Astus wrote:I think there are some really good Theravadin teachers around, same goes for Zen teachers. Of course, not everyone is top class - in my opinion - but people like Bhikkhu Bodhi and the late Daido Loori are admirable teachers. Theravada has already a considerable number of monasteries around with Western monks and some nuns. It appears to me Theravada in quality and ordained members are pretty beyond any other Buddhist tradition - in the West.
The reason for this comes down to economics.
In Theravada for there to be a bhikku there must be community support (think financial) because bhikku are not permitted to earn any income or even have some kind of savings. I gather that Thai, Sri Lankan and other SE Asians are ready and willing to financially support the sangha as a kind of religious obligation, so funding is not so much an issue.
In Tibetan traditions this kind of community support in western countries doesn't exist yet (I don't know if it ever will), so one needs a sponsor or be independently wealthy (the two Canadian nuns I know qualify as the later). For them, unlike in Theravada communities, there isn't necessarily a large financial base from which to work with when it comes to maintaining ordained members in monasteries.
In Zen ordination doesn't mean becoming a bhikusu(ni), so living an ordinary life with a career and savings account is not an issue. Becoming ordained requires little effort and it doesn't demand a change of lifestyle. I think in Japan it might just include yearly membership fees -- I'll actually ask about that tomorrow if I get the chance.
If you think about Foguangshan as another good example they have many many fully supported bhiksuni (not so many bhiksu in FGS compared to the bhiksuni
) because the laity is ready and willing to finance the community. Unfortunately Tibetan groups are not so well funded, so we don't see anything on the scale of FGS or the various Theravada groups.