Matylda wrote:Indeed. However there will be question of disciples and quality of practice and devotion... stil, there are really few places like these. The West is just in the begining of its quest and future will show if it will go the right way. It is not that easy. Generally the time is not in favor, the world changes rapidly and there are far more distractions than ever before. Modern society is much more confident in its own wits even if they come out of very depth of ignorance.
Speaking from the Zen side regarding monasteries in the West: though as I've said I think their establishment is important and that there will be more of them, still they will serve a different function than they historically have. I do not think they will in the foreseeable future become the central focus of practice. In the West, it's lay practitioners - practicing at home - who will remain the center.
Monasteries will serve as needed places of immersive, rigorous practice and retreat; in those groups that establish them, they will hold the line of lineage integrity and transmission. A few people will indeed ordain and spend years living in them. But most of the people coming and going to them, attending sesshin, etc. will remain lay. We are not, as far as I can see, going to have hundreds of people in black robes sitting in monastery zendos.
What I'm calling "monasteries" will also for the most part not be what one usually envisions, or sees when going someplace like Kyoto: large, well-endowed facilities. Monasteries here - the good ones where practice one might characterize as "severe" will be the focus, rather than Zen-lite programming and fundraising - will for now be small and poor...more hermitages, really, where a few disciples live with a teacher. Of course there will continue to be places that are more "meditation resorts", but these have not proved themselves terribly relevant so far, and they will continue to be precisely what they are.
All of this is as it should be, I think. The participation of lay folks in the full-on practice including multiple retreats (sesshin) each year is important. The existence of places where that can be done, and where a few interested folks who want to live communally while devoting years or a lifetime to retreat, remains also important. Should society spin apart in various ways, small hermitages - rather than large establishments that are hard to maintain, heat, and staff - will be key. As will solitary practitioners who conceal themselves, and normal folks integrating practice with so-called "normal" lives.