What Western Buddhism Shouldn’t Be

Bhante Yuttadhammo posts a wonderful quote by President Barack Obama on his blog.

“We all have many identities – of tribe and ethnicity; of religion and nationality. But defining oneself in opposition to someone who belongs to a different tribe, or who worships a different prophet, has no place in the 21st Century.”

Again, my main gripe is when self-styled Western Buddhism is defined in explicit contrast to other forms of Buddhism. More often than not, this definition entails a gross negative stereotype over the hundreds of millions of Buddhists who don’t consider themselves Western Buddhists, my grandma included. Perhaps a Western Buddhist is just someone who’s preoccupied with what it means to be a Western Buddhist.

One thought on “What Western Buddhism Shouldn’t Be

  1. Archivist’s Note: Comments have been preserved from the original website for archival purposes; however, comments are now closed.

    Jack DawJuly 14, 2009 at 6:32 AM
    My personal opinion on western buddhism is that, yes, we are preoccupied with what it means to be a western buddhist.

    We struggle to find an identity and a focus. Most do not dislike other buddhist schools or regional differences but sometimes the best way to define ourselves is to say what we are not.

    But to be fair, this can come off as negative and in no way do I, or other western buddhists (or skepitical buddhist, modern buddhists, etc.)mean to stereotype anyone.

    So I will, from my personal experience, with my own sangha in Rapid City, SD. We are athiests, agnostics, zen-christians, buddhists and meditators. We are asian, white, african american and whom ever wishes to practice. We are white-collar, blue-collar, poor, rich and middle-class. We do not stereotype by race or creed and welcome diversity.

    Everything else is up to the person. Some are spiritual and some are practical. Some dig on the supernatural aspect of buddhism and some do not. Whatever, we all practice.

    Hope that made some sense. I am woefully without coffee this morning and am still in zombie-mode.

    loving your blog. much thx!

    no illusion,

    Jack DawJuly 14, 2009 at 6:39 AM
    dammit, meant to press preview not post. ingore grammar. will get coffee now…

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