Zen Buddhism in Brazil

Dangerous Harvests blogger Nathan shares an article about Zen Buddhism in Brazil.

The author, Cristina Moreira da Rocha, writes of the history and development of Buddhism (primarily Zen Buddhism) in Brazil, beginning with the arrival of Japanese immigrant laborers in 1908 up to the present day diversity of approaches Buddhism and Buddhist communities. What I have been struck with is how many parallels there are to the North American Buddhist story.

He expands on five themes that jumped out at him, namely, the initial arrival through Asian immigrant communities, oppression of citizens and immigrants of Japanese descent during World War II, the increase of Buddhist “missionaries” and teachers arriving during the 1950’s, the issue of whether Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy, and a certain level of Christian influence. Both pieces are well worth your time, but for those of you with very little time to spare, Nathan’s post is a good summary.

Like Teaching Basketball Online

Brad Warner insists “Zen cannot be taught via the Internet or on a blog.”

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I don’t keep this blog as a way of teaching Zen. Zen cannot be taught via the Internet or on a blog. Same as you couldn’t teach someone how to play basketball via the Internet or on a blog.

Sure you could teach a lot about basketball via the Internet, its history, its major players, statistics, descriptions of playing techniques. You could even put up some helpful videos or give advice to people who emailed questions. But you couldn’t really teach basketball that way. You would need to be face-to-face in the same gymnasium. No two ways about it.

Not a Zen practitioner myself, I have no honest opinion on the Zen-to-basketball comparison. But I would say it applies to the Theravada—if you’ve never place rice in a monk’s bowl before, you might want to add a new line to your spiritual checklist.