May 22, 2010

Why is it so important to establish Western Buddhism?

Buddhism originated in India 2500 years ago and always changed in expression to fit peoples needs when inspiring new countries. Indians and Tibetans are very different and also in our western world today nothing exotic or foreign will really grow. As the highest teachings on the nature of mind are like a diamond, transparent and indestructible, they also reflect the colour of which ever society they are introduced into. Today Buddhism is also taking a style more appropriate to the educated and independent minds of the West. This does not mean that anything new is invented or added to the teachings. With 84,000 teachings to choose from that isn't necessary.

The monastic way of renunciation is less attractive to modern people, who tend to view Western attempts at this as a means of avoiding life's fullness and as a sign of weakness. This view, however, is not applied to visiting Tibetan monks. People see these robes and rituals as ways of preserving their heritage. Buddha gave countless methods to benefit beings and in the west today the most united frame is that of lay practitioners and yogis.

Europeans are very conscious of the superficiality that can arise from mixing different cultures and traditions. Those who trust only what they can analyse logically and who are embarrassed by exotic lifestyles can identify with the transparency and effectiveness of the Buddhist practices, when they are presented without cultural trappings. It is always a pity when people end up with Nihilism, political correctness or drugs because they cannot find a spiritual way they can trust. (Diamond Way Buddhist Network)