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Thread: Context Matters

  1. #1

    Context Matters

    Interesting article by David McMahan (author of The Making of Buddhism Modernism) which explores the western cultural context in which many of us practice the dharma. Often assumed by westerners to be culture free, the western world has it own powerful set of societal norms that are influencing the way Buddhism grows here.



  2. #2

    Thank you, Andy.

    Buddhism and water is level.

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  3. #3
    Strange coincidence, Andy. I read this article last night and enjoyed it. So far, the new issue of Tricycle has been great. I really liked the article about the first Tibetan group in the StTes and the Lama who worked with the CIA to help get the Dalai Lama to safety.

    "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

  4. #4
    I agree, William. Some interesting stuff in there (including the ongoing discussion on sexual misconduct). I haven't read the ones you mention so will look them out. Thank you!


  5. #5
    "...the western world has it own powerful set of societal norms that are influencing the way Buddhism grows here."

    Buddhism has a strong syncretic aspect - one of the reasons for its survival over the ages is its ability to merge with cultural and often political norms of the regions it migrates into - this is true in the spread of Buddhism from India, to China, on to Japan, and into the US and Europe. The central thesis McMahan forwards in his book is that (American) Buddhism has been influenced by a combination of (philosophical) romanticism, American transcendentalism (Emerson, Thoreau, etc.), the "Beat poets" (Snyder, Ginsberg, etc), and Western schools of psychology and therapy. Quite a mix.

    Deep bows

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