While walking through the lobby of the JSC (where our offices are) just now, my eye caught a flyer for a “Generation Y” workshop hosted by the Center for Buddhist Education, for young Buddhists between the ages of 21 to 35.
(My first thought, of course, was that I always thought I was part of Generation X. Then again, demographers and sociologists don’t usually use the terms Gen X and Y because they’re highly problematic, as the rabbit hole from the Gen X entry on Wikipedia attests. But that’s not why I’m writing, so I’ll digress right back to The Point.)
Immediately I was reminded of those long rants I made about Clark Strand’s asinine articles about the “death” of American (read: white) Buddhism. Ah ha! I thought to myself. Here’s cold hard proof that at least one American Buddhist sangha gives a damn about its “kids” and is trying to do something to keep them in the fold, so to speak.
Of course, there are some odd aspects to the seminar, including some activities that include workshops on “finance and budgeting” and “easy comfort food cooking.” So I’m a little wary of how successful this seminar will be in terms of teaching Buddhism or keeping people interested in the BCA. But, of course, since this event is two months off, I can’t pre-judge it as a good thing or a bad thing. Since I’m still under 35 (until later this year anyway) maybe I’ll check it out and report back.
But either way, I’m encouraged. I’m encouraged primarily because this event’s description begins with the phrase “Much overlooked in our BCA system, once young adults graduate from college, there is no temple or BCA program for these members…” Which I think is spot on. The BCA’s got all kinds of programs for kids. They’ve got the funeral market cornered. Senior members are comfortable with the sixty years of tradition they’ve accumulated. But there is a drop-off for “young adults.” What do we do if we don’t have kids to take to Dharma School every Sunday? It’s a question I get asked a lot by other, non-Shinshu people, and it’s a question I ask myself sometimes. I take great comfort in Shinshu teachings, but sometimes feel like an outsider to the Shinshu community. Maybe this seminar, even if it’s not a resounding success, will be a step in the right direction.