update: buddhism by the numbers

In the comments of my last post about Tricycle, I mentioned that the illustrious Buddhist magazine didn’t publish other critical letters. In particular, they didn’t publish the following letter of BCA minister Ryo Imamura. Charles Prebish published it, though, in an article in the academic journal Buddhist Studies Review. The letter, written in 1992, is in response to then-editor Helen Tworkov’s statement that “… Asian-American Buddhists… have not figured prominently in the development of something called American Buddhism.”

buddhism by the numbers?

I wanted to share with my loyal readers a letter to the editor I’ve sent off to Tricycle. I’m sharing it for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t think they’ll publish it. And second, I think my point needs to be out there as much as possible, spread far and wide across the buddhoblogsphere, because I think I’m right. I know that sounds awfully egotistical of me; but when it comes to this issue, to hell with being a “good Buddhist.”

kvetch, denver, women

The crux of the issue is that Tricycle touts itself as the “voice” of Buddhism in the West. But it represents but a slice of all the voices in American Buddhism. I think that’s a fair criticism. I’ve been harsh (perhaps unnecessarily so) of Tricycle in some past posts here and comments on others’ blogs. But I think my criticisms are valid. They’ve got a history of catering to the “mainstream,” the mainstream in this case being liberal white Buddhists. And liberal white Buddhists don’t make up the majority of American Buddhists. Even if you listen to the Pew Report, they only make up 53% of the American Buddhist population, and we all know how that Report is wrong, wrong, wrong.