Buddha's teaching of wisdom is to recognize truth from false. If a teacher is wise, and you listen to him, you will do well. If a teacher is a not wise, and you listen to him, you will not benefit. So it varies from case to case. Also, being democratic and opinionated has its drawbacks. That is, too many opinions will not unify (Obama versus Republicans for example); too many personal needs to be satisfied. ONE MIND/Opinion is appropriate in this case. Is peace not ONE MIND? But that is not to say democracy and transparency don't have any values of its own. It's good for everyday decision making. But it is useless for, let say people who are on the same level of understanding. If you have many masters of the same level in a room, you would have One OPINION/MIND. It's also true that all Buddhas have ONE OPINION...Sure, you can say this put Asians in a passive position, but being passive is not the same as being stupid. And it takes endurance and patience to be passive. To be reactive when necessary, but to do it all the time when it does not meet our personal preferences is only feeding selfishness...that's not Zen training where the master would strip off your personal preferences and opinions for example. I hope you see Asian culture is collective while Western Culture is individualistic. Asians who grow up in Western countries often experience the conflict between the two cultures. Collective Asian cultures also attract Mahayana, and it is the reason why Mahayana has been sticking because being collective is in line with the idea of compassion.Huseng wrote:
One admirable feature that many western Buddhist organizations have is democracy and transparency. The decision making processes are decided by members. Even if you're a new guy you have a voice and the right to be heard out as much as the senior members. You also have the right to disagree and voice disapproval (it might not be appreciated, but it is your right nevertheless). This does not really exist in most of Asia. Usually the upper echelons of clergy decide things and everyone is expected to fold their hands and follow along.
In terms of management this has some advantages, but the huge disadvantage is a lack of perspective and planning from the actual ground level. The lowly people are unlikely to have their issues really appreciated. So in a religious organization you might end up with senior administrators with grand ideas that don't reflect what the common people really want or need, and so things decline and nobody understands why.
In a democratic model where the young and old both have equal voice and feel comfortable expressing and promoting their own ideas, an organization will be directed by collective concerns rather the vision of a few people who might be divorced from the reality most of the membership face.
Actually this is probably the greatest problem facing Buddhist organizations around Asia. Elderly clergy who have no idea what younger generations are thinking and doing. They might let a youth group have their own activities, but that's not letting them actively participate in the decision making process (in many places I imagine they would think twenty something year old kids are too inexperienced and immature to be trusted with such responsibilities).
Nevertheless, I believe if youth were given power and a voice in decision making processes, then organizations could address the needs and concerns of younger generations and not fall into decline.
I feel like most Western scholars do not have a deep understanding of Asian cultures and histories. Asian cultures have been thriving thousands of years and have gone through many trials and errors. It is really sad that many Asians and the world as a whole today chase Western ideals and forget their own backgrounds or have little understanding of it.