from the archives: venn diagram

venn diagram:buddhisms in the west

A: The West (or America)
B: Buddhism
C: Western (or American) Buddhism

This diagram is a lie. Or, at least, an untruth, an inaccurate depiction of a cultural-historical phenomena.

A better representation of reality may be something like this, times twenty, a diagram that would take into account the diversity of sub-cultures within the West (or America) and how those sub-cultures interact with and adapt a diversity of Buddhist traditions in dozens of complex ways. An accurate diagram would look more like a fractal, something I can’t draw with a Sharpie, and something that should not be described with a singular noun.

Note: this was originally posted in the old blog on 5 July 2010. This whole “archive” series is to recognize that not everything I posted in the old blog was totally useless. Some of it was pretty good, if I do say so myself.