baby boomer Zen center. Confucianism played very little or no role in the organizational structure. As far as feminism goes, my initial reaction is that if men feel isolated because women don't want to deal with misogyny anymore, then the problem isn't women or feminism. Fix your shit. I realize that online Buddhist message boards are dudebro central and that may not go over well, but there you have it.
So you have no insight regarding the actual question at hand? Thank you for admitting that.

I have no shit that needs to be fixed because I have been a part of the solution from the beginning. I was born into social activism. I am the little boy in this advertisement: https://oregondigital.org/catalog/orego ... :df709p90w I was hand selected by Cesar Chavez himself to represent the Chicano Movement when I was a child.

What I have a problem with is a middle-class American white woman standing in a Japanese temple, preaching condescendingly to a female Japanese minister from Japan, and disrespectfully referring to if the Buddha as a "boy." Some people are simply looking for a fight. As someone who was actually born into true social revolution, I get tired of posers.

And after having shared a significant chunk of my life so as to justify my perspectives here, let's return to the real issue at hand: you have nothing to share on the topic because you know nothing about the topic.

I hope that your return to your comfortable middle-class white Buddhist practice is enjoyable for you. As for me one of the things that attracted me to Soka Gakkai is that it has a racial make up that mirrors my own diverse upbringing: https://tricycle.org/magazine/born-usa- ... rnational/

The Buddhist temple in Portland that I referred to was predominantly female, and I don't care if this sounds politically incorrect because it's something I grew up witnessing: in my profoundly female dominated family, and in the profoundly female dominated dance world that I grew up in, I saw the same kind of endless fighting that I saw at the temple among the women. This sort of thing can make the males a run for the hills. Has nothing to do with chauvinism. It has to do with males getting tired of being around women who are fighting with one another -- over things that males cannot fathom. That's what was going on at the temple. That is something I really thank lesbian feminist Camille Paglia for saying: " stop blaming men."

I'm sorry, but I pretty much have every basis covered here. In addition to being a biracial with a childhood in a civil rights movement, a Muslim brother in law, Mexican stepfather, upbringing in the dance world, predominantly female family, a sister who came out of the closet when I was 10 and a mother who quickly joined parents and friends of lesbians and gays, I also occasionally drop into the local Jewish center.
Last edited by dharmapdx on Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Confucianism and feminism in Buddhist organizations

Post by Fortyeightvows » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:39 am

sounds like someone has alot of hang ups about race and class

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