Some random, but no less important, digest-y thoughts for the waning half of January.
- NellaLou has a wonderful post about the invisibility of women in Buddhism. The post starts off talking about the recent dust-up over bhikkhuni ordination, and, while discussing the outrage on the part of Western Buddhists, she has one of her best lines: “This is all very ironic considering the fact that sexism is alive and well in the West, including in Zen Buddhist quarters.” There’s a ton of important stuff in this post (“It is in the social consciousness, institutionalized to such an extent that most organizations and indeed most people don’t think too much about it.”), and I’m deeply grateful that she’s put it out there. But, as part of my general, new year’s “resolution” to spend less time arguing with folks on the Internet, I’m refraining from commenting on it over on her blog, and instead will simply say, “Huzzah!”
- Secondly, via @arunlikhati, I found Barbara’s recent musing on “family Buddhism.” I don’t usually read Barbara’s blog, but I’m also glad that she posted this thoughtful piece. I’m tangentially aware of some other recent posts about Buddhism, children, and family by Jack and Nathan, but — sorry fellas — I haven’t actually read those posts. Regardless of my own limitations as a reader, I think this is a relevant conversation to have, and one I’ve touched on in the past. I don’t want to get too much into this issue right now; to the extent that I have no children, yet, I don’t think I’m one to be giving out parenting advice. But I will say this: it seems to me that the question of whether or not you should be raising Buddhist children is really none of my goddamn business. Unlike other parenting issues that, in one way or another, are my business (public education, for example, to the extent that my tax dollars are being use to teach children regardless of whether or not my children are in that classroom), the question of whether or not to raise Buddhist children is your family’s alone. In other words, the question is not “Should you raise Buddhist children,” it’s “Should I (or we) raise Buddhist children.” Clearly, a large number of folks answer “yes” to that question, so it seems one’s Sangha of choice ought to support those who have made this decision. The only problem is when either group, those who would and those who would not raise Buddhist children, overstep their bounds and presume to tell the other half how to live.
- Speaking of family Buddhism, and continuing the trend of these digests bringing my readers more information about Shin Buddhist bloggers, Harry Bridge, my podcasting co-conspirator, has an interesting post on this topic. Well, sort of. It’s actually his response to a family who is considering coming to Jodo Shinshu, so it’s not really about this issue of family at all. But it’s worth bringing up here because Harry frames it as a “family” who is interested in attending the church, which is telling. Plus, it’s a good introduction to Buddhism regardless of who’s doing the asking or why!
- And speaking of my podcasting co-conspirator, the next episode of the DharmaRealm podcast is slated to go live February 5th. And mark your calendars: we’re doing another live recording in April. More details to come.