all american buddhism

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.

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podcasts and other things

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.

buddha mega-church

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 we’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 it’s time to do something, to set the terms of the debate. So here’s to getting the ball rolling.