An earlier iteration of my online self would have jumped on this one, a piece by the Angry Asian Buddhist regarding the Buddhism portal on the religion website Patheos. I’m not really interested in having a debate I’ve had before all to no avail. But I was contacted by @cherryblossom on Twitter today about one aspect of this debate that I think needs closer attention.
The new episode of the DharmaRealm is up (go listen! now!) in which we talk about American Shin Buddhist practice. One of the things we recognize is that the BCA is very much “family Buddhism.” This is a double-edged sword, of course. One the one hand, it acknowledges that people have families, they have kids and jobs and lives, and it can be very difficult to practice Buddhism. So the BCA creates a space that is extremely open and welcoming to anyone complete with Dharma Schools for the kids. But this can also be really difficult for the solitary practitioner. It can be hard to find your place in a century-old community where there are long-standing family networks if you yourself don’t have a family or pre-exisiting ties. It’s a real problem, and Harry and I certainly don’t solve the issue in this one episode, but I was excited to have a chance to talk about it regardless.
It seems to me that the BCA is actually pretty well-equiped to not only propagate the Buddha Dharma to its existing members in a real and lasting manner, but also spread the Buddha Dharma beyond its existing base into the future. But it seems clear that weâ€™ll need to do some radical re-thinking of our priorities. The structure is in place. And a lot of it works pretty well, for certain segments of our population. The trick will be in re-shifting priorities and purpose. It seems clear that the BCA is at something of a crossroads, and itâ€™s time to do something, to set the terms of the debate. So hereâ€™s to getting the ball rolling.
I was fortunate to stumble across this short article from the Guardian on Japanese Buddhists trying to be more trendy to attract younger people who aren’t particularly interested in religion. There’s a lot of great stuff in this piece (and plenty of other folks have already picked up on it including the ever-wonderful worst horse […]
This past weekend, at the opening of the new Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley (where I’ve gotten myself a new job, but that’s another story), there was a symposium on the varieties of nembutsu practice in Buddhism. It was, among other things, your typical academic symposium, full of very good, well-written papers by some very […]
I really ought to comment on this. I mean, it’s not every day that there’s an article in the New York Times that I actually know enough about to comment on in an intelligent and thoughtful and informed way (unlike most of my comments that are from the hip and mere speculation). Buddhism with a […]