Sara H wrote:
I'm not sure who this was addressed at specifically, but the problem is not that we (Millenials) want younger teachers.
It's not an age problem.
It's a communication problem.
Seems it. But' it's also a problem with rigidly identifying with cherished conceptuality.
Old people all throughout time, when coming into their dotage,
The use of that term betrays your extreme prejudice.
Your parents generation learned how to communicate with you.
Wait - what? In America (or Holland or Germany) - no generally they did not.
You need to learn how to do the same with us.
People need to learn how to communicate with each other and well beyond using icons or labels. The US for one is highly balkanized at the moment and getting worse.
This is not a ladder that people climb. it's a two way street.
It's not a one-way ladder that people are perpetually climbing upwards.
It's like a library. You check a book out, have it for a period of time, and then give it back. But the book does not belong to you.
You don't hold the book, and then wait for other people who might be interested in reading it to come track you down and ask you to give it to them.
It's not your book. You need to return it, and give it back actively.
That's seems pretty obtuse. What is the that, etc?
People attain some degree of realization all the time. Esp. in our world, rejecting harming others is a form of realization. When is this Millenial thing anyway? People born ~ 1980? Are 32'ish yr old people being kept from the zendo? This is part of your point - there isn't an outreach, etc. That is a problem but I think if you look you'll find that people earlier had some contact with teachers that they would regard as charasmatic in some way and they had a spiritual questing. If we take your Millenial thing seriously we find that Millenials are defined as not interested in spiritual quest and are more "pragmatic" - let me see if I can find a generational hucsker for you to confirm that:
Generational Pseudoscience from Wikipedia
: blah blah blah ...
"Developing a meaningful philosophy of life" decreased the most, across generations, from 73% for Boomers to 45% for Millennials. "Becoming involved in programs to clean up the environment" dropped from 33% for Boomers to 21% for Millennials.
oh- looky that, straight from our Wikipedia - not a slam dunk but demographically Millennials aren't really interested in spiritual questing more or less. And you like pollution too!
Oh course I personally don't cleave to the social pseudo-scientists - unless they happen to have real data, which few have.
Anyway - developing spiritual teachers < 40. It's happening to some extent in Tibetan Buddhism (even with westerners). Why isn't it happening in Zen Buddhism? Oh wait - Brad Warner is in his 40's (hiss, boo). Is he Gen X or Millennial? He's not a Boomer or what? Noah Levin and his group. Aren't there others (our own Jikan, perhaps? - although he is Tendai).
All beings are born, suffer (although they may not realize it) and face uncontrollable death. This is the Great Matter. Are Millenials exempt from this? If not, how is it that and entire generational cohort are themselves ignorning Zen? Because we can't go onto the street and drag them in. Hmmmm .... "Millenials are more community oriented" - so says that psuedo-science I referenced. And American Zen has by and large NOT developed a social response to suffering (few homeless shelters even as homelessness and poverty has skyrocketed, few resources to aid families in need, rare visits by Zen teachers to the elderly, few job training resources, etc. - some ecological outreach , some hospice activity [mostly originally because of a Zen teacher who died of AIDS], some prison outreach [and for > 20 yrs],etc.). Why has Zen not developed a social response? People are narcissistic *AND* because there aren't that many Zen people around. Zen Buddhism is not nearly as mainstream as you claim although Zen is no longer totally foreign either. But Sarah, you would paint a situation similar to that faced in Hawaii and maybe on the West Coast when Pure Land temples only see old people in services except for Obon. I'm not saying that that's not true, BTW, because I haven't been to the zendo in quite a while. Unlike Pure Land temples, there are few Zen families though and this kind of Buddhist socialization may play a role (you imply that with the idea that many people became familiar with Buddhism in college - really, is that the case? I was exposed to Buddhism at home and in school in Hawaii even though my family wasn't Buddhist - we now have more Buddhist films available than at any time in history and when I grew up we had two or so [and one was a Tarzan film where Tarzan saves a tulku [really] , the other was the great Harp of Burma and then several travel shows showing Buddhism] - people are not being exposed to Buddhism in media, esp. film media?).