Moments of truth and beauty can come from all manner of place. Be aware.
I thought I’d revisit an article (and my response to it) by Clark Strand on American Buddhism, raising Buddhist children, and other sticky issues like baby boomers and white folk. Being a big believer in allowing one’s opinions to grown, mature, and even change over time, I thought I’d reassess my position and see if my own opinion had done just that.
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 might just be the Fugazi talking, and I don’t really know if these ideas are worth the digital ink I’ve spilled on them, but I think American Buddhist sanghas (of any variety) need to seriously think about how they’re planning on carrying the dharma into the next generation. And truly inclusive, community-based models of practice may be where it’s at.
It’s a quarter to nine in the morning. And I’m a little sleepy. And I’m liable to say some things in what follows that I might regret. Or at least will want to temper at some point when I’ve had a bit more coffee or settled down. So consider yourself warned.
Since we live in a de facto Christian country, of course we live in a country that regularly denigrates one religion while staunchly defending another. Rather than presenting and representing Buddhism as a legitimate religion on par with the Judeo-Christian hegemony in this country, it’s something you can trademark and use to sell everything from scented candles to sex toys.