This past friday, at our meditation group, after our sitting, we had a free-all discussion. One of the topics we touched upon was outreach. How does one approach the issue of letting know the community about a meditation group. We talked about our new web page, flordenopalsangha.blogspot.com. Was this fine to building a community or was this.....(shhhh...not so loud).....proselytising? We all viewed this was fine. How about putting flyers up in coffeshops, libraries, etc? This proved to be more murkier. Most of us didn't see it as a problem, but some remembered that on other sanghas this was frowned upon.
Coincidentally enough, on Saturday, I came upon this article while researching on Buddhism and race in the US: "Born in the USA: Racial Diversity in Soka Gakkai International" by Clark Strand (Tricycle Magazine, Winter 2003). Though I found Strand's commentary/take on the particular growth of SGI in African-American communities vs. Zen/Vajrayana interesting, IMHO, he does not give more weight to one factor to that growth: SGI proselytizes (shakabuku?). To my limited knowledge in the US, most other Buddhist centers don't do it to the level of SGI.
After reading the article, I had a couple of questions:
* What do we consider a healthy approach to building sangha vs. the P-word?
* Not knowing enough about the religious culture in Japan, what is the history on this issue in that country?
* What is our experience in this coutry vis a vis Buddhism or, specifically, Zen Buddhism?